Nissan Qashqai Tekna 2014 review

10 Jan, 2014 11:00am Paul Bond

We test top-spec 2014 Nissan Qashqai Tekna with punchy 1.2-litre petrol

Verdict

5
The Nissan Qashqai Tekna mixes class-leading comfort and whisper-quiet refinement with composed and secure handling and a dazzlingly hi-tech cabin. Plus, the petrol-powered Qashqai is every bit as impressive as the diesel versions. The increase in size could alienate those who prized the original’s compact proportions, but the extra space is hard to argue with, and Nissan should prepare itself for another sales smash.

The Nissan Qashqai has been a phenomenal success story, with nearly 50,000 examples of the crossover sold in the UK during 2013 – outstripping the new BMW 3 Series.

Such big numbers meant the pressure was on the company to deliver with the all-new model, which comes in four main trim levels: Visia, Acenta, Acenta Premium and Tekna. We’ve already been bowled over by the Nissan Qashqai diesel, as well as the Nissan Qashqai automatic - but what about the top-spec Nissan Qashqai Tekna?

• Full Nissan Qashqai review

New design and grown-up driving dynamics are evolutionary steps, but what really sets the Qashqai Tekna apart in the increasingly crowded crossover market is its intelligent use of technology. While most of the gadgets have already been seen on other cars, many are new to the class, and their sheer number ensures the newcomer feels a step ahead of the competition.

The Tekna model's list of equipment is extensive: it includes Bluetooth, cruise control, hill-start assist, dual-zone air-conditioning, automatic lights and wipers, DAB radio, a 7-inch touchscreen display, a rear-view parking camera.

It also features a panoramic glass roof, LED headlights and 19-inch alloy wheels, as well as a full leather interior, heated seats, intelligent park assist and electric seats.

The five-inch TFT display between the dials is a real highlight, and the bigger touchscreen in the centre console is clearer and easier to use than ever before, with smartphone connectivity and in-car apps.

• Nissan Qashqai diesel 2014 review

Nissan expects almost half of all Qashqais sold to be 1.2 and 1.6-litre DiG-T models (DiG-T stands for Direct injection gasoline turbocharged, in case you’re wondering). So can they really match the dCi diesels for refinement and driveability? We tested the 113bhp 1.2-litre model in Tekna trim to find out.

The new small turbo is essentially a replacement for the naturally aspirated 1.6-litre found in the outgoing Qashqai. Not only is it lighter than the old engine, it’s cleaner and more powerful, too. Despite the new car’s increased weight, the tiny 1.2-litre takes it from 0-62mph in 11.3 seconds – over half a second faster than the old 1.6. Better still, CO2 emissions have fallen by 10g/km to just 129g/km, too.

On the road, you soon notice the car’s increase in size. It’s longer and wider than before, and instantly feels more substantial from behind the wheel. The new electronic power-steering is surprisingly heavy, and it gives the Qashqai the same secure, stable feeling you get in much bigger 4x4s.

The handling is safe and reassuring, with loads of grip and minimal body roll – even in really sharp bends – and the new Chassis Control electronics help to keep things neat and tidy on challenging roads. Clever double-piston rear shock absorbers give the Qashqai a supple low-speed ride, even though the old multi-link rear axle has been ditched in favour of a lighter, simpler, twist beam set-up.

• Nissan Qashqai automatic review

There is a flat spot in performance below 1,500rpm before the turbo spools up, so you have to choose your ratio in the six-speed manual gearbox carefully, but the 190Nm of torque available in the mid-range is just about enough to keep the car ticking along with other traffic. Refinement at idle is truly exceptional, with not even a whisper of engine noise making it through to the cabin.

Work it hard and explore the upper edges of the rev range, however, and it can begin to sound strained. It lacks the eagerness and smooth power delivery of the less potent 1.2 TSI in the Skoda Yeti, although the Yeti is lighter.

Disqus - noscript

Turbocharger overloads engine and will break it down in 150000 km.

Mazda had a better idea with their Sky-Active 2L engine.
Also Citroen showed promising new economical non-turbo 1.2 VTi engine - but for smaller cars (82KM).

Your crystal ball says that Nissan have not made any progress with engine tech since the 1980s.

Another positive review for another model of the 2nd Gen Nissan Qashqai but I'm still wary of the reliability of small turbo engines in the long run.

I test drove another car maker's small turbo petrol. The power delivery was smooth and consistent but I still doubt small engines longevity.

BRING IT TOO THE STATES, yes it will conflict with the lame Rogue, who cares this would outsell everything in its class. Nissan has no guts.

I quite like the look of this, however I feel that the engines may well be the weak point on it and it would be better to put in maybe a more punchy 1,7 or even 2,0l engine to give it some extra grunt.

Not sure about the CVT gearboxes either.

All cars made in Britain consistently earn overwhelming reviews from British car magazines...

very untrue. Also, Auto Express is an Axel Springer magazine - German and basically the British AutoBild and is seen to consistently favour VW group products.

Yeah, AutoExpress gave victories to the Korean Chevy Cruze over the MG6 and the Porsche Boxter over the Lotus Exige S in the most recent head to heads. Generally the UK press is very harsh on UK products.
But people like "Michael" will still make up rubbish fictional comments like that so he can have a dig.

Imho a Kia Sportage looks a lot better and doesn't come with an (over)blown 1.2....

My crystal TV says:
They have made too little progress and now have to decrease the size and turbocharge their engines to keep up with the standards of CO2 emission.

I still don't get this mentallity.

All Diesel engines are turbo charged and have far higher compression ratios than these turbo petrols; yet they run flawlessly for hundreds of thousands of kilometers before finally dying (if they ever do at all).

The key to longitivity in turbo engines is to overbuild the engine as with Diesels - Unlike the VW group, Engines are most definitly one place Nissan hasn't skimped on cost. The 1.2L DIG-T and DIG-S have been around for a while now and they're nothing short of golden, reliability wise.

Now engines like the 1.0L 125bhp EcoBoost from Ford I'd be worried about. An engine the size of an A4 peice of paper getting that much forced induction? Its worrying.

Key specs

  • Price: £23,145
  • Engine: 1.2-litre 4cyl turbo
  • Power: 113bhp
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 11.3 seconds
  • Top speed: 114mph
  • Economy/CO2: 50.4mpg/129g/km
  • Equipment: 19-inch alloy wheels, sat-nav, climate control, leather seats, panoramic roof
  • On sale: Now
AEX 1,341
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