namibia Adventure Safari NISSAN QASHQAI 2.0 ACENTA dCi 4×4
The Nissan Qashqai is a fun and fashionable compact SUV that sells well in South Africa. But how would this small and economical crossover do in the harsh Kaokoveld environment? As we discovered, it doesn’t mind getting its feet dirty when necessary
Let’s be honest, the Qashqai is the rebellious teenager of the Nissan SUV family. The Patrol is the strict but much-loved grandfather who regales everyone with stories of his exploits during the Second World War. The Pathfinder is the dependable family man who always does what is expected of him. The Murano is the fun but crazy uncle who wears leather jackets and shaves his head to hide his receding hairline.
The Qashqai, however, is the teenager of the family. It is funky and fashionable, and like most teens, always on top of what is hip and happening. And it prefers to stay within the confines of the city. Sure, it doesn’t mind visiting grandpa’s farm every once in a while, but it doesn’t like to venture into the bundu where there are no cinemas, restaurants or shopping malls.
Does it mean, though, that just because it spends most of its time in the city, it can’t handle the great outdoors? This is what we wanted to discover during our Namibian safari.
Since its release in 2007, the Qashqai has sold tremendously well. And the reason for this is simple: for most people it is the ideal SUV.
SUV buyers — even those who purchase large, hardcore 4x4s –don’t actually venture off road that often. Most 4x4s spend their time on tar, and what works well off the beaten track doesn’t always work that well on congested city streets. It’s great to have a raised suspension, large tyres and a 4,8-litre engine when you are tackling a tough 4×4 track, but when you’re commuting on a daily basis, you need something different.
Enter the Qashqai – the perfect all-rounder. It sports a four-wheel-drive system (in the 2.0 dCi Acenta version), so it doesn’t mind travelling through sand and mud and over gravel, but it is still great in city traffic. It is comfortable, has a wonderful engine that is punchy but economical, and sells at an attractive price.
The two-litre oilburner generates 110 kW of power and 320 Nm of torque, and powers the Qashqai extremely well. Driving the SUV is great fun. Despite this, though, it is frugal. According to Nissan, it requires about seven litres of fuel per 100km.
But how did this attractive urban package fare in the Kaokoveld? Very well. It proved that it had what it takes when the going gets tough.
Thanks to its 4×4 system (similar to that of the X-Trail), as well as a respectable 200mm of ground clearance, it could deal with the rough off-road conditions. Yes, the Qashqai got stuck in deep sand once, but overall, it performed impeccably.
The Qashqai might be fashionable and funky, and it might be a great city runabout, but it can go the off-road mile when needed.
Since its launch in 2007, the Qashqai has sold very well. Why? Because it is a solid compact SUV package that provides a lot of car for your money. The engine is great, the cabin is comfortable and the styling is attractive.
Although, 1,6-litre and two-litre petrol versions are available, you’ll have to opt for the model with the two-litre oilburner as that’s the only one with a four-wheel-drive system. The engine is very responsive, and generates 110 kW of power and 320 Nm of torque.
For buyers interested in a slightly larger compact SUV, the Qashqai +2 is also available. Although it looks very similar to the standard model from the outside, the Qashqai +2 boasts a third row of seats that allow you to fit seven people into the compact crossover.
Trivia: The Qashqai’s smaller sibling, the Juke, was recently launched locally. Like the Qashqai, it combines an affordable price and good economy with funky looks and impressive performance.
NISSAN QASHQAI 2.0 ACENTA dCi 4×4
Engine: Two-litre, four-cylinder
Power: 110 kW @ 4000 r/min
Torque: 320 Nm @ 2000 r/min
Gearbox: Six-speed manual
4WD: Electronic 4×4 system
Ground clearance: 200mm
Price: R339 900