What Car? Green Awards 2010 - 4x4s/crossovers
Nissan invented the crossover when it launched the Qashqai in 2007. Its blend of chunky 4x4 styling and small-hatchback affordability provided the foundation for cars such as the Skoda Yeti and our 2010 Car of the Year, the Peugeot 3008.
Read our review of the Nissan Qashqai 1.5dCi Visia Pure Drive 2wd
Fast-forward three years and the Nissan is still one of the best crossovers out there – and the top choice if being green tops your agenda.
It’s recently been treated to a face-lift, as well as tweaks to the ride and handling. This brand-new Pure Drive edition is also lighter, with improved aerodynamics that slash already modest emissions by a further 5%. The result is that the 1.5 dCi Visia Pure Drive 2WD puffs out no more CO2 than a 1.4-litre Vauxhall Corsa.
Yes, the 1.5-litre diesel engine is a bit grumbly, but being green does have some financial upsides: this Pure Drive model will top 57mpg, and its low CO2 emissions make it a cheap company car, too.
Family car credentials, too
The Qashqai is a brilliant family car to boot. Its cabin is spacious and classy, while its tall stance gives an excellent view of the road ahead. It’s set up to be relaxing and easy to drive, rather than for sporty handling but, frankly, there’s no point in buying a green car unless you’re going to take advantage of its emission-slashing abilities by driving sensibly. The supple suspension and soft seats also do wonders for the ride.
You may wonder why the cleanest Peugeot 3008 isn’t featured here. It’s mainly because the Peugeot pumps out more CO2, although NOx and particulate emissions are slightly lower.
It’s also worth considering that while top-end versions of the 3008 are undoubtedly brilliant, smaller-engined models miss out on the Dynamic Roll Control that contributes greatly to the car’s impressive ride and handling.
The fuel-sipping Pure Drive is available in basic trim only, but that’s fine as you still get air-conditioning, Bluetooth, all-round electric windows, a socket for your MP3 player, six airbags and stability control as standard.
A reasonable amount of haggling at the Nissan dealership will secure you the greenest Qashqai in the range for less than £16,000, which is cheaper than
the equivalent Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf.
So the Nissan is cost-effective, practical, comfortable, good to drive and, most importantly, easy on the environment. That’s why it’s our Green Crossover of the Year.
Green car fact file: crossovers/4x4
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