We drive the special edition Nissan Qashqai 1.6-litre Acenta n-tec...
It's been well over four years since the global launch of the Qashqai, yet the delightfully named compact crossover is still one of Nissan's most popular vehicles locally, with only the pint-sized Micra managing to rack up more sales over the past few months.
With the addition of three special edition n-tec models to the already extensive Qashqai range, South African buyers now have 11 variants from which to choose.
So, what do you get for shelling out a few extra grand on the n-tec experience? Well, changes are best described as "aesthetic enhancements". But since only 648 n-tec units have been earmarked for South Africa, at least you get a fair whack of exclusivity for your hard-earned.
Essentially, an n-tec model is a garden-variety Qashqai, with the addition of bold black-and-silver 18-inch alloys, brushed metal roof rails, a few splashes of exterior chrome, and some rather tasty leather trim. Oh, and the range-topping 2.0-litre Acenta n-tec gets a gorgeous panoramic glass roof as well.
My test vehicle was the 1.6-litre Acenta n-tec, and it felt swifter than the claimed 0-100km/h sprint time of 11.8 seconds suggests. Churning out 81kW and 154Nm, the 1598cc naturally aspirated powerplant — mated to a five-speed manual gearbox — is an efficient and proven performer, returning a claimed combined fuel consumption of 7.1 litres per 100km.
The Qashqai handles rather impressively considering its ride height, and you can be forgiven for thinking you are piloting a conventional hatch when negotiating twisty roads. The ride is fairly comfortable too, despite the 18-inch alloys.
Inside, space is generous up front, and three average-sized adults could squeeze onto the rear passenger bench without too much fuss. A neat three-point seatbelt is provided for the passenger seated in the centre — the passenger who usually has to make do with a two-point lap belt.
As with the "normal" Qashqai, the latest n-tec model has a very useable luggage compartment — capable of holding 410 litres — as well as niceties such as automatic headlights, electric windows, air-con, adjustable multifunctional steering wheel, Bluetooth, ABS, EBD, and plenty of airbags. Although an auxiliary jack and a 12 volt power socket are present in the cabin, the USB port found in so many new vehicles today was nowhere to be seen.
So, the 1.6 Acenta n-tec may put you back about R7000 more than the standard model, but according to Nissan's calculations it adds around R12 000 worth of extra equipment.
Exclusivity, a proven powerplant, still-fresh looks and comfort combine to form quite an attractive package. It seems this popular model is not done yet.
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Click through to page 2 for specs and pricing.