Sep 1 2009 Peter Hayward
Qashqai fills a niche
NISSAN did just the right thing with the Qashqai - produce an appealing niche car instead of trying to compete with the big boys in the mainstream.
With a flourish, it replaced the worthy but dull Almera, appealing to a wide range of buyers who want 4x4 looks without the downside.
2.0-litre petrol and diesel models are available with four wheel drive, but all the others have front wheel drive for better economy and they are a good deal cheaper.
The 2.0-litre petrol has 140bhp and the 2.0-litre diesel 147. Other engines are a petrol 1.6 with 113bhp and a diesel 1.5 with 105.
The petrol 1.6 has to be worked quite hard for best performance, but all the others offer good to excellent acceleration.
The ride is comfortable over all surfaces and the handling and road holding are excellent, with only a small amount of roll.
Comfort is great but the seats are an odd shape - too deep - which means the front is too high behind the thighs.
The clutch is light, the five speed gearchange easy and there's plenty of legroom front and rear but the electric window switches are much too far back and difficult to get at.
Price: Pay about £10,900 for an '07 07-reg Visia, £13,200 for an '08 57-reg Acenta
Mechanical: 105bhp, 1,461cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox
Max speed: 108mph
0-62mph: 11.8 seconds
Combined mpg: 54
Insurance group: 5
CO2 emissions: 139 g/km
Main rival: Ford Focus, Suzuki Vitara