The Qashqai's carrying ability – both for people and luggage – was put to the test this month, as a visit from my Irish-based brother and his family meant a run to the airport to pick them up.
As they were only over for a weekend, they were travelling relatively lightly, so accommodating their suitcases and child's buggy in the 410-litre boot was not a problem.
However, fitting my sister-in-law in between their two children – one in a bulky child seat and the other on a booster seat – on the rear seat proved to be a bit of a squeeze.
It's unfair to criticise the Qashqai over this though, because any car of its size – at 4,330mm long and 1,780mm wide, it's 28mm shorter and 78mm narrower than a Ford Focus – would struggle to cope comfortably with these demands. Of course, fleet drivers who want the Nissan's qualities with more practicality can opt for the seven-seat Qashqai+2 at a premium of around £2,500 over the five-door model.
Otherwise, the Qashqai performed up to its usual high standards. Its 130bhp 1.6 dCi engine easily took the extra load in its stride, while the car's ride and refinement dealt comfortably with the motorway miles.
Another huge plus point was that the children loved the Qashqai's panoramic glass roof – watching the stars and overhead planes in the night sky kept them quiet for much of the journey home – a real bonus!