Babies change everything. Consider me well out of my comfort zone. So for this holiday I decided to rent a safe, reliable Corolla for a trip to Byron Bay. Much to my surprise we were upgraded to a brand new Qashqai. Maybe with a baby this car will make sense. Or is it still a fat girl’s cankle with some bling?
OK so the obvious joke first: it’s a Nissan Qashqai ST. They left the HI out between the S and the T to save money. There’s plenty of other places they’ve saved money too. Like the choppy suspension and body roll. Sure it has 8 gears and a colour screen, but these are not the things that make a great car. They make a car age prematurely when the new model comes in next year.
For a car so high off of the ground, I have maybe an inch or two of head room (I’m 5’11” ish and the local basketball team aren’t returning my calls). It’s not roomy with a flat down baby seat either. My wife only has a few inches lead room. So there’s no real advantage here.
Is there anything positive about it? Is it practical? Well the boot is quite big. So it’s great for accommodating prams. It’s the perfect height for changing nappies etc. Fit and finish in the cabin is good quality and there’s nothing that you can’t wipe baby accidents off of (with a car that is so choppy over bumps, this is VERY necessary). With the back seats, it’s really easy to get bubba in and out of his safety throne. Much easier than in my hatch back with such a slopey C pillar.
Is it a great family car though? Maybe but it’s average car in any class. Just because you can get things in and out of it easy doesn’t justify such a poor ride – and believe me the North Coast’s roads are bad. What’s the point of all that ground clearance if it can’t soak up the bumps? It brought to mind the worst handling car I’ve ever driven: the Mercedes A Class. Thankfully it doesn’t steer quite as vomit-inducingly directly as the A Class. Moreover the ergonomics aren’t so flash, because I couldn’t find anything close to hand. There’s an ‘Eco’ button I’m convinced does nothing. It’s so far away from the steering wheel you almost crash trying to find it.
It’s all irrelevant though. Truthfully it’s not really meant to accommodate young families. It’s designed to make Beryl the receptionist, who’s barely 5 foot tall feel like a boss. That would explain those blingy day time running lights and the pearlescent white paint. But I don’t feel like a boss, I feel disappointed.
To make matters worse, we drove to Coolongatta and a Great Wall SUV went down the street. Frankly I’m not sure who’s imitating who. The design like the whole compact SUV concept is very same-ish and derivative. So no the baby has not changed my view on these Beryl-mobiles. I’d be much happier in a hatch back or wagon. At least I won’t feel car sick careening down the north coast. Sorry Beryl.