A simple idea, well-executed. That just about sums up the Nissan Qashqai. The overwhelming majority of 4x4 vehicles are only used on the road in the UK and here’s one that’s designed specifically for precisely that sort of terrain.
These days, the Qashqai isn’t alone in offering off-roader design on a road-biased chassis but in its latest guise, it will still be better than most.
There’s a wide choice of engines available to Qashqai customers with two diesels and two petrol powerplants to consider. Things start off with a 1.6-litre 117bhp petrol unit with the eco-friendly option of stop-start and move up through 110bhp 1.5dCi diesel and 140bhp 2.0-litre petrol units before topping-out with the 150bhp 2.0-litre dCi diesel. Nissan hasn’t skimped when it comes to transmission choices either, the Qashqai being supplied with five and six-speed manual boxes, a six-speed auto option and even an advanced Constantly Variable Transmission (CVT).
A more aggressive frontal styling treatment marks out the latest Qashqai from its pre-facelift forbear. It wasn’t merely an exercise in reshaping the headlights and grille either, bonnet, bumper, grille, headlamps and wings all got the treatment.
The trim level range kicks off with the entry-level Visia before extending through the Acenta and N-Tec derivatives to the plush Tekna. The n-tec models are likely to prove particularly popular with their focus on technology built around Nissan Connect, a control system which brings Bluetooth connectivity, touch screen satellite navigation, a colour reversing camera, an MP3 compatible CD stereo and a USB interface for connecting MP3 players all together in a single interface.
Nissan has built an enviable reputation for safety and the Qashqai incorporates accurate electrically-assisted power steering, multi-link rear suspension and beefy anti-lock brakes with brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution and advanced ESP stability control.
With good looks and a roomy cabin, the Qashqai is a fine option for buyers who’d rather not be saddled with a run-of-the-mill hatch or MPV. Strong equipment levels and robust build complete a well-rounded family car package.