It created the modern crossover sector when it was launched in 2007, but that’s not what I mean by unusual.
It is UK designed and produced in several places around the world, that’s not unusual either, and one of those is Sunderland.
Even that fact is not to be considered strange either as Nissan has been making cars there since 1986. No, the simple fact is the Nissan Qashqai is an unqualified British success story and that is something to feel good about.
The first generation Qashqai ran from 2007 with modifications to 2013 when the current series took over. It has been consistently one of the most popular cars for British buyers and the company’s most successful vehicle to date in five global markets with over a million registrations over the last eight years.
Today, a Nissan dealer will sell you any of 26 Qashqai models with medium sized petrol or diesel engines in five trim levels.
Our test model was the mid-range diesel version and best seller with the latest 7-inch touch-screen navigation and entertainment system, NissanConnect equipped link to personal players as well as CD and radio with DAB.
It has a full-length sunroof with powered blind and nice leather detailing on the trim.
It is one of the few cars in this class at this price to have 360-degree cameras and a system which gives a bird’s eye view to assist parking, which is very useful at the end of the school run and when easing into a tight supermarket place.
These little aids to driving really all add up to a well considered car for the family. What’s more it has good access for occupants and bootspace from 430 to 1585 litres, reasonable oddments room as well, very low waistline and good wipers and lights. I liked the well shaped and sized supporting seats and the ride was fairly smooth if a little stiff, and it was not a noisy diesel even when it was pushed to make the most of the power under a full load.
Controls came easily to hands and feet, the gearchange was short and snappy, the steering progressive and brakes effective with only modest pressure.
It is not quick through the gears but its capable, although we did struggle a bit to match our driving styles with the on-board economy mapping as it frequently encouraged us to change down when we thought it was more economical to stay in a higher gear.
If we followed the Qashqai’s commands we found the economy deteriorated.
The Qashqai is not a sporting utility vehicle but a social one with good room for five to sit in comfort. Its handling was a bit stodgy and sometimes lifeless but it gripped well and had no obvious faults on twisting roads.
While the Nissan Qashqai is not truly outstanding in any one area its abilities make it a very popular and capable all-rounder and an understated UK success.
|Nissan Qashqai 1.5 n-tec+||Price: £24,000|
|Insurance group: 15||Mechanical: 110PS 4cyl 1461cc td engine, 6sp|
|Max speed: 113mph||0-62mph: 11.9sec|
|Fuel consumption: 52.8mpg||CO2 emissions: 99gkm|
|BIK rating: 15%||Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000miles|