Nissan’s new UK designed, engineered and built QASHQAI crossover is now available for test drive and ordering at the company’s dealers with deliveries due to start March 1.  Business should be brisk if early interest from press and customers is anything to go by.

Talking of press, the QASHQAI has already picked up its first commendation: ‘Best Small Family Car Buy’ in the £13,000 - £14,500 category of the What Car? Car of the Year 2007 awards. Not surprising, considering the vehicle combines the best attributes of an SUV - a high driving position and solid build – with those of a conventional hatchback - great driving dynamics, good fuel economy and low insurance ratings.

Nissan’s website, has already had more than 150,000 hits and 5500 leads requesting further information about the QASHQAI.  And that’s before Nissan has even started advertising the car.

The entry-level Visia 1.6 at £13,499 compares favourably with the lowliest Golf.  With standard Bluetooth phone integration, air conditioning, 16” alloy wheels and front / rear electric windows along with ESP on the 2.0-litre engines only, it’s a serious competitor.  There’s a choice of 1.6 and 2.0-litre petrols engines, as well as new 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre dCi units.  Unusually the buyer can team the Visia trim with any of the available engine and transmission options.

Moving up a step and a further £1500 the Acenta adds a choice of two different upgraded trim designs with a leather bound steering wheel, rear parking sensor, dual zone climate controlled air conditioning, front fog lamps, rain sensing wipers, body coloured electric folding door mirrors, auto lighting cruise control, ultrasonic alarm system and an in-dash 6 CD auto changer with steering wheel controls.

Another £1500 gets you the top Tekna grade and for that you get a choice of two leather trim patterns with heated front seats, a panoramic glass roof, 17” alloy wheels, xenon headlamps and Nissan’s Intelligent Key system.

To tackle any potentially hazardous driving conditions that may come your way then a four-wheel drive option is available. This switchable ALL-MODE 4x4 system, first experienced on the X-TRAIL, can be added for £1600, 2.0-litre engines only but the petrol version can also have CVT automatic transmission or for the diesel version a conventional 6 speed auto.

Anyone choosing the optional Birdview DVD satellite navigation system on the Acenta and Tekna grades for £1350 also get rear view camera which clearly shows a colour image of the view behind when reversing, aiding that perfect parking manoeuvre. This is in place of the standard ultrasonic reversing sensors fitted to Acenta and Tekna versions.

Published : 25/01/07 Author : Melanie Carter

Nissan QASHQAI News

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