- - Sunday, June 21, 2015

Spending the last month in Europe, it has made me take notice of the difference in the cars we have here in the United States and those driven on the other side — across the pond. A few weeks ago, the Nissan folks put me in a 2015 Nissan Qashqai while I was driving in Paris.

In fact, driving in Paris could have been a difficult task, but the Qashqai was not too big and not too small making me feel just right. To that, I fit right in on the Parisian streets and found parking and taking the little alley roads a breeze.

The 2015 Nissan Qashqai is a compact crossover, so it’s perfect for the French roads and here in the states I would compare it to the Nissan Murano.

This style of Nissan has been in the European Nissan lineup since 2006, some folks familiar with the European brands might remember the Qashqai under the moniker of the Nissan Dualis, but reviews are in and the Qashqai stands up as much better in every way as compared to the Dualis from years past.

The 2015 Nissan Qashqai has also seen a reincarnation since last year too, and it has been built on a new platform with the car buyer in mind. That is the car buyer who wants a cool design, but not in a big monster vehicle, preferring instead the quiet comfort of the sport utility feel with a gentler touch. Overall, the competition in the market for the 2015 Nissan Qashqai is the Toyota RAV 4, Hyundai Tucson and the Honda CR-V.

What I found most impressive about this European cousin to the Murano was the sleek designing that definitely stands out with a rear rise to the shape, but with an SUV feel. There is also a good ground clearance and good wheel arches with 19-inch wheels for just the right ride.

Under the hood, there are a number of choices you can opt for including the 113bhp, 1.2-litre four-cylinder turbo fuel, 108bhp 1.5-litre turbo diesel, this being the most sought after for the European market, a 128bhp 1.6-litre turbo diesel or a 161bhp turbo fuel option.

Inside for the interior, the materials are classy and stylish with easy to use knobs and buttons, much like the U.S. version and everything has been thoughtfully laid out for ease of use and comfort including the perfect climate control and automatic lights and wipers. A navigation system can be added to the Qashqai if you opt for the higher end option and for safety an added feature, which is a great idea when parking on the narrow European streets, the rear parking sensors.

Safety features include six airbags, stability and traction control, a brake force distribution. and on the Ti trim. you can choose to add an around the car camera as well blind spot and lane departure warning and a moving object detection device that will keep you alert.

When driving the Qashqai, you are definitely looking at a more comfortable ride than in years past. And with the new design, it’s more comfort for not only the driver and front seat passenger, but also the folks in the back seat as well and that includes maximum headroom. There is also plenty of storage space in the cabin, the only distraction, the fake leather steering wheel, but it’s not a deal breaker by any means.

Overall, as I drove through the streets of Paris I found driving is good in the City of Lights and driving the Nissan added to the experience. While many folks just use public transportation in a big city like Paris, driving is so much more user friendly and I found I was able to get a better look and feel of the place. Indeed, this 2015 Nissan Qashqai made me homesick because it felt so good as I drove it with that cool SUV meets compact size attitude that we in the United States just love about our cars back home.

Should You Need to Know: Not that you will need to do this while driving in Paris, but if you must know or if you decide to take to the French countryside on your jaunt overseas — the 2015 Nissan Qashqai will give you zero to 60 in about nine seconds.

Miles Per Gallon: Fuel prices in Europe are definitely different than in the U.S. It’s about the litres, but just know you get your money’s worth with the Qashqai and if you choose to drive the 1.5dCi diesel it is 74.3miles per gallon with the CO2 figures of 99g/km. For the 1.6-litre diesel Nissan Qashqai, it is 65.7 miles per gallon and 115g/km of CVT

Cost: On the right track in regard to affordability the 2015 Nissan Qashqai starts at around $32,890 for the manual and goes up from there depending on accessories and trim.

For more auto tips and information follow Rita @RitaCook13.

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