This year, is the year when all car related things around me went bad. Then went bad some more. Then more and some more and when you think that bottom has been reached, then it went down more.
Year started in flames. Literally. I mean one of the cars burned. Just like that. Actually if you want your car to vanish in flames, borrow it to my wife. She have the magic touch, the spark, to make it happen. That was the Skoda Roomster:
That left me with no choice than go shopping. When your car that just burned with no obvious reason or warning was a Skoda, obviously your next car is a Skoda as well if you are a masochist as I am. Skoda Yeti 2.0 TDI to be more precise. Driven 137.000 km in 7 years that is not much for a diesel. It has all bells and whistles on it with a very clear and clean service book. When talking with the dealer about the timing belt, all set, no worries, there is a lot of glories left till 210.000 km. Asked twice and double checked by the Skoda dealer experts.
We decided with one of my daughters to go in a small European tour, in some wild areas that doesn't necessary have the same understanding about road conditions. That means it was required to leave the Mercedes B220 at home and go with the Skoda. After two weeks of very pleasant ride and 6.600 km later, on the way home, the engine decided to stop in a beautiful (never heard of before) village of Krashnik in Poland. A very good place to stop as it is "only" about 1.200 km plus two hours ferry ride away from home. Guess what was the cause: the timing belt. Some tooth from it decided to leave the party earlier engaging the valves, pistons, camshaft and other components inside the engine in a small fight. Nobody won. Result: engine totaled. This is the bad part. The good part is that the dealer that sold me the car took all the responsibility to fix it and courtesy of our car insurance policy we where evacuated from Poland by plane back to Finland in the next evening. After three weeks form the incident, car is still in Poland so it might take a while till I see it again. Anyway, somehow not my immediate problem as a such.
As the dealer need to fix it, they where kind to provide me a temporary replacement car so that I can continue my boring life, undisturbed. This is the part where all should have been already on a way up from the bottom of a sinkhole. Not really.
I was looking ahead for a happy and boring life with not much to worry till I managed to get inside the replacement car that was a Nissan Qashqai 1.6 L Stop/Start System Visia 2WD 5M/T Select from 2013, about 120.000 km driven. No clue from where all those numbers, letters and abbreviations are coming form and it might be that the actual Qashqai range might not be all that bad when they are new but this one that I got can't be even called a car. From where to start?
Right front break was metal on metal as breaking pads left the building long time ago. Front left light, was there but not really there. I mean it was there but giving light only about 1.5 m in front of the car. I'm still amazed for such achievement and flexibility of that light. Then the car was with a manual gear box. Well, no problem as it felt like a semi-automatic as you should not bother to press the clutch as it was so wasted that changing gears would not demand any clutch activities. Basically the clutch was also gone. Then the interior. Plastic is fantastic but not that kind of plastic. I would really have troubles to identify worse finishing and worse plastic ever in anything. I mean my toolbox have a better plastic than that. My kids chairs that are used in the garden have a higher quality plastic than the one inside this box. All kind of single use tools have a better plastic in it. Then the smell. Oh boy. I can still smell the interior even that the car is gone.
A/C didn't work neither so I used the old cool stile by riding with the windows down to get any kind of oxygen pumped inside the smelly box. Then the acceleration. Or the lack of it. Then the fuel consumption. Then the riding. Then the wear and tear of all materials inside. I told to myself that I would never ever made a mistake to even come close to any kind of Nissan rest of my life. Just unbelievable awful.
Three days later, I could not handle it anymore, so I went back to the dealer and just demanded a car that would actually work. The replacement car for the replacement car was a Nissan Qashqai as well. Eyes rolled, visualizing myself again surrounded by the same junk, pushed around by the same born dead engine using same amount of fuel as a space-shuttle. I just got silent and started marching depressed towards the car, then my eyes made contact and all went surreal.
It was Qashqai but it was not Qashqai. I mean it was a Qashqai but not the one that I'we been teached about. It was something else. It was actually a car. Quite a nice car that came with a very long name as well: Nissan Qashqai dCi 130 Business 360 2WD 6M/T Alcantara from 2015. From the name a lot of things can be guessed already like 130HP diesel engine (dCi 130), cameras ensuring 360 degrees view around the car (360), two wheel drive (2WD), manual transmission with 6 gears (6M/T) and leather (Alcantara), but many other very cool things where not in the name like electric chair, touch screen, navigation, park assist, line changing warning and so on.
