Every now and then, there are cars that come along that completely change the landscape of the motor industry. The impact that they have, through their design or approach to a different challenge, leaves car manufacturers doing their best to catch up. The Nissan Qashqai is one such vehicle.
While it may seem like an ordinary crossover SUV today, when the Qashqai first debuted, it was a bold new approach to the family car. Even if it may not have been the first crossover SUV to hit the market, it was certainly the most popular. Now, almost every car company has their own entry into the SUV category, including Jaguar, Audi, even Lamborghini!
So what is it about the Nissan Qashqai that made it so popular? We take a look at the most recent model, now in its second generation and continuing to be one of the most popular family cars on the market.
Named after a group of people who live in Iran, the Nissan Qashqai was first released in 2006. While it only sold 54 models in its first year of release, numbers surged upward to 90,000 the following year. Now it regularly sells over 200,000 models every year.
The Qashqai is also at the heart of British car production, with European models being built at Nissan’s Sunderland plant. So not only has it been embraced by the British public, it also helps keep the once booming UK car industry in good health.
The original popular crossover SUV, the Qashqai has entered its second generation by refining rather than redefining. Better materials are used where the tech has improved, and there has been work done to increase the interior space where possible.
The first thing you notice about the Nissan Qashqai, especially if you haven’t been in a crossover SUV before, is the high seating position. You have an excellent view of the road ahead and around you, giving you a sense that you’ll be able to spot any dangers that are coming up with ease. The drive is smooth, mainly due to the responsive and soft suspension.
The steering is designed to be sharp and responsive, but mainly in city streets rather than attacking corners like you would in a sportscar. It’s not going to set your pulse racing too high. And don’t look too hard at the U in SUV. While it’s a big and rugged looking vehicle, it’s not designed to be tackling dirt roads and uneven terrain. It’s been designed to be a family car, just placed inside the shell of a big and rugged off-road SUV.
You’ll be surprised at just how much space you’ll find inside the Qashqai. While it may look like it’s bulky body doesn’t leave much room inside, in fact the smartly designed interior maximises the amount of space you have for you and your family. Even in the +2 version, which has an extra row of seats in the very back, there’s still enough space for a family, especially one with younger children.
For entertainment, the Qashqai comes with a CD player, DAB and Bluetooth phone connectivity as a standard. There is air conditioning as standard, as well as a start stop button. If you want to spend a bit more cash, you can get a model with a Bose stereo system. So you can hear ‘Baby Shark’ in the best possible quality. You can also choose a model with a touchscreen and built in Sat-Nav.
Unfortunately, you have to pay extra for the more premium seat adjustment and memory foam options. Something to consider if you think you’ll spend long hours on the road.
If you aren’t driving long distances, you can choose one of the petrol engines of the Qashqai. You’ll still get plenty of power for when you need it, and you won’t be spending too much of your time stopping at the petrol pump. Consumer estimates have the car at 40 miles per gallon. The diesel engine options will give you an extra 10mpg and is better suited to motorway driving.
In terms of reliability, the Qashqai performs just about average when compared with other cars of a similar size and age. A survey by the website carbuyer.co.uk found that just under 16% of drivers had reported issues with their car that required a trip to the dealer or garage.
When it comes to cars like this, the most important feature is safety. Will it protect your family if the worst were to happen? When tested by the Euro NCAP, the Nissan Qashqai received the top 5-star rating. For adults, that translated to an 88% protection rating. This goes down to 83% for a child occupant of the car, but anything over 80% is very good.
As for safety equipment, the Qashqai comes with six airbags, for you, your passenger and your children in the back. There’s added technology to help with the car when turning at speed, something that needs to be considered in larger cars like this. Electronic stability control also helps to manage the car for you, so there’s little danger of you rolling the vehicle. While that may seem obvious, for a long time there was an issue with this sort of car rolling over. An absolute disaster that has thankfully been solved.
There’s lots to love about the Nissan Qashqai. If you want a comfortable drive that will keep you and your family safe, then you can’t do much wrong. It’s not a car that’s going to get your pulse racing when you put the foot down, and if you are going to spend a lot of your time on the motorway, you may want something with a more powerful performance. But for a family car, spending most of your time ferrying the little ones around, then it really is ideal.