So there I was at Wetherby Race Course, stood looking around at all the different motor manufacturers in one room, when the Nissan table came into view. I gazed at their table for a moment or two, then looked around at other manufacturers whose cars I could take out for a spin.
I then looked back towards Nissan and pondered briefly on why the manufacturer, who makes the mighty Patrol, X-Trail and Navara, is not only not a recurrent visitor on The Mud Life, but why I’ve never actually reviewed a Nissan before? Devoid of any explanations, over I wandered, introduced myself and was handed the key for their Qashqai, and off we went, the Muddy Madam and I, for a spin.
What do I know about the Qashqai?
Well, I know that for the last decade or so it’s been a tremendous success for Nissan, with well over 2 million of them finding homes across Europe. The only problem with being at the top of the list is that other manufacturers see what the benchmark is, and strive to beat it. Consequently Nissan have had to keep on their toes.
For 2017 Nissan have given the Qashqai a facelift that they’re hoping will fight off the likes of the SEAT Ateca and Peugeot 3008. Of course in the flagship Tekna+ there's more to it than just that; the Qashqai comes loaded up with premium car niceties such as 3D-effect quilted leather, electric heated seats and an eight-speaker Bose sound system. There are adaptive LED lights, a panoramic glass roof and of course Nissan’s 360-degree parking camera. On the subject of safety kit, there's rear-cross traffic alert and pedestrian detection for the autonomous braking system.
What about driving the car?
As I’ve mentioned previously, a Flash drive is when I get to drive a car for around 20 minutes, and during my short jaunt in the Qashqai I loved the smooth gear change, it was quiet on all surfaces and composed whilst being flung around corners.
Although we didn’t get to try it out, the Qashqai comes with an intelligent 4x4 system, or as Nissan call it 4x4-i. The driver is able to choose between full-time 2WD for maximum efficiency or Auto Mode, which constantly monitors conditions and adjusts the balance of power between the front and rear.
All too soon our jaunt was over, and as I walked away I was left with the impression that the Qashqai deserved its class leading reputation, but does it still hold the crown?
I'm not sure, a 20 minute drive is never enough...