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[NEWS] Bangernomics best buys: Nissan Qashqai

Bangernomics best buys: Nissan Qashqai

01 nissan qashqai

Our man thinks that Nissan's crossover is a sensible purchase

Nissan Qashqai

Like it or not, the Nissan Qashqai was the future of the used car market. It had SUV looks but otherwise is just a big hatchback with a huge boot. Did someone say Talbot Matra Rancho? The difference is that the Qashqai became Britain’s favourite family car and the Rancho very much didn’t.

Here was a Ford Focus but riding usefully higher. That’s what the buying public wanted, just without all that weight and 4x4 plumbing.

Fairly small engines meant decent economy. From the off, there were 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre petrols. Obviously, the 2.0-litre diesel delivered extra MPG (40) over the 2.0-litre petrol (35), but actually the 1.6-litre petrol was a whole lot better (43), just not as punchy. Later, the 1.5-litre diesel could manage more than 60mpg, so that’s the answer.

Pointless 4x4 plumbing did actually arrive, at the twist of a dial delivering power to the rear wheels when required.

A Qashqai was introduced in 2008 with an extra pair of seats, but they’re for children rather than grown-ups, and the boot shrinks.

Specification levels were decent, with air conditioning and electric windows, from Visia trim and up. Acenta had rear parking sensors and Tekna heated seats, keyless entry and a panoramic roof.

Facelift action in 2010 meant a different interior and front end, so used prices blip a bit there.

Ones we found

2012 Nissan Qashqai 1.6 dCi N-tec+, 96,000 miles, £5995: Here’s a top-end diesel in seemingly immaculate condition, with two ex-owners, a recent service and almost a year’s MOT. Sunroof and reversing camera to brighten your day.

2010 Nissan Qashqai +2 1.6 Acenta, 90,000 miles, £4775: If you need seven seats, here’s the economical but slow way to do it. Despite being in Acenta trim, this +2 has a panoramic sunroof, rear parking sensors and climate control.

Or try this…

2011 Skoda Yeti 1.6 TDI Greenline II Elegance, 106,000 miles, £5495: This is a tidy and well-looked-after dealer-sold car with two previous owners, a warranty and a service history. Upholstered with leather and should return a strong 60mpg overall.

Idol fancy

MG F and TF, 1995-2005: I’ve always rather liked the bar-of-soap-shape MG F. Mid-engined, small and quite nippy, it is just what a budget roadster should be.

It rolled up in 1995 with two versions of the 1.8-litre K-series engine, sited behind the seats. Revisions in 1999 meant a mild restyle, a Steptronic gearbox and electronic steering. Five variations were offered from 2001 with the 1.6-litre engine.

The TF wasn’t that different or even better built than before; it looked a bit sharper with Hydragas replaced by normal coil springs. Last-gasp mods in 2005 included a heated glass rear screen, the suspension was fiddled with and the trim changed.

The cooling system could have been better, so check the radiator and piping. Otherwise, the usual issues are a moist cabin (because the door and boot seals weren’t up to much and the early door glass wasn’t a very tight fit) and front-wheel alignment straying from true and ruining your tyres.

Experts say Japanese-market air-conditioned models that come back here can be light on service history and will have missed vital recall work.

Buy now

Renault Twingo, 2007-2014: This Twingo isn’t quite as lovable as the original bugeyed one, and there are lots of very capable rivals. It’s only average to punt around in but okay in town.

Pushing the Twingo along from the back (which incidentally affords it a tighter turning circle) are a variety of four-cylinder engines. The basic atmo 1.2-litre delivers more than 50mpg and stop/start boosts that past 60mpg. The turbo version is all right and for excitement there’s a GT with a slightly more pokey 1.4-litre. Oh, and there was a 1.6-litre RS.

There are five trim levels, but Dynamique would be our choice, as it delivers air conditioning and rear seats that do their own sliding and folding thing.

Faulty coil packs and wrong spark plugs cause rough running, plus there might be cabin water leaks and some dodgy cockpit electrics.

One we found

2007 Renault Twingo 1.2 Dynamique 67,000 miles, £1990: Here’s a dealer-supplied Twingo with the perky-enough 1.2-litre engine and more than decent Dynamique trim, revelling in an electric sunroof. Its 67,000 mileage is warranted. The one previous owner had looked after it, so there are all the stamps in the service book. In very clean condition and on good tyres, it’s ready to drive home.

Reader’s corner

Sixties Swede is rally ready: Alternative power is a big thing these days, so hats off to Richard, who has bought this 1964 Saab. “It’s a two-stroke three-cylinder fully prepared rally car, complete with FIA papers,” he says. “You can only imagine what it sounds like!” Yet again he has set a wonderful example, proving that there’s a world of truly fascinating and very differently powered classics to be bought and enjoyed.

Bangernomics world

Always look where the car you want to buy is parked. There might be a tray underneath it in a showroom, but in real life you can find clues to its condition, rather like on the asphalt beneath a lorry. Oh dear, the nearside front hub is trickling fluid: investigation is required.

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