Nissan Qashqai SUV

£18,265 - £28,500

The original Nissan Qashqai was one of the first crossover models on the market, combining certain characteristics of a hatchback with those of an SUV. The crossover class has gone from strength to strength since then and the current Qashqai maintains Nissan's position as one of the leading manufacturers in this part of the market.

Nissan has achieved this status because the Qashqai does exactly what this type of car is supposed to: combine the elevated driving position and superior versatility of an SUV with the smaller size, lower running costs and more affordable price of a standard family hatchback. We think the current Qashqai is much more stylish than the old one, too, with sharp lines enhanced by chrome trim and strips of LEDs in the headlights.

Where it was once virtually unrivalled, the Qashqai now counts the Peugeot 3008, Kia Sportage, Dacia Duster, Mazda CX-5 and Skoda Yeti as competition. These cars have actually helped to improve the latest version of the Qashqai, by showing Nissan where it needed to improve the car and pushing the company to make it even better.

The Qashqai excels in almost every area you care to consider and because of that, it's difficult to pick any real standout points. You get a choice of 1.5 and 1.6-litre diesel engines, plus 1.2, 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrols.

While it might sound like a small engine, the 1.2-litre petrol proves to be a competent performer around town, but the diesels are the best on the open road. We'd recommend the 1.5-litre diesel to most buyers because of its ability to return more than 70mpg, plus its 99g/km CO2 emissions mean you won't pay 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 – but you should be aware that this model is slightly more expensive to run. The 1.6-litre petrol is the quickest of all Qashqai models, but it's also the most costly to run.

Nissan has been pretty generous with equipment on all models in the Qashqai range, with even the most basic version, the Nissan Qashqai Visia, featuring Bluetooth phone connectivity, cruise control and air-conditioning.

Our pick of the trim levels is the N-tec model, as it has standard equipment such as 18-inch alloy wheels, the smart vision pack, 360-degree around view monitor and sat-nav.

However, with this version of the Qashqai on sale for several years, we're beginning to hear owners criticising their car's reliability. It's worth taking a look at our owner review section to hear these comments.

Watch our Best 4x4s and SUVs video, which compares the Nissan Qashqai to the Mazda CX-5 and Dacia Duster, to see how three impressive SUVs stack up.