This is my second stint in a Nissan Qashqai. The first was back in 2008 when I joined the Fleet News editorial team. The Qashqai had launched the year before and it was an interesting car to have on long-term test as there was nothing else quite like it – it was the car that spawned the crossover sector.
Some road testers at the time were critical as they felt it wasn’t an MPV and it wasn’t quite an SUV and therefore it ‘didn’t know what it was’. But the judges of the Fleet News Awards were impressed with its distinctiveness, running costs and technology, and voted it the best small family car that year.
Today, the Qashqai is firmly established as one of the best selling cars in the UK (with total year to date sales of 29,180 in June, two-thirds of which were true fleet).
But because so many are sold now and there are so many other crossover/compact SUV cars on the market the Qashqai has lost its distinctiveness. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the latest version we’re testing (which was facelifted in 2017) is ‘run of the mill’.
What’s most interesting now is not its looks but what’s under the bonnet – a 1.3-litre petrol engine which has been developed under the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler partnership and became available on the Qashqai last year.
Its CO2 emissions are 121g/km while the official combined mpg is 53.2. Our test car is averaging 40.3mpg, with the best figure to date 48.8.
Back in 2008, it was the 1.5-litre diesel I tested and the fact we’re now in a petrol is another sign of how things have moved on in the market.