What is it?
An ingenious idea where the Juke is a silly one, the Qashqai created a niche that immediately cried out to be filled. This is a smaller, more affordable alternative to the likes of the Land Rover Freelander, offering people on a modest budget the chance for some SUV size and status. There is also a slightly larger version available, called the Qashqai+2, which has a longer wheelbase and two extra seats in the boot. Both are practical, refined, affordable to buy and run, and ought to be bombproof. The one thing they aren’t, however, is exciting.
The Qashqai is one of those increasingly rare cars that has been set up for comfort instead of some token nod towards performance. This means it rides serenely for a car in this class and of this price, soaking up the worst that Britain’s roads can throw at it. Softly sprung and shod with large, tall-wall tyres, this does mean that the Qashqai rolls around quite a lot when pushed hard, but it’s a progressive sort of lean that never feels alarming. The steering is quite light too, which compounds this problem but, again, adds to a greater sense of comfort and refinement at speed.
Like the Juke, this crossover is available with four-wheel drive, but you’re better off sticking with the more affordable, lighter and more fuel efficient two. Couple this with the larger of Renault’s excellent diesel engines (the 1.5-litre dCi is a bit gutless in a car this big) and you have a polished little product on your hands capable of near 50mpg.
On the inside
The Qashqai’s interior is top notch, with typically solid and sensible Nissan styling, materials and finish. It feels more than up to the shock and awe of a young family and will age well where the flashier Juke’s cabin is sure to date quickly. Equipment levels are high too, with even entry-level cars getting air-conditioning, electric windows all round and a CD player thrown in.
This is also quite a spacious car, with easily enough room for four adults and maybe even five at a pinch. The Qashqai can also be had with seven seats, but those last two really are just for occasional school run rescue missions. If you have a big family then you’re going to need a bigger car.
Having a Qashqai in the family really ought to be as rewarding and hassle-free as it gets. Rock-solid build quality is a given and those engines are strong and reliable. The Renault-sourced diesels are cheap to run and the Pure Drive 1.5 dCi is good for 57.6mpg. The Qashqai is also one of the cheaper cars to buy in its class while also being one of the better ones at resale.