The Nissan Qashqai started the trend for 'lifestyle' SUVs dedicated more to family life than off-roading, and it remains a strong proposition.
Nissan has continued to improve the car’s efficiency with more advanced engines and technology such as stop-start - to the point where its latest diesel model is strong enough to feature on our Green SUV shortlist.
The car’s 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine produces 128bhp and 236lb ft, enough to take the five-seater from rest to 60mph in a spritely 10.3 seconds.
Better still, it returns a Government fuel economy average of 62.8mpg and emits 119g/km of CO2, making it an appealing option for company car choosers. As you might expect, our own True MPG test - which uses UK roads and averages across urban and motorway traffic - is harsher on the Qashqai, with an average of 45.9mpg. However, while that’s some way off the Government figure, we still think it’s respectable for a car of this size and practicality.
That liveability really is one of the Qashqai’s biggest strengths. You sit high up, with a commanding view of the road ahead, and the large amount of adjustment in the steering wheel and driver’s seat make it easy to get comfortable. The interior plastics are focused on durability rather than luxury - but everything feels like it should stand up well to the rigours of family life.
On the road there’s a fair amount of body lean in bends - but this is compensated by excellent ride comfort. The engine’s respectable level of refinement adds to this, making the Qashqai a good long-distance carry-all cruiser.
Whether or not it’s a better family car than a regular hatchback, such as the VW Golf or Ford Focus, is a decision you’ll need to make. However, as an efficient small SUV, the Qashqai is good enough to make our list of runners-up.