Building a Crossover vehicle is easy. Building one as good as this Nissan is a whole lot tougher. And it's a vehicle whose remit shifted ever so subtly in second generation form. The Qashqai couldn't fight tomorrow's battles looking quite so SUV. It needed to tone down, become sleeker and, yes, be a bit more like a conventional hatchback in look and feel. That's exactly what happened with this second generation version, a car from a brand that clearly knows its market. What didn't change in the transition from the MK1 model to this second generation design was that this, the original family Crossover model, remained the very best, a fine option for buyers not wanting to be saddled with run-of-the-mill hatches or people carriers: people not wanting the clunkiness and cost common even to smaller SUVs. Of course, by 2014, the Qashqai found itself with a much tougher set of rivals to deal with, but Nissan's product development did just enough to keep this model a step ahead of most of the chasing pack. True, this car could certainly still be a tad sharper to drive, but its handling was much improved over the previous version and the ride and refinement are genuinely impressive, aided no-doubt by the hi-tech CMF chassis. Disappointments then are few - maybe the high-ish price of 4WD and the lack of a 7-seater option this time around. But then those are issues you'll also find with most directly comparable rivals. Cars that, by and large, struggle to match up to this one. The Qashqai then, remains a benchmark. And a starting point for anyone buying in this segment.
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