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2008 nissan qashqai 1.5 dci acenta review

Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi Acenta - NISSAN QASHQAI Car Review

THE British-built Nissan Qashqai came to market in March last year with a target to ensure it would grace as many driveways as possible in the UK and beyond.

One year down the track the Sunderalnd-made Qashqai has certainly delivered the goods with more than 20,000 having taken to the roads in Britain.

This adventurous five-door crossover vehicle has recently added the Fleet News Best Small Family Car trophy to an already lengthy awards list - including the BBC Top Gear and What Diesel Car? Best SUV trophies - beating quality opposition which included the popular Vauxhall Astra, Peugeot 308 and the Honda Civic.

The Qashqai has taken its name from a nomadic desert tribe in South Western Iran, a name which translates as Urban Nomad, ideal for 'a vehicle which is tough and compact for the city but sleek and agile when performing out of town', says Nissan.

There are four engines from which to choose with petrol power represented by 1.6-litre 113bhp and 2.0-litre 138bhp units while diesel comes courtesy of a 1.5-litre 104bhp and 2.0-litre 148bhp oil-burners.

The Qashqai's arrival on the UK scene also marks the introduction of three new Nissan trim levels, Visia, Acenta and Tekna - driven here is the Qashqai 1.5 dCi in Acenta trim.

All standard kit grades are generous, the Qashqai entry level Visia coming with the likes of air con, Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, electric windows all round, glovebox cooler, sound system with CD player and a drive computer.

It also features front, side and curtain airbags while driver safety aids include ABS braking with Brake Assist and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), however Electronic Stability Program (ESP) only comes as standard on the 2.0-litre petrol and diesel models.

The Acenta trim adds further, including dual zone fully automatic climate control, automatic headlights, rain sensing wipers, cruise control, front fog lamps and ultrasonic reversing bleepers, while the sound system set-up includes a six-disc CD autochanger with that thoughtful safety device, remote steering wheel-mounted controls.

A move up to the top grade Tekna model is required to get full leather upholstery with heated front seats.

The Qashqai's neatly conceived interior is also stacked with thoughtful storage solutions providing maximum functionality and flexibility. Included in the manifest here are a cooled glovebox - large enough to hold a remarkable 15 drink cans - plus an integrated sunglasses holder. There are mesh map pockets on the backs of the front seats, the centre console box has a 3.5-litre storage volume and there is also a four-litre sliding stowage drawer beneath the front passenger seat.

Finish looks good in this solidly put together, airy, five-seater cabin where nicely weighted switchgear, soft-touch surfaces on the dashboard, neatly used aluminium to highlight the dash dials and centre console add more than a touch of quality, while there is plenty of movement in the comfortably supportive driver's seat and steering wheel to deliver an agreeable driving position from which overall vision is generally fine, despite the fairly wide rear pillars.

While the Qashqai does also come in 4x4 form in 2.0-litre model guise only, this front wheel drive model, powered by a 1.5-litre diesel engine paired with a smooth-slotting six-speed manual gearchange, gives a very convincing impression of an extremely capable and very likeable compact family car.

On the road it performs in agreeable fashion, combining the agility and comfort of a hatchback with the practicality of an SUV and, despite its high stance, keeps its shape with very little roll in evidence when cornering.

The Qashqai rides comfortably and effectively at all speeds responding sharply to the nicely weighted steering and stacks of grip and the Renault-sourced 1.5 104bhp diesel does do its work pretty well averaging out at 54.3mpg.

Overall it is a breath of fresh air in the family hatchback market with its funky SUV image housing a well built generously equipped and roomy cabin.

An ideal piece of family transport which weighs in from a pretty competitive £13,699.

Mechanical: 104bhp, 1,461cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6spd manual gearbox