The Qashqai is Europe's best selling SUV with prices starting from just over £19,000, alongside traditional Nissan styling qwerks it now comes packed with technology (even including semi-autonomous technology as an option).
Since the first version in 2007, it's been entirely redesigned. While it wasn't a 'bad looking' SUV before, it's now (dare I say it) a good looking SUV (spec dependant).
When it was launched in 2007 it was a turning point for Nissan, while they had superb prior models, they'd never really had such a successful model as the Qashqai ended up being. The Micra was an intentional sensation (to a certain market) and.. let's not even talk Skyline [insert heavy breathing]. Simply put, immediately the Qashqai became a household name and was parked in front of houses all over the UK (no matter the income).
There's no denying that the new variant is a superb looking machine (especially when optioned with 19" alloys), however the new striking lines give even the base spec good looks and future proofing (to an extent). With a multitude of exterior colours and options to make it truly your own, the Qashqai is simply ideally customisable for any customer.
Is inside as good as outside?
Simply put, yes. It's a comfortable and exceptionally well equipped cabin which offers superb headroom / passenger space while not being overly fancy - almost a homely place to be.
From the drivers perspective, visibility is decent and generally you can see everything with ease. However tighter spaces can be daunting thanks to a typical Nissan design qwerk, the front arches don't give you a great perspective. The rear does have a slight blindspot, however unless you refuse to move your head - you'll have no issues.
With potential options like a Bose sound system, semi-autonomous driving, decent infotainment and keyless entry / start - it's a premium SUV without a seriously premium price tag.
Is the performance reflective of the price?
Yes, definitely - without a question. If you want SQ5 performance, you're going for an SQ5 not a Qashqai. While the engine variants aren't slouches you're reminded in tight corners that you're not driving a proper "sports utility vehicle", but don't you expect that for the price?
My only concern with their engine variants is mainly aimed at what I feel is a heavily detuned and not very torquey 1.6 petrol engine (160 bhp and 240Nm) - it's an 'ok' engine for general use, but at times it feels utterly gutless and on long runs the economy definitely lets it down.
The diesel 1.6 (130bhp and 320Nm) feels much more suited to the car, turns around closer to written figures and doesn't let you down on an overtake while actually having less power.
In summary it's alright then?
When you consider the technology as standard, the technology you can option in, the visual options you can select and the engine variants - it's actually a superb vehicle - not what I thought I'd ever say about a Qashqai. It fits in everywhere, can fit into any space, can deal with motorway cruising with ease but equally deals very well in the middle of the city.
It's mainly aimed at families - after spending time with it you can easily see why. Hard wearing and robust, spacious and safe, frugal (at times) and generally reliable. It's an all rounder which doesn't cost the earth to buy, run, insure - and depreciation isn't too horrific for anyone looking at PCP / lease.