When Nissan launched the Qashqai it looked like the company was taking a real gamble, but history has proven that there is a substantial market for crossovers and the Qashqai has been flying off the shelves ever since. It is easy to forget now the Juke is in production, but the Qashqai was edgy when it first arrived on the scene and without it there is no way that the Juke would have been built.
So the Qashqai has been very influential, but what is all the fuss about? On the face of it the Nissan offers little in practicality that a conventional hatch doesn't, is more expensive and less frugal. However very few cars are bought for wholly practical reasons and the Nissan's slightly raised driving position and chunky styling appeals to many.
Once inside the interior strikes a good balance between looking rugged whilst remaining car-like and is therefore in keeping with the exterior styling. Turn the key and things get even better with a surprisingly entertaining chassis on hand to inject some fun into proceedings and good levels of refinement.
The 1.6 litre turbodiesel engine copes admirably with the Nissan's heft thanks to 236 lb.ft of torque which is available at 1,750 rpm. This provides good performance which means that you don't have to drive it hard to keep up with traffic.
Assuming that you don't actually want to go off road, it is easy to see why so many people have picked the Qashqai 4WD. The whole crossover market smacks of form over function, but if you’re looking for something that is refined, decently engaging to drive, well built, good looking and frugal, then the Qashqai could be the one for you.