Gearbox: 6-speed manual
Drive: Front Wheel
0-100km/h: 10.5 seconds
Top Speed: 193
Consumption: 8.5 *claimed
Choosing a family SUV is tricky business. There are a whole bunch of options on the market for around R300k, and some are better than others. Manufacturers are fighting hard to stand out from each other in this segment, and Nissan have worked tirelessly to make a unique impression, they gave us, the Qashqai. Try saying that name 10 times fast and you begin to see why it’s different.
It’s a pretty neat SUV as far as SUV’s go. The model we tested was the Qashqai +2, and as you savvy lot would have noticed, the +2 does in fact denote an extra 2 seats right at the back. This is of course where my kids insisted on sitting, which wasn’t a bad thing. The further back in the car they are, the less I can hear them and the more peaceful my drive is.
The extra 2 seats do come at a price though, when you fold them out (they fold into the boot floor) you do lose some boot space, quite a lot of boot space actually. You could get a couple of small bags in there, but it’s not terribly practical.
Then there are the actual seats themselves. They’re not the biggest. My boys are 6 and 8, and they were comfy back there, but when they’re teen agers they’re not going to be quite as comfy. This Qashqai +2 is more like a pseudo 7 seater. When you’re in a pinch, and you need to transport an extra 2 people the rear seats are very handy indeed, but it’s not a long term, everyday solution.
The ‘regular’ back seats are a different story though. To accomodate the extra 2 seats right at the back, the middle section does all kinds of sliding forwards and backwards, and even gives you options for the upright position, which is handy and not often found in the back seats of cars. There is ample legroom for the middle seats, making it very comfortable for adults.
The whole interior actually feels very spacious. It feels more spacious inside than it looks from the outside. You’re acutely aware of this as you sit in the drivers seat glancing around at the car. The dash has a good layout too, and you’re spoilt for choice with the storage compartments in the front.
We tested the Qashqai Acenta, which has a 2.0-litre engine giving you 102 kW, coupled to a 6-speed manual gearbox. It’s enough power, get’s the car along nicely, but not terribly exciting. The manual gearbox though is very good, and the light, quick, easy gear changes make it a peach to drive. Power steering give it a feeling of lightness, despite being quite a bit car.
The cloth seats are soft and comfy, and not body huggin or grippy as you’d find in some of the German rivals. This is a car built for daily use and practicality rather than performance. Fuel consumption was acceptable, we managed to keep it below 10 l/100kms, despite needing to traverse a mounting numerous times in a day.
Road noise insulation was also good, and combined with the smooth ride really did make it a pleasant car to run around in.
The Qashqai +2 is a very pleasant car to own and drive. With the +2 seats down at the back you have ample boot space, but having the option of putting 2 extra people in the car should you need to is really nice.