Review

Nissan Qashqai SUV

£18,545 - £28,910

The market for crossovers (vehicles that combine the virtues of family car with those of SUVs) might not be as large as it is were it not for the Nissan Qashqai. The original model was launched in 2007 and established a dominant position that the current model has built on. The new car is recognisably a Qashqai, but sharper lines and LEDs in the headlights have really smartened it up, without making it look too extreme.

Of course, the class the original Qashqai helped to create is now full of very talented rivals to suit all pockets. They range from the Dacia Duster at one end to the Audi Q3 at the other. In between are the Skoda Yeti, Volkswagen Tiguan, Mazda CX-5, Kia Sportage and Ford Kuga – to name but a few. Nissan's sister company Renault has its own answer to the Qashqai, too – the Renault Kadjar.

Despite this breadth of competition, the Qashqai remains a very desirable car, not least because it's so good in so many important areas. There are four engines to choose from: a 1.2 and 1.6-litre petrol, plus a 1.5 and 1.6-litre diesel. The 1.2-litre petrol is actually quite lively around town, but if you do more mixed driving including more open roads and motorways, the larger 1.6-litre is a better choice.

Despite this breadth of competition, the Qashqai remains a very desirable car, not least because it's so good in so many important areas. There are four engines to choose from: a 1.2 and 1.6-litre petrol, plus a 1.5 and 1.6-litre diesel. The 1.2-litre petrol is actually quite lively around town, but if you do more mixed driving including more open roads and motorways, the larger 1.6-litre is a better choice.

If you do more than 15,000 miles a year, you’re better off with one of the diesels, since they’re powerful and economical. Our pick of the pair is the 1.5-litre, which can do more than 70mpg. Whatever engine you end up choosing, the Qashqai is entertaining to drive, with supple suspension, good steering and a body that doesn’t lean too much in corners.

The Qashqai is a spacious car with a roomy and well-designed boot. Standard equipment is very good, with even the basic Visia model having a five-inch colour screen, all-round electric windows, a height-adjustable driver's seat, cruise control and air-conditioning.

The Qashqai is a safe car, as demonstrated by the five-star crash safety score it was awarded by Euro NCAP, but it could be more reliable. It did reasonably well overall in our recent Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, but patchy reliability was a frequent complaint from owners.

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: