Qashqai, the real Nissan's pretty skilled machine


Those crossover vehicles are an interesting thing. They’ve got the dimensions of a hatchback – maybe a little bit larger – and the ride height of an SUV. I guess crossovers do serve a significant purpose, though: there are many, many motorists out there who wish to have a vehicle with an elevated driving position, and a seemingly off-road adept appearance, but without the intention of actually driving off-road. Let’s think of them as vehicles for the urban, concrete jungle.

And there are quite a few crossover options on the market, those seeking one are spoilt for choice. Ssangyong recently released the Korando crossover. The previous generation Korando was a more butch, off-road type of vehicle – but the current iteration has seemed to take on a more prettier appearance. There was also the Actyon from Ssangyong – with its quirky styling. Volkswagen’s crossover offering is the Tiguan. It’s an attractive-looking car, with that stylish – albeit conservative – design we’ve come to expect from Volkswagen, with products like the Golf, Passat and more recently, the new Jetta. Then there’s the Koleos from Renault, and from Peugeot the 3008 – which, I believe could be classified as a crossover.

The Nissan Qashqai has been quite a popular choice in this segment. I see many of them on our roads, and I’ve even got a close relative who owns one. He really enjoys his Qashqai – a pretty big step up from his previous car, a 1999 Toyota Corolla, which had around 400 000kms on the odometer when he parted with it. The Qashqai is certainly a handsome vehicle, especially since it was facelifted some time ago. Its countenance is formidable, with that striking headlamp design, and pronounced bulges on the bonnet. There’s no doubt that Nissan is pretty skilled in designing crossovers – you’ll see it with their cool, quirky Juke, which could be arriving soon.

Families are most likely to flock to the Qashqai, I’m told there’s a sense of security one gets from being in a vehicle with a raised ride height. They’ll also be delighted to know that the Qashqai has a 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating, and boasts features such as Anti-lock braking and Emergency Brakeforce Distribution. Now it’s also become a choice for slightly larger families – since the introduction of the Qashqai+2, which is a Qashqai with 7 seats.

Some of the features, you’ll get are a audio system with 6 speakers, CD and radio as well as that essential AUX port, to plug in your ipod or media player. And on the Qashqai+2, there’s rear privacy glass intended to keeping the interior comfortably cool despite exterior heat.

With the Qashqai range, things start off with the 1.6 Visia, in the middle of the range there’s the 2.0 Acenta and at the top, is the 2.0 Acenta dCi 4×4. The Qashqai+2 is available in the 1.6 Visia and 2.0 Acenta model guises.

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