Advice on buying the best.
Nissan’s first crossover model was also one of its most successful, with more than two million sold in Europe, Japan, Australia and the US. It’s a hugely popular secondhand choice. Rob Bradshaw explains how to get the best deal.
When it was first shown at the 2006 Paris Motor Show, the Qashqai was quite a departure for Nissan. Replacing both the Almera and the Almera Tino MPV, the newcomer was the brand’s first so-called crossover model.
It was also the first Nissan to be fully designed, engineered and built in the UK, with most of the styling work carried out at the company’s design studio in Paddington, the engineering at the Nissan Technical Centre Europe in Cranfield, Bedfordhsire, and the manufacturing at the company’s plant in Washington, Tyne and Wear.
From the outset, it was a huge success. Keenly priced, well laid out and decent to drive, it was the vehicle that kickstarted a revolution in the new car market, with buyers abandoning traditional five-door hatchbacks in pursuit of ever more lifestyle-based niches.
Three engines were offered at launch. A 1.6 petrol with 115bhp and a 2.0-litre with 138bhp, along with a 1.5-litre dci diesel, sourced from Renault. Both petrol models could be ordered with a CVT automatic gearbox. With 109bhp, the diesel was only good for steady progress, but was soon supplemented by a new family of engines developed in 1.6 128bhp and 2.0 147bhp units, offered as both two- and four-wheel drive.
Interestingly, the Qashqai actually had less boot space than the Almera it replaced, but featured a number of hidden and clever storage areas, such as a secret cubby box beneath the main one in the armrest and, on some models, a modular boot floor with a separate compartment beneath.
More seats option
In 2008, Nissan extended the range further with the Qashqai+2. As the name suggests, this was a seven-seater, although legroom in the rear was extremely cramped and only really suitable for children. For most Qashqai buyers, that was who would be sitting in them, so they serve a purpose.
In terms of trim levels, the range kicked off with the Visia, which was pretty well catered for with aircon, four electric windows, a trip computer, Bluetooth, six airbags, alloy wheels and a CD stereo. The door mirrors, handles and front grille were finished in unpainted black plastic to remind you that it was the base model, but it’s not a bad package and is more generous than most European rivals.
Production line at the Tyne and Wear plant.