More or less this was a version of Qashqai that can be called car. Finishing inside was very close to premium cars. Pretty much a pleasant ride in the first day as it took about a day to have the nightmare of the previous version go away and actually start to feel this version of Qashqai and some things where very interesting to notice meanwhile others where annoying.
For example if in the 2013 model the cruise control commands where on the left side of the steering wheel, in this 2015 model those where on the right and also with a different logic. The 5 gears transmission from 2013 model had the revers on the right-back meanwhile on the 2015 model it was in the left-front with the lift of a ring that is typical for Renault and that's why I guess 2013 model had a Nissan gearbox and then the 2015 got a Renault one. Anyway the gearbox from 2013 model was the only thing good in that thing that can't be called a car. I mean the gear changing and the very short stick movement where just brilliant so very sad to see the only good thing from that car gone in the 2015 model. Still the gearbox in the 2015 model is a good one, nothing to complain about but nothing special about it. In the 2013 model, the middle armrest was pretty much useless as it was by far too low meanwhile in the 2015 model they figured out that lifting up that armrest would make it also useful so they did it.
The Start/Stop feature is it less painful in this car compared with other cars because of it's manual transmission, so pressing the clutch would engage the engine with spare time to actually move the car. Still could not figure out how to turn it off.
It came equipped with a super cool one piece of glass roof that goes all the way from front to back uninterrupted. It was a very pleasant surprise allowing a very nice natural ambient light to come inside the car, similar with the convertibles cars, but without the side effects of them like wind, noise, rain or sun burns.
Keyless system with a very convenient tiny little buttons on the front doors handle as well on the boot door, very handy to open and close the car with no need whatsoever to touch the keys. The only disadvantage of this is that after a while you are not sure anymore where the actual "keys" are.
And then there are buttons. Well, there are buttons everywhere in this car. Very, very odd placement for many of them so you need to search, feel and guess many of the things about them. Not sure what was the logic. For example there are buttons that you might use during driving, located under the dashboard, on the left side of the steering well. Impossible to reach without taking your eyes from the road. There are buttons for the chair (electric one) on the left of the chair but then the chair heating is on the right side, in the central console facing the front of the car, again, no way to look at them without taking your eyes from the road. Then they are all looking different. Looking like they used different designers, different manufacturers for each set of buttons. Very, very odd. I did not like it at all. Remind me of a half cooked car called Suzuki Vitara.
When I managed to get a grip of this version of Qashqai and started to even enjoy it a bit, or to not be annoyed anymore, I'we been called to visit the base (dealer) again and have another car in exchange for this one. Basically now I got the replacement of the replacement of the replacement car and it was again not a car anymore but just a box. A dirty box.
It has been a while when last time I could see such a dirty car. I mean not dirty because there is mud, dust, papers or stones around. I'm talking about a car that was cleaned properly very long time ago. The spilled milk from cafe, started to grow some mold in the cup holders, around the hand break handle and all in between. Around the central console and front chairs you could find all kind of dirt starting from leftovers from croissant, Pepsi caps and even coins all very well glued by all kind of very old liquids that where spread inside the car years ago.
It took me about one hour and a screwdriver covered in a cloth to scrap out the dirt so that I can touch the car with all my fingers and not only two. Disgusting. Overall very bad service from the dealer side. Fixing my car is delayed and delayed and delayed and instead of making me to forget about my own car, they are making me to want it back badly!
Car is clean now so I could say few words about it and not focus on the shit inside it. Again the car came as well with a very long name: Nissan Qashqai+2 2,0L Acenta 4WD CVT MY11, built in 2011. It is a 7 seat-er (Qashqai+2), it comes with a 2.0 L benzine engine (2,0L), four wheels drive (4WD), automatic with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), middle range equipment (Acenta) and no clue what MY11 means (not even Google could find the answer), anyway comes with the glass roof that as I mentioned on the 2015 model, it is quite nice.
