The Nissan Qashqai first hit the scene back in 2007 and it has been embraced from the get-go. For many it has answered the call for a car with an assuring raised ground height, commanding driving position and go-anywhere looks of an SUV, but with a sleek design and at the same time running costs which can withstand the current recession.
Prices for the Qashqai begin at £16,595 on-the-road for the basic Visia specification, climbing to £18,095 for the mid-range Acenta trim and £19,945 for the 360 model.
Urban buyers have found that the Qashqai is small enough to cope in the cities and have embraced it as a result. So well embraced has the car become that the Qahqai now has a frequent appearance on the school run within any town in the UK.
And the majority of UK buyers have found they do not need the ruggedness of a Land Rover, they’re simply looking for extra stability and an SUV feel in a family car.
Even as one of the earlier examples in the market today the Nissan Qashqai faces up well to current rivals that include the Ford Kuga, the Kia Sportage and the Peugeot 3008.
While these are strong rivals, none can overtake the Nissan Qasqhai in terms of UK sales. The name has established itself as one of the most instantly recognisable names on the roads today.
One thing the Nissan Qashqai has going in its favour next to any rivals is its appealing looks. The chunky wheel arches and upright back end are typical of an SUV but the front end features a creased bonnet and sloping windscreen to give it a sportier design than the likes of the more upright 3008 for instance.
It looks and feels like a butch hatchback that has been pumped up to give it the dimensions and design of a mid-size SUV, with worthwhile results.
Sleek roof rails are included with the Nissan Qashqai and these are both practical and unobtrusive, while an optional panoramic sunroof on higher specification models helps to create a brighter, airier cabin.
The five-door layout ensures entry to the passenger seats is easy and the back seats are comfortable and spacious.
The boot easily swallows shopping and is a good shape to cope with most family luggage. However, it is on the small side compared to rivals. With the rear seats up the boot of the Qashqai measures at 410 litres. This is certainly decent although not as much as some rivals including the Kia Sportage, which can hold up to 564 litres with the rear seats up.
The materials and build quality in the Qashqai however is deeply impressive however, unquestionably amongst the best in its class.
While not quite up to the standard of premium compact SUVs, the Nissan Qashqai is still well-built, durable and comes with some nice soft-touch plastics and premium-feel upholstery.
It is also one of the best equipped cars in the crossover category. Standard equipment with the Nissan Qashqai includes air conditioning, electric, heated mirrors, electric windows, a CD player, Bluetooth and MP3 connectivity.
All Qashqai models also get alloy wheels while metallic paint can be specified as an option for an extra £500.
Buyers are much more likely to be tempted by the mid-range Acenta trim, which adds climate control, front fog lights and an optional, £700 satellite navigation system to the Qashqai range.
The recently launched and high-end 360 trim replaces the Qashqai’s previous range-topping specification which was called the N-Tec.
With the Qashqai 360 model you get a 360 degree Around View Monitor gadget. The system also integrates sat-nav functionality, Bluetooth, smartphone connectivity and more.
This specification’s biggest highlight though is undoubtedly the four cameras which allow the Qashqai 360’s inbuilt screen to display a helicopter-style view for when the driver is attempting a parking manoeuvre.
The Qashqai 360 model also features 18″ ‘Onyx’ alloy wheels, rear privacy glass and a panoramic roof
On the road
Driving the Nissan Qashqai is unlike to provide many thrills but importantly the ride is drive both supple and responsive, both enticing characteristics for family car buyers.
Still the Nissan Qashqai can’t match the handling of more traditional family hatchbacks like the Ford Focus or the Vauxhall Astra. Nevertheless Nissan have done a decent job to make the steering feel well-weighted and there is very little body roll around corners.
The Qashqai’s engine range is flexible and therefore appealing. To start with there is a 1.5-litre diesel, the most efficient option of all with an impressive return of just 119g/km in CO2 emissions – enough to qualify for road tax Band C. This comes with payments of nothing in the first year and £30 each year after.
Thankfully the engine doesn’t feel underpowered as well, neither does the entry-level 1.6-litre 115bhp petrol. Those who can afford it though should however look into the 128bhp 1.6-litre diesel, which offers a solid mixture of power and efficiency together.
Another appealing option is the 138bhp 2.0-litre petrol unit; although this comes with higher running costs with CO2 emissions towards 190g/km.
The 2.0-litre 148bhp diesel is potent enough to add some extra thrill to the ride, making it a definite recommendation to those who like extra power in their family car.
Overview of the Nissan Qashqai
Examining everything the Nissan Qashqai has to offer and it is fair to see how the crossover model has gained such popularity in the UK market.
This is a highly decent family car, which offers you a high level of practicality, as well as manageable running costs and quality in the interior and ride comfort.
The choice in the compact crossover market has rapidly grown since the Qashqai first hit the UK market. New and updated rivals have emerged in the past few years alone threatening to take the Qashqai’s crown and many more will follow later this year as more major manufacturers enter the family crossover scene.
Still the Nissan Qashqai range has certainly held its own against the test of time so far, remaining worthy of consideration to those seeking something bigger and bolder than a standard family hatchback.
You can find the latest Nissan Qashqai range now at Perrys Nissan Dealership located in Blackburn.