Saturday, August 13, 2011

Nissan Qashqai Review

Americans who have heard of it refer to it as a mini-Murano, the Japanese market knows it as a Dualis, and Stephane Schwarz, the design director at Nissan Design Europe thinks of it as an "Urban Nomad", a nickname borne out by the Nissan UK website which refers to it as "urbanproof". Whatever the descriptor, though, "it" is the 2007 Nissan Qashqai, the Japanese carmaker's chief assault weapon against the similarly sized Volkswagen CrossGolf.
Designed in London, built in Sunderland, and named for a nomadic people from southwestern Iran, the Nissan Qashqai, which is offered in European, Asian, and Middle Eastern markets, is perfect example of a compact crossover car. It has the soul of a coupe and the flexibility of a hatchback.
The Nissan Qashqai is featured with a choice of four engines, two gasoline (petrol) and two diesel. The 1.5-litre diesel engine provides 106 horsepower and 240Nm of torque while the 2.0-litre puts out 150 hp and 320Nm of torque. The petrol engines offer 115 horsepower and 160Nm of torque in a 1.6-litre model, or 140hp and 200Nm in the 2.0-litre version. In addition there is an array of gearbox options, including five-speed and six-speed manual, six-speed automatic and CVT. Both the diesel and petrol versions of the 2-litre engine are available with Nissan's all-wheel drive system. Don't let the 4x4 option fool you, however. Despite the fact that the Nissan Qashqai is taller and has more clearance than a true hatchback, the all-wheel drive option is there for additional road safety - this car is meant for street use.
As well as being taller than the average hatchback, the Nissan Qashqai is also about 100mm longer (though it is still roughly 150 mm shorter than most SUV's), and a bit wider, with a wheelbase of 2630mm, and a 1780mm width. These slightly larger dimensions are enhanced by the sporty feel of the interior, which has a raised main console and instrument panels that are deeply recessed.
At the Qashqai's launch event in Paris last September, Nissan's president and CEO Carlos Ghosn said "European customers want it all: dynamic design, driving performance and attractive premium interior." With expected sales of 100,000 Qashqai's in the model's first year, it is clear that Nissan wants the Qashqai to be a cash cow.
There is no information on whether the Nissan Qashqai will ever be offered in the United States.


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