Qashqai to remain a ubiquitous sight

UBIQUITOUS. It’s a nice word. But what does it mean?

UBIQUITOUS. It’s a nice word. But what does it mean?

Well, according to the OED, its origin is from the mid-19th

century and comes from the modern Latin “ubiquitas” which, in the lingo, means “everywhere”. But, in

modern terms think, perhaps, Kevin Kilbane.

If Kevin Kilbane’s middle name is not Ubiquitous then I’m Eric Cantona. He is everywhere. One cannot turn on any sort of modern device but he’s there — phone, telly, pad-things, radio, radar, buses, trains.

In fact, I’m sure I saw him at the exit of the Kilburn High Road underground station recently wailing “Preston ‘til I die”. I gave him a load of euro and said “Cheers Kev.” He said: “No, I’m Stuart.” I said: “You are, yeah.”

The man, bless his Irish socks, is everywhere. His omnipresence is becoming worrying. He is, truly, ubiquitous — a bit like the Nissan Qashqai. I wonder does he have one? He should do.

If ever a car was to attain ubiquity it is the Japanese car, which has become all-things-to-all-men-and women. Well, more women than men, really. But

the thing is that the Qashqai is sort of above any ordinariness. It is beloved by many ladies, some men, and millions of salespersons. But it is most certainly ubiquitous.

There is not a car park in the country that, were one to casually throw a stone, you would fail to hit a Qashqai. They’re everywhere — a bit like a certain great Preston, Everton and Ireland player. He was always Mister Versatile, as he now is, bless him.

Hate to say, but that’s why Nissan should sign him up as a brand ambassador.

Personally, I’m not a fan of the whole SUV genre and had to button both lips recently when the wife got out of her beautiful saloon and bought one of the damn things.

But this is a scenario happening all across our fair land as the real bosses flex their considerable muscles and declare their love for the genre.

While I do not wish to appear to be an atypical male boor, it has to be admitted the SUV phenom has been led by Nissan, as the company — inadvertently

or otherwise — tapped into a core inner female gene when they made this sensational seller.

It appealed to every woman — and a few men too — because it was as practical as a food mixer/washing machine/hair dryer and you could look down on people too.

The Qashqai is and always was a good car and the majority of people who drive it will find nothing to quibble about its’ sturdiness, reliability, practicality and height. It still is, although even as one whose own girth is expanding more than it should, it seemed

obvious the old 1.5 turbodiesel knocker might just struggle given the increased size of the latest version of vehicle it’s being asked to haul.

The latest is also, it must be said,

a lot prettier as the exterior design is a lot — let it also be said — less dull than previous versions. It can safely be further said it is more eye-catching than previous versions.

That Nissan has not tricked about too much with a winning formula is no surprise, so the new car is pretty much like the old one, albeit with a considerable raft of minor changes aimed at maximising practicality, further, smoothing out some driving wrinkles, upping sophistication levels, adding kit and slightly tricking around with the engine options.

The tester was fitted with the by now venerable 1.5 litre unit and it is a fine thing. Not the most powerful — just 110 bhp available, a top speed of 185km/h,

0-100km/h in a tardy 11.9 seconds — but it is economic with a claimed consumption figure of 3.8 l/100km (73mpg) and an emission figure of just 99 g/km.

It is not that the lack of power will worry many buyers, but if you’re looking for a sprinter, then look elsewhere. The old engine is fine until you start asking questions and when you do, it runs out of answers pretty quickly. Pack it full of cargo and/or people and it will wilt under the pressure.

The upsides, however, are many. The amount of new kit on the tester — including such as the eye-in-the-sky parking aid and many new safety devices — is pretty impressive and Nissan is also obviously keen supporter of the old industry maxim that a bit of specification will go a long way in the minds of the buying public.

That, added to the fact the car has been tarted-up significantly inside where the décor is now a lot easier on the eye than previously and the materials used more tactile and pleasing, will also appeal to a large number of buyers.

It may be that the lower level plastics on the doors and at the lower end of the dash are of the grim variety, but the majority of the stuff you look at and touch are good.

THE seating is very comfortable and adaptable for cargo and passenger purposes and the work Nissan has done to dampen tyre and wind noise has paid obvious dividends as the cabin is now a lot more incumbent friendly. Such is progress.

On the road, the Qashqai rides as well as it has always done — aside from a deal of body roll when you do get it up to speed — and the overall handling is pretty impressive. They have revised the steering, too, and it is probably lighter in parking situations than before, but it also has a firmer feel at speed and that’s good too.

The thing is though that the Qashqai now has a great deal more credible competition than it ever had up to now. Stuff like the Peugeot 3008, the Seat Ateca and the latest Ford Kuga — not to mention the Hyundai Tuscon — will all put it up to the Nissan in a way competitors have not done heretofore, and it will be interesting to see the sales figure in the coming months to see how this market is playing out.

For now, the Qashqai is as ubiquitous as ever and, I have no doubt, this new version of the car will continue to mass sales on a scale that makes most of its competitors weep with frustration.

Equally, I am convinced that the latest Nissan ‘buy one, get one free’ sales promotion will appeal to those as yet unaffected by the Qashqai phenomenon.

Quite whether all the improvements will rocket the car to the massive level of ubiquity the Deepdale legend and third most capped Irishman of all time has so successfully achieved, remains to be seen. It’s doubtful you’ll hit him with a stone in any car park, but I wonder does he own one?

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