Nissan Qashqai DIG-T

163 Tekna

Nissan Qashqai, front
Nissan Qashqai, front
Nissan Qashqai, front static
Nissan Qashqai, front action
Nissan Qashqai, side action
Nissan Qashqai, rear action
Nissan Qashqai, boot
Nissan Qashqai, side
Nissan Qashqai, rear
Nissan Qashqai, rear
Nissan Qashqai, interior
Nissan Qashqai, interior

IT was Helen of Troy of whom it was once said "the face that launched a thousand ships".

Something similar could arguably be said of the Nissan Qashqai, along the lines of "the car that launched a thousand crossovers".

Okay, maybe I'm stretching it somewhat to compare a historic icon with a modern day example of mass production but there's some truth in it.

When automotive historians start charting the vehicular history of the noughties the Nissan Qashqai, love it or hate it, is likely to have a special place.

Currently the world seems to have gone crossover crazy, with everyone desperate to get in on the act but the Qashqai can have a pretty strong claim to being the car that got that whole crossover ball rolling in the first place.

It was back in 2007 when Nissan decided to ditch its uninspiring Almera hatchback and Primera saloon and replace them with something totally new and daringly different.

There were many who thought a scaled-down SUV design wouldn't find favour but its elevated ride height, practicality and SUV-inspired styling proved a huge hit and ultimately prompted countless others to follow suit.

In fact the original was so popular you wondered whether Nissan would ever need to change it but ultimately all cars have a limited shelf life and the Qashqai too needed an update.

In 2013 the second generation model came along and while not radically different to the original boasts a fresh and contemporary look that ensures it is still winning plenty of fans.

Arguably changing the Qashqai blueprint too much might have turned devotees off, while not changing it enough might have led potential buyers to conclude it was a bit old-fashioned.

In truth Nissan seem to have struck a good balance with the current version.

Inside it's a nice place to be, with a roomy and open cabin that scores high for family friendliness overall and offers decent levels of comfort.

It's well designed, with good quality instrumentation and switchgear and an abundance of soft-touch plastics.

This might have been a higher-specced Tekna model with plenty of additional bells and whistles but even Visia and Acenta specifications come well equipped and all models offer Bluetooth connectivity.

The N-Connecta and Tekna trims do come with Nissan's Connect system, a seven inch touchscreen offering a DAB radio alongside a USB socket and satellite navigation system. It's a pretty decent system overall and easy to use.

A Qashqai strength is the amount of head room and leg room offered to rear seat passengers and it can seat three adults comfortably.

The rear seats fold down in a 60/40 split and the Qashqai's sizeable boot (439-litres) is another real bonus.

All models above the entry-level Visia also feature a false boot floor where you can divide space according to needs and stow more delicate items away safely and securely.

Engine-wise there are four two choose from - two petrols and two diesels. The 1.2-litre petrol unit is best suited to urban use but is far from being under-powered but the larger and more recently introduced 1.6-litre unit fitted to this car is a more consummate all-rounder and represents a genuinely tempting alternative to either the 1.5-litre or 1.6-litre diesel engines.

It is super-smooth and refined and mated to a slick-shfting six-speed gearbox is a real joy to drive.

While not quite in the sporty bracket it's quick enough and handles nicely for a vehicle that sits higher - definitely more car-like than SUV-like.

FAST FACTS

Nissan Qashqai DIG-T 163 Tekna

Price: £25,380

Mechanical: 160bhp, 1,618cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 124mph

0-62mph: 9.1 seconds

Combined MPG: 47.1

Insurance Group: 14

C02 emissions: 138g/km

Bik rating: 24%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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