We didn’t plan to cover the Nissan Qashqai, mainly because we weren’t entirely sure how to spell it. But then we found ourselves idly looking for the old press shots when we stumbled upon these. We thought we’d hit the jackpot with weird pres shots when we looked at the Citroen C4 Picasso, but no, Nissan and its Qashqai win.
Are they… are they saying the Nissan Qashqai is the perfect car for curb-crawling? Because that’s sure as hell what it looks like:
It’s not a pastime we’re familiar with (we’re so unattractive we can’t even pay for sex), but looking at this, it meets all the rumours we’ve heard. What makes the Qashqai so perfect for scooping up ladies of ill repute? It was our understanding, at least from what the Arctic Monkeys told us, that the Ford Mondeo was the car for this job.
Anyway, let’s not dwell on the imminent divorce or the court case. Let’s instead look at the Qashai itself, or should we say the car that defined the SUV movement. There were other before the Qashqai (you pronounce it Kash-kai, by the way), but it was the Nissan than won on the showroom battle. We bought it in huge numbers and left the competition trying to catch up.
Hang about, is she getting in the boot? Is that how this works? We thought they were at least allowed to get into the car properly. They do on Grand Theft Auto. Weird.
The Qashqai rolled out of Nissan’s Sunderland plan in December 2006 and it didn’t take long before it earned the nickname ‘cash cow’ due to the sales figures. Plus, ‘cash cow’ is easier to spell than Qashqai. Quite why Nissan gave it that name is beyond us. It sounds foreign and exotic, two things the Qashqai isn’t. In fact, it’s more British than queuing and drinking scalding hot drinks in the height of summer.
We’ve already covered the fact it was built in Sunderland, but did you know it was designed by Nissan’s team in London (the first Nissan to be penned there entirely) and engineered in Cranfield, Bedfordshire? This is a car we Brits can be proud of. You’ll see it in the window of your deeply patriotic elderly neighbour next to picture of the Queen cut out from The Sun, soon. Maybe.
Now what’s she doing? Why is she holding her shoe like that? Does she not know how shoes work? Has the Qashqai owner asked her to act out some sort of weird ‘hold your shoe in an alley’ fetish? WHAT IS GOING ON?
Anyway. The car. Nissan were the ones to call it a crossover, and way back ’07 it was a term that initially left us bewildered. It looked like a four wheel-drive vehicle, but it was in fact front wheel-drive (in the main. All-wheel drive was available on some models). And it was also the car the masses wanted. They just didn’t know it at the time.
And why wouldn’t they want it? It was tall, it had real road presence, it was relatively handsome, it would happily swallow a family a five and their belongings and it was sure to get the attention of ladies loitering in alleyways. It was perfect.
And despite looking big and thirsty, it wasn’t. The Qashqai was, in essence, the replacement for the Almera, so Nissan couldn’t risk alienating people with a 4.0 engine or something daft. So it was given a sensible 1.6 litre petrol engine with 115bhp and 157Nm. There was also a 2.0 petrol with 138bhp and a satisfying 197Nm.
If you didn’t want those, there was a gaggle of diesel engines, too. A 1.5, a 1.6 and a 2.0. No point dwelling on those though, because they’re still above two grand. Plus, diesel is the devil incarnate according to the Daily Fail, so you shouldn’t buy one.
As for cogs, all models of the Qashqai were fitted with a six-speed manual (apart from the 1.6 petrol – five-speed for you). If you wanted to dispense of the clutch, there was a CVT (awful) and a six-speed auto (not as awful but still not great).
The other big selling point for the Qashqai was the fact it still drove like a car, not a tractor. Once people stopped being cautious of the size, they soon realised it was nothing short of a joy to live with on a daily basis. It was, for many, the perfect car. It had all the practicality you could ever wish for, but was still tight and engaging to drive. There was no sacrifice for the size.
And if you fell off the road and into a tree, you’d be fine. EuroNCAP gave it the full five stars. So crash away, you crazy fools.
The Qashqai was the car to start a revolution for better or for worse, and as such, it’s important. It’s not particularly exciting (especially inside – Nissan has never been good at interiors), but it is hard-wearing, cheap to run, immensely practical, reliable and now, cheap. It’s all things to all drivers. Including those who have to pay for the nudge nudge, wink wink, oh yeah, whoop whoop, f’twang, how’s your father.