A few years ago, I rented a Nissan Juke and drove it a few hundred miles and I came to actually like it a little bit, despite the fact that I was unable to refuel it and despite having to drive it very slowly to ensure that I got back to the rental company safely.
Last weekend we needed a car to drive up north and despite booking a ‘Skoda Octavia or similar’, they handed me the keys to a Nissan Qashqai. Initially I was somewhat skeptical, they had given me a compact SUV rather than the big Skoda that I thought I would be getting.
Having to exit the car rental place onto a busy roundabout with no idea where the clutch was going to bite was a little bit scary, but all was well, the engine had plenty of power and the gear change, while exceptionally long-throw, was predictable. The drive home was uneventful, unless you consider driving something that is perhaps 50% bigger than anything you have driven in a while outside of the B&Q truck, uneventful. The steering was nice and light, the clutch and gearbox easy to use, but the brakes are stupidly sharp, which means that even a gentle touch on the pedal had the nose diving for the tarmac and the passengers trying not to eat the dashboard. Around town then, this is not the best choice.
This all changed on Saturday when we headed up north. The cruise up to the M25 was effortless and once on the M25, I started to play with some of the toys. Oh yes, this thing is a wonder of modern technology.
- Cruise Control is pretty standard, this thing had ‘Pro Pilot’, which would keep the gap to the car in front ‘appropriate’. It would even apparently drive itself, but I did not test this.
- Lane Warnings – if I moved toward the lane markers, it reminded me that I was not staying in my lane nicely.
- Blind spot warnings
All of which made stomping around the M25 much, much easier. The heated seats and the dual zone air conditioning are awesome too, they make the journey warm and comfy.
But the big thing was the stereo. It is considerably better than any car stereo I have heard before. The space where the rear wheel is houses a Bose subwoofer and there are many smaller speakers spread throughout the car. The sound was incredible.
On the Motorways cruising was effortless and the economy was exceptional, we averaged over 60mpg for the trip, which given the size of the thing is incredible.
Oh yes, the size, because it is a modern design, because the windows are small and it is pretty much impossible to tell where it ends, there are cameras hidden away, that combined with proximity sensors, makes parking a lot easier than you might expect.
So, yes, I liked it, there is an awful lot to like about it, it was comfortable, the stereo awesome, the glass roof amazing, the heated seats and climate control super nice. The problems though ?
It is too big around town, it is pretty marginal parking it in the average Tesco parking spot and the idea of trying to reverse park it, Reginald Molehusband style gives me the shivers. The next issue is the price. I configured one in a similar fashion to the rental one and it came in over £30,000. That is a seriously large amount go use for something that I pretty much never use. Renting it for £30 a day feels like a heck of a lot better use of money.
Great car, but it feels exceptionally silly to actually buy one.