Ten Point Test

Auto Trader Ten Point Test rating: 81%

The Nissan Qashqai received the highest ever EuroNCAP crash test rating for adult occupancy when it was tested earlier this year.

On top of the excellent safety features, it’s well specced, eye-catching and good value for money.

The ‘Cash Kai’ appears to be a great all round car with its unique style and stance. We borrowed one for a week to find out.

1. Looks 8/10

The Nissan Qashqai is a bulky looking hatchback-cum-off-roader with a high roofline and a distinctive front, characterised by the large front lights and grille with body-coloured side skirts and bumpers. Imagine a family hatchback on steroids. Our model came with 16-inch alloy wheels, but opt for the top-end Tekna trim and the Qashqai rolls on 17’s. Our model had the panoramic glass roof with one touch shade, which costs around £700 extra but is standard on the Tekna.

2. Looks inside 7/10

As with most Nissans, the interior consists of hardwearing plastics and faux chrome. The centre console is perfectly symmetrical with the sound system taking main stage. As with looks from the outside, the dominant feature from within is the great glass roof, which provides another source of light. Nissan has tried to make the Qashqai into a fun car, but the dual-coloured seats are an acquired taste and the inside would look better if Nissan had stuck with one shade.

3. Practicality 9/10

While the Nissan Qashqai is in the Ford Focus price bracket it offers practically more familiar with an MPV. The boot’s standard capacity is 410 litres, compared to rivals the Ford Focus (385 litres) and Volkswagen Golf Plus (395 litres) expanding to 860 litres at window level and, with the rear seat down, a cavernous 1,513 litres. There is also a cooled glovebox, which has enough room for 15 normal-sized cans of soft drinks. Space isn’t a problem for the taller passenger thanks to the high roofline and large amounts of legroom, All-round visibility is good, while steering is light for tight parking.

4. Ride and Handling 7/10

The ride is surprisingly firm, so it doesn’t soak up potholes as well as some of its softer suspension rivals. But with this means less body roll through the corners making the Qashqai sportier and more fun to drive than expected. The 2-litre petrol and turbodiesel models get Nissan’s all-mode four-wheel drive which gives the Qashqai added grip.

5. Performance 8/10

The model we tested was powered by a 2-litre turbodiesel producing 148bhp and 236lb/ft of pulling power. This means 0-60mph in a 10.5 seconds and a top speed of 119mph. The power and pull felt very responsive and punchier than the figures suggest. Nissan also offers the Qashqai with a 1.6-litre and 2-litre petrol and 1.5-litre turbodiesel which have top speeds of 108mph, 119mph and 109mph respectively. But our choice would be the bigger diesel engine where you get more pulling power, better fuel economy and four-wheel drive.

6. Running Costs 7/10

The diesel Qashqais are the cheapest to run in the range with the 1.5- and 2-litre range averaging 52.3mpg and 40mpg respectively. Our 2-litre model emits 184g/km of carbon dioxide meaning an annual tax bill of £165. The 2-litre petrol emits between 199 and 204g/km of carbon dioxide putting in tax band F resulting in a £205 contribution to the Chancellor’s coffers.

7. Reliability 9/10

Nissans are solid, reliable cars and – while the Qashqai is on a new platform – we’d expect the new car to stick to the trend. In the Reliability Index, Nissan is the seventh most reliable car maker. The build quality feels good with hard, durable plastics making up much of the interior. But if the Qashqai does go wrong, it is covered by a three year / 60,000 mile warranty and one year’s free breakdown cover.

8. Safety 10/10

The Nissan Qashqai was awarded the best ever EuroNCAP crash test rating in May 2007 when it received almost maximum points and five stars for adult occupancy. Safety features include front, side and curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability programme and hydraulic fade compensation (HFC) which provides sharp braking. The four-wheel drive system on the 2-litre models ensures more grip in slippery conditions.

9. Equipment 8/10

Standard equipment is impressive on the whole range. Our mid-level Acenta model came with rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, a simple-to-use Bluetooth system, cruise control, rain sensing wipers and an excellent sound system with six CD autochanger. The top-level Tekna adds heated front seats, xenon headlights, 17-inch alloys and leather seats.

10. X-Factor 8/10

The Nissan Qashqai a member of a new breed of car offering hatchback size and cost and – on the 2-litre models – four-wheel drive capability. It’s a solid, inventive-looking car, which offers entertaining performance, value for money and excellent safety. But it’s not a hot hatch or a hardcore off-roader and, with the petrol range, emissions are high. If you’re looking for something a bit different though, the Qashqai should be high up on your list.

Key facts

Model tested: Nissan Qashqai 2.0 dCi Acenta
On the road price: £17,749
Price range: £13,499 – £23,299
Date tested: September 2007
Road tester: Adrian Hearn