BMW’s classiest tuners work their thoughtful magic on the ultimate diesel X3
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£17,420 when new
Sod it. The Toyota Auris is awful, the Nissan Qashqai superb. Following last month’s feature on two very different approaches to the same marketing dilemma, both cars have arrived in the UK and come straight to our office. I wanted to like the proper hatchback and denounce the charlatan pseudo SUV. To see someone stem the flow of decent handling and functional family car to half-arsed style-statement. No such luck. Where the Auris is dull, the Qashqai excites; where the Auris is flimsy, the Qashqai is solid. In effect, where the Qashqai says tomorrow, the Auris says yesterday. The first car we got on British plates had the entry-level 1.5-litre turbodiesel, a peaky but eager little number whose modest 105bhp is bolstered by a decent 177lb ft of torque, providing a surprisingly effective surge of acceleration in a car that seems improbably large for its powerplant. And despite not being that quiet, the end result for the basic diesel Qashqai is one of refinement, quality and softly-spoken class. Damn.