It’s disgraceful isn’t it? I’m 42 and I don’t even own a car.
Instead, I use press cars, delivered weekly and occasionally interspersed with a long-term car.
There are normally two or three new vehicles in my driveway at any given time, so owning my own car just wouldn’t make sense. At least not right now. Most of the time I wouldn’t even have anywhere to store it. And it would sit unused for months at a time.
But I still do hanker to own a car. A couple actually.
First on the list is the California Orange, 1970 Mustang Grande that belongs to an acquaintance and which I promised myself as a 40th birthday present. Except that at the time I was otherwise detained in long-term rehab – and do look out for Dystopia, my upcoming book.
Second is a Mercedes-Benz SL (R107). You know, that sharky roadster of the seventies and eighties, immortalised in film by any number of stars, including Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) of Dallas fame.
But those would be fun cars. I’d also need and want a practical, frugal, durable, robust, relatively affordable day-to-day vehicle. And it wouldn’t do any harm if offered superb styling and a bit of driver enjoyment.
Enter then the Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi Acenta. Price-wise, it sits about halfway in the nine-vehicle range of these remarkable crossover cars, and – factoring in the price – is arguably the most desirable of the lot.
Central to the plot is a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder, turbo-diesel motor. Now not long ago this might have sounded like a recipe for imperceptible acceleration, but it’s enough to propel the Qashqai along quite briskly, thank you very much.
Expect acceleration to 100km/h to come up in an perfectly acceptable 12 or so seconds, while top speed is pegged at 177km/h. Peak torque is good – 240 N.m at 2 000 r/min. Even power output from that little motor is fine –
78 kW at 4 000 r/min.
More remarkably, claimed combined fuel consumption is pegged at a mere 5.1 L/100 km. On a couple of longer trips, admittedly with a large downhill component, I was even able to better that, the Qashqai happily humming along in sixth gear.
Equipment levels are good. Figure on air-con, a six-speaker sound system, power windows all round, and rain-sensing windscreen wipers. On the safety side, you also get a sextet of airbags and an alphabet of useful acronyms such as ABS, BAS and EBD.
The vehicle is two-wheel drive – there is a more expensive 4X4 in the range. But with 200mm ground clearance, it’s quite capable of tackling bad roads, and even light off-road use.
Its hatchback configuration also makes it useful for loading in my dogs, and the other accoutrements of one’s life, while it’s an especially attractive vehicle – although not in a vulgar, showy idiom. Perfect for those who just as soon would prefer not to attract attention.
And objective and subjective build quality is stellar. It comes with a three-year/90 000km service plan, and a three-years/100 000km warranty (service intervals are at 15 000km). But like many other Nissans it feels engineered to last a much, much longer time.
I think I’ll order mine in white – and feel just a bit annoyingly satisfied at having netted such an attractive, competent and versatile machine for only R275 500.
Tags: Nissan Qasqai