Friday, 19 April 2019

Economical Nissan has got an edge

Economical Nissan has got an edge

ONCE upon a time, cars were powered by a simple internal combustion engine that you could even work on yourself in the comfort of your own garage.

These days, however, garages are more often than not used for other things — usually for storage as an extension of the loft.

Cars have changed too, of course. You would be hard pushed today to carry out a little do-it-yourself on the engine of any new car you might buy.

Yet the humble internal combustion engine is not yet finished and this week’s drive proves the point.

Europe's best-selling crossover, the Nissan Qashqai, has become available with an all-new 1.3-litre petrol engine.

And I have to report that this engine is a sweet-sounding proposition for anyone looking to buy a car with a highly efficient petrol-powered alternative.

The new engine — which is available in 140 PS and 160 PS outputs — delivers reduced fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions. On this Qashqai the reduced CO2 emissions on the engine come in at 121 g/km with improved fuel economy of 53.3mpg.

My testing of the 1.3-litre petrol engine — which the carmaker says has “undergone 40,000 hours of tests and simulations” — revealed a petrol-driven car that was truly economical.

It might be argued that a 1.3-litre petrol engine would lack power all round. I did not notice any degradation. In fact, for motorway cruising and general road use either on country or major roads, this economy-minded Qashqai proved excellent. The engine, which makes its Nissan debut in the Qashqai, is available linked to a six-speed manual transmission and an all-new seven-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT), both of which are front-wheel drive.

There are three versions of the new 1.3-litre engine: a 140 PS six-speed manual, a 160 PS six-speed manual and a 160 PS seven-speed DCT.

This enhanced petrol powertrain line-up does improve the drivability of the Qashqai, offering improved response and acceleration through better torque (pulling power), and a quieter driving experience. Service intervals are also extended.

I found the new engine rather extraordinarily achieved a smoother response at low RPM (revolutions per minute), with quick acceleration for overtaking.

Nissan says the cost of ownership of this car has been reduced thanks to lower maintenance costs over the lifetime of the new engine. Service intervals have been extended to 18,000 miles.

Compared to the outgoing 1.6-litre 163 PS manual, the new 1.3-litre 160 PS manual has more torque. In the Qashqai on 17-inch wheels, the CO2 emissions from the new engine are 121 g/km, which is 13 g/km lower than previously.

The all-new DCT is a wet-clutch system which delivers an immediate gear shift with no power interruptions, while the absence of a torque converter creates a more direct driving feel

This new engine proves that a petrol-driven powerplant can still be a contender in an increasingly tough marketplace for conventionally powered cars.


Nissan Qashqai Tekna

Total price of test car: £31,390

Engine: 1.3 DIG-T 160 Petrol

Transmission: seven-speed DCT auto

Colour of test car: Storm White (£745)

First Nissan model to use all-new petrol engine

1.3-litre capacity replaces 1.2 and 1.6-litre engines

Delivers lower CO2 emissions, reduced fuel consumption

Debut of all-new seven-speed Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT)


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