Some 13 years on from the initial launch, and the Nissan Qashqai remains a firm favourite for those in the market for a compact SUV, well equipped and offering value for money.
When it was launched, its area of the market was far from being crowded so it got off to a flying start, now this segment is mega busy, yet this Nissan manages to stay popular and competitive. Several people have asked me what does Qashqai mean, well in this case it does mean something, Nissan named it after the Qashqai people who reside in the mountain area of Central and SW Iran! In fact this vehicle has enjoyed a number of names, the first generation sold in Japan was named Dualis and in the US, Rogue Sport.
However what is in a name, more important are such things as customer satisfaction, economy etc. I can recall being on the launch of the first generation model so I looked forward to trying the latest version and I must state that it does everything rather well, a practical vehicle with appeal for a wide audience.
Through its history, Nissan has refined and improved the Qashqai as it fought off its competitors, it is one SUV that has running costs akin to a hatchback. Style wise, it has become more angular than the earlier version and careful choice of materials means that the customer now gets more quality, something which today is widely expected.
My test example had a 1.3 litre petrol engine with 140PS. This provided reasonable performance with rest to 100kph (62mph) coming up in just over ten seconds. But let’s be honest, the customer who buys a 1.3 litre Qashqai is not yearning performance. Practicality and economy are more likely to be high on the must have list.
Luggage capacity is 401 litres and when the seats are folded down you have quite a generous amount of 1,598 litres to work with. However one minus point is that the rear legroom is not as good as I had expected.
Looks are important to the majority of car buyers today and nothing sets a vehicle off like a set of smart alloys and the version I tried rode on 18 inch alloys; still with the exterior roof rails and privacy glass.
With a well appointed interior, it was no surprise to discover a relatively high level of technology on board. Equipped with the new NissanConnect seven inch touchscreen , quite a cocktail, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, TOMTOM Connected Services and an average AM/FM/CD audio system with DAB and six speakers and audio control remote for ease of use.
Bluetooth with audio streaming and AUX socket for MP3 players, absolutely no excuse for keeping in touch with friends, news and music on the move.
A comprehensive safety package delivers peace of mind for all who care to be transported in the Qashqai and just to note a few highlights, rear view park camera, ESP, ABS with EBD and Brake Assist and Lane Departure Warning etc.
Behind the wheel thanks to its elevated SUV stance, vision is good and with comfy seats the Qashai is a good companion for those longish drives we sometimes have to take. For a vehicle in its class, roadholding and handling can best be described as average.
There is no doubt that with Nissan having given the Qashqai a gentle makeover, this SUV is going to be around for quite some time to come.
Finally trim levels, engine/transmission choices are very much dependent in the market where this Nissan is sold.