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Nissan Qashqai 1.5 Acenta dCi, front angle, 2012

Driven: Nissan Qashqai 1.5 Acenta dCi

Nissan Qashqai 1.5 Acenta dCi, front angle, 2012For some reason, South African passenger car buyers seem to have an almost revulsive aversion to diesel-powered cars. I’m not talking about your typical large SUV and bakkie buyers. Those guys and gals understand the need for torque. I’m talking about your hatch, sedan and small SUV community that can’t seem to wrap their collective heads around the benefits of a car like the Nissan Qashqai 1.5 Acenta dCi.

The first problem seems to be the engine capacity. “How can a 1.5-litre move a car that size at any kind of speed?”, is the invariable question. Well, actually quite easily. Developing 78kW and 240Nm, the little diesel Qashqai’s get-up-and-go is in perfect working order. While Nissan don’t provide a 0-100km/h sprint time (we estimate it somewhere in the 12 second range), the entry-level diesel Qashqai’s top end of 177km/h certainly makes it no slouch.

Yes, the combination of a small capacity diesel and turbocharging can lead to a somewhat sluggish pull-off (beware those marginal gaps at junctions you may usually squeeze through) but once you slap the perfectly weighted 6-speed manual gearbox into third, it purrs along quite happily. Not only that, but the Qashqai will do it while gently sipping ever so lightly on its tank of low sulphur diesel.

Nissan Qashqai 1.5 Acenta dCi, interior, 2012Nissan claim a combined fuel consumption figure of 5.1 litres/100km. Now we’re all fully aware of the fact that manufacturer claims are very rarely achievable in the real world. However, even after assaulting the rat race for a week, the on-board trip computer read just 5.5 litres/100km. Certainly not shabby for a compact SUV of the Qashqai’s size.

An absolutely pleasure to drive on either the open road or through the hustle of the Sandton shopping district, the two-wheel-drive diesel Qashqai loses some of its soccer-mom credentials thanks to superb handling, a comfortable ride and nicely weighted power steering system.

Of course there’s also the well-appointed interior. Seating four comfortably, the Qashqai may not be the most lavish of SUVs out there but it certainly does the job of getting you around in above average comfort. Standard features include air-con, a 6-speaker audio system with Bluetooth connectivity and steering wheel controls for the sound and on-board computer.

However, this particular Qashqai does have its downfalls. While I understand it is the entry-level diesel model at just R282 050, the exclusion of VDC on this model doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. That and the fact that my beloved USB port is also nowhere to be seen may not stop some from buying this car but some may also think twice.

Manufacturer: Nissan
Boot Size: 410 litres
Model: Qashqai 1.5 Acenta dCi
Active Safety: ABS, EBD, BAS
Engine: 1.5-litre turbodiesel
Airbags: 6
Power: 78kW @ 4 000rpm
Tyres: 215/65 R16
Torque: 240Nm @ 2 000rpm
Service Intervals: 15 000km
Gearbox: 6-speed manual
Service plan: 3-year/90 000km
0-100km/h: N/A
Warranty: 3-year/100 000km
Top Speed: 177km/h (claimed)
Price: R282 050
Fuel Tank: 65 litres
Rivals: There’s nothing else quite like it for the price
Fuel Consumption: 5.1 litres/100km (claimed)
Verdict: Another great Qashqai model from Nissan

Nissan Qashqai 1.5 Acenta dCi, rear angle, 2012