Good part is that is not that bad as 2013 car that I got first time. At least is decent inside, not that much wear and tear on the materials but it could be also because of only 60.000 km driven. Quite basic stereo, still available cruise control, automatic air conditioning that even works, some kind of radio with Bluetooth, gear box lever not rotten like in the 2013 model and that was it. In the boot, well, there is no cover. I have no clue if that is a feature of Qashqai+2 because of the extra two seats, anyway, is not there so whatever you put in the trunk it will be very well advertised to whoever wants to help himself and get it.
Bag hooks in the trunk are absolute useless because they are too low now with the seats folded. I noticed that in the first turn when all my shopping bags started to dance around.
Then the engine. I had a CVT gear box in the past, in the Mercedes B200 that I had. At least the engine in the Merc had some power, but in Qashqai, well, there is the noise from revs but not much else is happening. And then we go back to the consumption. CVT is well known to be a thirsty gear box so CVT on a 2.0L benzin? Driving with 100-110 km/h gave a nice 9l/100km and driving in the city, went to 12l/100km using it very, very gentle so I guess if I put my foot down, tank will be empty in no time so I don't dare to do it.
When I searched to replaced my burned car, I looked at Qashqai as a possible alternative because of the attractive price (about 1.000-2.000EUR cheaper than Skoda Yeti on the same condition) but now I know why is cheaper. My Yeti from 2010 is not even comparable with the Qashqai from 2011. I mean there is nothing to compare. After you sit in Skoda Yeti and drive it, and then moved inside Qashqai, your have only one think in your mind: "How can I get out?" Difference is huge in everything. Materials are by far much better in Skoda Yeti as you can't guess that is 7 years old and 150.000 km. There are no signs of wear and tear. Really looks like no more than 50.000 km driven. Meanwhile 2011 or even 2013 Qashqai is looking inside like a 20 years old car, driven 300.000 km. Also handling and stability is incomparable. Yeti handles like a normal small car, very easy to push it in corners to the limit, steady, just right balanced, no drama, a pleasure to drive it. I done with it 6.600 km in two weeks and I can't even imagine me doing half of that in Qashqai. Nissan is like a boat going all over the place in the first turn. Very scary shit with huge under steer in all of the models.
My conclusion out of this unintentional Nissan Qashqai experience is that I will do everything possible to never experience it again. Don't get me wrong, the 2015 model was quite nice inside, well equipped, not bad materials but only 60.000 driven and I'm wondering how it will look after 150.000 km driven? It will start falling apart most probably. There was nothing special in this cars. In none of them. Just cars. Did not made me smile but more the opposite, they have no soul, just moving you form point A to point B with no pleasure whatsoever.
No, absolute no. For sure not my kind of car, ever. Now I want my Skoda Yeti back badly!
......few weeks later, I felt the need for a fair add on. I mean I got my Skoda back but it was broken so I got the replacement of the replacement of the replacement of the replacement car, and it is, as you might guess, a Nissan Qashqai. This time the 2017 model. To be, one more time, precise, I got the Nissan Qashqai DIG-T 115 N-Connecta 2WD 6M/T Vision Pack Glass roof version and this is the reason for the add on.
Car, is by far, the best of the Nissan Qashqai that I experienced. Don't get excited, is not a dream car, but finally, with this model, the thing actually can be called a car. Decent to drive (does not scare you to death in corners), no cheap interior material anymore, decent driving position. Basically with the 2017 model, they managed to get the interior on the same level with my 2010 Skoda Yeti. Only piece still questionable is the engine/gear box combination. Quite ok in the first 4 gears but then the 5th and 6th are the most useless one of the all. Once engaged, any of them, the car is not going anywhere even with the foot down. It is very, very slow so I found better to skip 5th for good and only jump between 4th and 6th. Also it got now a decent fuel consumption as well compared with the previous benzine versions. Managed to get it easy under 8l/100km but few times under 7l/km.
The second conclusion from this Qashqai saga, is that this 2017 model could be an option. Not for me, as I still have unhealed scars from my past experience with this model, but to be fair, it is not that bad option anymore.