Test Drive: Nissan Qashqai 1.6 dCi MT image

The Nissan Qashqai has been in production ever since 2007 and the model has received a facelift not too long ago. The Qashqai is a compact CUV (crossover utility vehicle) based on the C-segment which is on sale on the J-segment in Europe.

Engine / Transmission

The model we have chosen for this latest test drive was the 1.6 dCi diesel equipped with a six-speed manual transmission, which is producing a total output of 130 horsepower. The unit shortly introduced to the Qashqai model and it can also be found on the Scenic or the Megan. 130 HP on a diesel engine powering a C-segment crossover may not seem like a big deal, and it isn’t when it’s coming with an automatic transmission, but the model we tested had a six-speed manual gearbox, which is a “must” for this model.

When we tested the 2.0 dCi AT Qashqai we said that the automatic transmission is only good in the city but once you will leave the urban environment and head towards the mountains, you will regret buying this version. The manual transmission takes care of this problem and transforms the Qasqhai into an agile vehicle on mountain roads, despite its high driving position and large wheels. Put it in all-wheel drive and everything changes; it will provide you with your daily dose of adrenalin and you won’t be sorry that you didn’t choose the 2.0-liter diesel unit. A good compromise for the automatic transmission would be paddle shifters.

Fuel Consumption

The Nissan Qashqai 1.6 dCi manual is burning an average of 8.5 liters of fuel every 100 km in the city with the air conditioner on and 8.3 liters of fuel with the AC off. This fuel consumption has been achieved changing gears at approximately 2,000 rpm, but what is mostly interesting is that we couldn’t make the engine burn more than 9.2 liters of diesel even when we changed gears close to the red zone. Things improve once you leave the crowded city and cruise on the highway where, with the cruise control set at 120 km/h and the same AC on, the model only consumed 6.2 liters of fuel every 100 km. With a full tank, the trip computer was showing a range of approximately 930 km, and we believed it, because after just over 500 km made, the fuel indicator was showing almost half of a tank and the range dropped to 390 km.

The Ride

There is absolutely no difference on the comfort ride offered by the Qashqai 2.0 dCi AT and this 1.6 dCi MT and both are surprisingly comfortable. The steering is as precise as it can be on a crossover developed for the C-segment. Visibility is good, under steer comes in late in two-wheel drive and it’s almost impossible to over steer in all-wheel drive, so it’s basically the same as the 2.0 dCi AT version we tested here.

Interior Design

The only difference between the Qashqai 2.0 dCi AT and the 1.6 dCi MT (besides the engine and transmission) was the leather trim and the beige color seen throughout the cabin tricks your mind, which is telling you that it’s even more spacious, but, unfortunately, the leather isn’t so soft as the one in the other Qashqai we tested.

Likes / Dislikes

For someone who will use the Nissan Qashqai daily, the 1.6 liter dCi engine should be the first choice, because of its good fuel consumption which is improved by the stop/start system. The manual transmission is a “must” even if you will only drive it from home to work. We especially liked, besides the engine, transmission and stop/start system, the beige leather interior, which made the little Qashqai feel like a premium vehicle. The full panoramic glass roof is another “must”, as well as the Bose premium sound system.

Besides the other dislikes mentioned when we tested the 2.0 dCi, like the 5-inch display design or the heated front seat controls, we didn’t like the small vibration felt in the steering wheel whenever the stop/start system would start the engine once you will press the clutch. The vibration isn’t strong but it’s noticeable and I guess we can blame it on the diesel engine, which is noisier than a gasoline unit. The version we tested was close to 30,000 euros and this should be the first choice when buying a Qasqhai.