The Nissan Qashqai combines the characteristics of a hatchback with those of a Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV), and it’s no wonder it set the world ablaze when it replaced the dull Almera in 2007.
Its popularity led to the seven-seat Qashqai+2 in 2008, followed by an all-new model that burst on to the scene in 2013.
There’s a satisfying amount of power in the Qashqai – especially if you choose the older 2.0dCi two-wheel-drive Tekna diesel model. It’ll reward you with around 40mpg – which really isn’t bad at all.
The Tekna trim level is the one to go for - with full leather upholstery, heated front seats and a panoramic glass roof, it’s a really comfortable ride.
Ride and handling
The Nissan’s tall posture and high ground clearance means that body lean can be felt in corners, but it feels a long way from cumbersome in a bend. There's lots of grip and the car rides very well, smoothing out lumps and bumps at any speed.
The Nissan feels a touch above the rest of the small family cars. Soft-touch materials cover the dash, and the interior is superbly screwed together. There's plenty of head and legroom in the front, meaning that comfort is outstanding.
The pre-2013 Qashqai is best suited to four people, but there's enough shoulder room to carry five at a push. The boot is large for the class, and it's well proportioned. The only drawback is that there’s not much headroom for rear. That said, the Qashqai is a tidy, reliable, nippy number.
What to know before you buy
Nissan recalled the Qashqai nine times:
Five were because of a possible loss of steering control on some cars made up to June 2009.
Another worry was the failure of power-steering on Qashqais produced from August 2010.
Further recalls related to the chance of the engine seizing if the air-conditioning compressor malfunctioned.
Possible fuel leaks were also a cause for concern.
Look for drips on the floor when the Nissan is parked for signs of the fuel leak issue. Also, open the bonnet and see if you can spot any suspicious trickles or tell-tale strong smells of fuel.
The Nissan Qashqai’s key rival is the brilliant VW Tiguan. Another car, which is more similar in shape to the Qashqai than the Tiguan, is the Kia Sportage. This comes with a seven-year warranty that can be transferred to subsequent owners as long as the 100,000-mile limit has not been reached.
The Škoda Yeti is also worth a look. It’s an economical, good to drive family car, and ticks all the right boxes.
The Qashqai is Nissan’s most successful car to date - and it’s easy to see why. It’s well stocked with kit, it’s practical and has some decent engines and gearboxes, so it will make a good used buy.
What's more, the car is built in Britain at the Japanese-owned company’s Sunderland plant.
It’s a shame some of the first models weren’t as well produced as they could have been. That said, the recalls will have ironed out the gremlins, so there are plenty of high-quality, reliable secondhand examples on the market.