Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Nissan Qashqai steps up its family SUV game

The Nissan Qashqai.
The Nissan Qashqai.

Nissan’s Qashqai was one of the cars that started the craze for SUVs.

Buyers loved its high driving position, extra headroom and chunky looks. Back in 2007 Nissan had the blossoming family SUV market almost to itself.

Fast forward 15 years and it’s a ferociously competitive segment packed with talented vehicles. The Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-5, Kia Sportage and Suzuki Vitara are all extremely impressive.

Nissan really needed its A-game when it came to the third generation Qashqai, which was launched last year.

Fortunately, the company has done a fantastic job with the new Qashqai, improving on the previous model in a number of key areas.

A step forward for the family SUV

Refinement, practicality, technology and style have all taken a step forward.

Diesel power has been ditched and a 1.3 litre petrol unit is the main engine option. This is assisted by mild-hybrid technology, which improves economy slightly.

Entry level versions have 138hp, while a little bit more money buys you a 158hp version. More electrified versions will join the range later.

My car came with the more powerful engine, which can comfortably carry parents, kids and dogs uphill without struggling.

Zero to 62mph takes a respectable 9.5 seconds and official fuel economy is 43.6mpg – a figure I found realistic over a few hundred miles of driving.

Four wheel drive option available

Prices start at just under £23,000 and the high spec Tekna+ model I spent a week with costs slightly north of £34,000.

The majority of Qashqais, mine included, are front wheel drive but if you live in an area with bad winters Nissan also offers four-wheel drive versions.

They’re not designed for off-roading but they’ll offer good traction in nasty weather.

On-road is where it excels. Indeed, the latest Qashqai is exceptionally refined. Nissan has improved sound insulation in the new model and at 70mph road, wind and engine noise are all impressively low.

The suspension is set up with comfort in mind so the Qashqai isn’t the last word in sporty handling.

Few people will drive it like a hot hatch, however, and the softer suspension makes the ride much more cosseting. I cruised up to Aberdeen very comfortably in mine. Coupled with good fuel economy it’s an excellent car for long journeys.

The latest Qashqai is a touch bigger than the previous model. This translates into plenty of passenger space. Rear occupants enjoy loads of headroom and a good amount of knee room as well.

The back doors open very wide, making it easier for parents to load young children into child seats.

The boot is bigger than the old model too. It has 504 litres of space, which is slightly less than the very best in its class but still more than roomy enough for most families.

There’s a clever under-boot storage compartment that can be used for muddy gear after a walk or for hiding valuables away from prying eyes.

All-round package

Interior quality has also taken a big step forward. The touchscreen is bigger and sits proud of the dashboard. It’s also much easier to use.

Blessedly, Nissan has kept physical dials and buttons for the heater and fans – these are a lot easier to adjust while driving than touchscreen operated controls.

Equipment levels are good across the range, and higher spec models have goodies such as Nissan’s ProPilot system, a semi-autonomous driving system that is particularly useful on long, fatiguing motorway journeys.

It helps keep you in lane and even slows you down if you’re approaching a roundabout.

The Nissan Qashqai is no longer an out and out class leader. There are rivals that are slightly better to drive or have a little more space.

But when it comes to an all-round package of talents the Qashqai is still pretty hard to beat.

The Facts

Model: Nissan Qashqai

Price: £34,175

0-62mph: 9.5 seconds

Top speed: 128mph

Economy: 43.6 mpg

CO2 emissions: 146g/km