The Nissan Qashqai is considered to be the original SUV/hatchback crossover. Combining the higher driving position, rugged looks and flexibility of an SUV with the smaller dimensions and lower running costs of a family hatchback, the Qashqai launched in 2007 – which is why you can expect to see an all-new model in 2014. It was given some nips and tucks in 2010 to keep pace with the avalanche of rivals that have followed it into the market, but the original bold styling is still pride of place. Likewise, it has remained extremely popular with buyers, even in the face of that greatly increased competition – and it's easy to see why. The Qashqai's USP is superior build quality and high levels of comfort and equipment at an affordable price. So, it's cheaper to buy than the more “upmarket” Volkswagen Tiguan, but is just as fun to drive.
You get to choose from a good range of petrol and diesel engines, and you can opt for a four-wheel drive option if you need a little extra grip for some light off-roading or to tow a horsebox or caravan. If you’re watching the wallet, the most efficient engine is the 1.6-litre dCi diesel, which emits only 119g/km of CO2.
The Nissan Qashqai comes in four main model specifications that follow Nissan's standard pattern – entry-level Visia, then the Acenta, followed by the Qashqai 360 and top-of-the-range Tekna. Nissan has a strong reputation for reliability that isn’t quite what it was but still better than most, and the Qashqai rarely suffers from any electrical or mechanical problems as a result.