Hot Cross Hatch
The Nissan Qashqai pioneered the compact crossover segment when it was first introduced into the market, back in 2007. Their new take on the family hatch was chunkier and funkier, looking more like an SUV despite its being more suited to city driving, school runs and shuttling the family to and fro. And, despite its funny name and the consequent awkward pronunciation, this durable, elevated hatch took the market by storm and got the ball rolling for the crossover sector.
The second-generation Qashqai, which we were lucky enough to spend some time and get to grips with, builds on its predecessor’s strengths. After undergoing a face-lift, it has many improved features and specifications. On the outside, its sharp and neat lines position the Qashqai Version 2.0 somewhere between its bulbous little sibling, the Nissan Juke, and its more conservatively-styled bigger brother, the X-Trail. With raised ride height, roof rails and new black plastic trim, it’s got the familiar rugged off-roader look of a typical crossover. And, with stylish swage lines on the side profile and rearmost side windows that have been pinched in the currently fashionable way, the new Qashqai is definitely pleasant to look at. But what’s it like to drive?
The diesel engines available on the new Qashqai come from Nissan’s sister-company, Renault. The 1.5-litre diesel dCi has been around for a while, but this time it has undergone some work to achieve more attractive emissions and fuel-economy figures, as well as to give it 20 Nm more torque − which provides some welcomed oomph when picking up speed and overtaking.