The Nissan Qashqai is the hatchback that thinks it's an SUV. That could have been a recipe for disaster, but Nissan's engineers have pulled out all the stops to ensure this car represents the very best of breed.
That means that it combines the higher driving position and improved versatility of a 4x4 or SUV with the compact dimensions, lower running costs and cheaper price of your average family hatchback. It's a handsome car, too, with a modern look enhanced by chrome trim as well as LED strips in the headlights.
Nissan stole a march on its rivals with the original Qashqai – the class now includes the Peugeot 3008, Kia Sportage and Skoda Yeti – so it's learned many valuable lessons on the way. This goes a long way to explaining why the current Qashqai is so good.
It's hard to pinpoint exactly what makes the Qashqai so good, because it excels in almost every area. There's a choice of 1.5-litre and 1.6-litre diesel engines as well as a 1.2-litre petrol. Despite its tiny capacity, the 1.2 does a good job around town, but the diesels are much better on the open road. We’d recommend the 1.5-litre diesel to most buyers thanks to its ability to return more than 70mpg, plus its 99g/lm CO2 emissions mean you won’t be paying any road tax.
If you want extra performance, four-wheel drive or an automatic gearbox, the 1.6-litre diesel is an excellent choice, too. However, the running costs do increase slightly compared to the smaller engine.
All models in the range are well equipped. Even the most basic version, the Nissan Qashqai Visia, features a Bluetooth phone connection, cruise control and air-conditioning. We’d recommend the Acenta Premium model, though, as it adds separate climate controls for the left and right side of the car, touchscreen sat nav, a panoramic glass roof and a system that can prevent low-speed crashes.