A crossover to remember: the Nissan Qashqai+2
The Nissan Qashqai+2 is a fun, little mini-SUV that is designed as a city-slicker. It leaves the off-road, mucky stuff to its older brother, the Murano. The Qashqai+2 is an elongated Qashqai, and has jumped on the seven-seater bandwagon.
When car manufacturers started adding a few extra seats to cars to hold seven people, it made the whole industry stand up and take notice. No longer do you need a mini-bus to carry your family and a few friends when an SUV can do it nicely.
There are two engine choices for the Qashqaui+2; a 1.5 litre diesel and a 2.0 litre petrol engine. Unfortunately, the petrol engine does not deliver enough power or torque and can feel lifeless, especially with six passengers. It is keen to rev, but gutless all the same. The 1.5 is slow but it has more zest about it, as long as you keep the revs above 1,500rpm. A 1.6 petrol and a 2.0 litre turbo diesel engine, which are penned to be available, should see more oomph where it's needed most.
The regular Qashqai offers a keen turn in and ample performance, but the quasqai +2, with its longer wheelbase and weak engines, seems to be a little lifeless. The chassis is good and it is composed through corners, but it lacks that 'peppiness' that the five-seat Qashqai has.
In terms of practicality, the Qashqai+2 is perfect for carrying four adults and three children. The rearmost seats are tiny and adults would be hard pushed to not need a chiropractor after a trip in them. Although the headroom has been raised and the middle seats slide forward, there is simply not enough space for anyone taller than a child.
The boot space is more than ample with the rear seats folded out of the way, adding a further 55 litres to the total capacity of 915 litres. This is how the Qashqai should be seen; a car that has the option to take seven people, but it would prefer not to.
The optional four-wheel drive system needs to be mulled over when ticking the options box. Do you really need all four wheels to sap the energy created by the slightly tame engines? Are you actually going to take it off road? The extra cost, weight and power-sapping ability of the four-by-four system is only needed if you live out in the sticks and you need the extra traction. The Qashqai's chassis is far from poor and can handle similarly to a regular car in normal circumstances.
The Qashqai+2 also has the largest panoramic glass roof of any car on sale. This adds more light to the slightly dark cabin, especially with the extra seats in place. With fold-down seats that have cup holders in them and sliding chairs that add more boot space, and still keeping that modern-look of the regular Qashqai, the +2 is certainly worth a look.
At only £17,199 for the 2.0 litre engine model, it's very competitive, and although the Ford S-Max does trump the little Nissan in many ways, it lacks that flair that Nissan has being instilling in its cars over the past decade.