From Sunderland to the world
Designed in London, engineered in Cranfield and manufactured in Sunderland, the Nissan Qashqai might be one of the most British cars on sale in the UK today in spite of it wearing the badge of a Japanese manu-facturer. It came close to not being made in the UK anymore but not a politics site so instead, let us tell you about the third generation of the Qashqai which we’ve driven this week. It marks the next chapter for a mod-el that has sold over five million examples worldwide since it first arrived in 2007.
The new one is more dynamic in its exterior design, more dynamic in the way it drives and thanks to a new platform, way more spacious inside - we couldn’t find a way to use dynamic to describe the interior. It’s also more premium in terms of design, materials and technology with the option of sumptuous Nappa leather seats, the largest head-up display of anything in the crossover segment and even the ability to chat to your Google Assistant.
It’s also sort of electrified. Not in a proper electric or even plug-in hybrid kind of way, but in a mild-hybrid way, although it can give you a bit of extra torque. There’s ample power for most daily driving needs though and it’s a rather comfortable crossover, with the choice of two or four-wheel drive versions. Talking of ver-sions, we found the Xtronic auto to be a better drive than the manual (yes, really) and the Tekna models to be the more comfortable. Granted they are the top of the range, but if you don't want to stretch to the Tekna, the Qashqai starts from £23,535, although that's for the Avis rental spec Visia model.
Time to go touring
When Porsche first launched its 911 GT3 Touring model a few years ago, we wondered what the point was. Surely, the reason to buy a GT3 is because it’s all shouty with its big wing and extrovert character, so taking that away ruins it? As it turned out, the Touring spec created something of a stealth fighter, a slightly subtle version of the GT3 that had all the power you could ever need together with a bit more comfort and the abil-ity to genuinely go from the race track to a dinner party - result. Now there’s a new one and it looks to be every bit as good. Best get your order in.
Not likely to be as fast, but probably still good for touring is the Polestar 3 which the Swedish electric vehi-cle manufacturer released an image of this week. Actually they showed a pic of something under a sheet. We’ve put it through a super image enhancement software system and yes, it’s a car under a sheet. What we do know is that it will go on sale next year as the brand’s first SUV and it will be built in the US and China.
In other news
Hydrogen is making a comeback. If you thought it was a fuel of the future then you’re only partly correct be-cause it’s been around for decades. This week BMW announced it’s developing a hydrogen fuel-cell version of its X5, re-energising its work in this field following its hydrogen-powered 7 Series in 2007 and back in the 1980s.
BMW is not alone. This week Land Rover announced it will start testing prototypes of its hydrogen fuel-cell Defender later this year. Now before the EV-angelists get all righteous about how battery-electric is the be all and end all, just remember it’s not all about living in London suburbia. There are people in the rest of the world you know, for whom the hydrogen-powered society could be the answer they’ve been waiting for.
And finally, after that minor soapbox moment, Ferrari has announced it will be revealing its new sports car on the 24th June. Codenamed F171, it is the car rumoured for years to be the new Dino and it will use a new V6 engine. We’ll be chatting with the team at Maranello so stay tuned for all the news on that and more next week.
Written by Mark Smyth