Progress report: 2008 Nissan Qashqai vs 2021 Nissan Qashqai
The original crossover faces off against its newer counterpart
WHAT'S THE STORY WITH THESE TWO, THEN?
More than meets the eye, because the Nissan Qashqai pictured on the right isn’t just any old crossover, it is the original crossover. First unveiled at the 2004 Geneva Motor Show, it was initially greeted with scepticism, with the automotive media scratching their heads at Nissan’s strange new SUV/hatchback hybrid. How wrong we were. Launched in February 2007, by the end of the year more than 100,000 had been sold in Europe. Come today and three generations later, and that figure stands at over three million in Europe, and over five million worldwide.Advertisement - Page continues below
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
The first-gen Qashqai was available with a choice of two petrol engines, a 1.6 and 2.0-litre, and three diesels, in 1.5, 1.6 and 2.0-litre forms. This one’s the lesser-powered petrol, with its 115bhp and 116lb ft of torque sending it from 0–62mph in 11.9secs on to a vmax of 113mph. Gaining momentum requires plenty of commitment, but once up to speed it’s comfortable enough, although the raised ride height does little favours around corners. It’s noticeably vocal too, sounding particularly strained at motorway speeds.
AND WHAT OF THE NEW CAR?
At launch last year, engine options consisted of a 1.3-litre MHEV with either 138 or 156bhp. But now there’s the third option of an innovative 1.5-litre which acts as a generator to feed a 187bhp e-motor that drives the wheels, meaning the ICE doesn’t directly propel the wheels. Clever. Here we’ve got the more powerful mild hybrid, which is a huge leap over its forefather with a massively improved ride and better stability round corners, but what’s most impressive is just how quiet it is, rarely becoming flustered.Advertisement - Page continues below
PRESUMABLY THE INTERIORS ARE LEAGUES APART?
Night and day. But this isn’t strictly a fair test – the first-gen Qashqai we have here is in base spec Visia trim, and comes with such luxuries as aircon, electric windows, Bluetooth, and, er, not much else. Whereas the newer model, in top-spec Tekna+ trim, comes complete with 12.3-inch digital dials, 9in infotainment display, massaging heated seats, Bose sound system, wireless charging... we could go on. It’s much roomier in the rear, and a 410-litre boot plays 504 litres old versus new.
SO, WILL THE NEW ONE GO DOWN IN HISTORY TOO?
In a sea of crossovers, it’s unlikely – Nissan claims that there are now no fewer than 26 direct competitors in Europe. But that’s not to say that the British designed, engineered and built Qashqai’s popularity is any less diminished these days... it currently occupies third place on the UK’s bestseller list in the year to date. Its name in history, therefore, is already assured.