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Thursday, 23 July 2015

Forget the silly name - the Nissan Qashqai is a deserving cash cow

THE Nissan Qashqai is a bit like the geeky kid everyone seems to have gone to school with. Studious and destined to go on to greater things, but entirely fair game for the playground bullies because some cruel parents have given it a stupid name.

I’ve just spent a couple of days in the company of the latest 1.5 DCI model and almost felt compelled to leap to its defence because people couldn’t resist calling it names. Sticks and stones – apt, given its off-roader pretensions – may break its parts but words will never hurt it.

“Ahhh, so you’ve got a Nissan Squashed Quiche! Any good?” a mate of mine immediately asked when he found I’d got the nation’s fifth best-selling new car as a temporary companion.

I replied by telling him that yes, I can understand entirely why so many of you are buying them. It’s roomy, easy to manoeuvre for something of its off-roader stature, and it’s well equipped. In fact, easily my favourite thing about the latest model is the optional Blind Spot Warning system, which flickers a tiny little orange lightbulb next to your door mirror every time an errant Transit thunders past. It’s got the potential to save your life on a congested motorway, but it doesn’t beep intrusively every ten seconds. Just that little orange flicker to remind you. Why can’t all cars have one?

Another pal wasn’t surprised when I told him. “They’re great, those Cash Cows. Loads of people I know have got ‘em”.

Agreed. Not only is usefully more practical than Nissan’s family hatch for the same sort of money, the Pulsar, it’s got a chunky, rugged look to it the more conventional Golf rival doesn’t. Like the first generation Cash ‘n’ Carry – sorry, Qashqai – it’s also built in Britain so you can justifiably buy one as a patriotic purchase, and unlike the first generation model it doesn’t suffer from having slightly cheap-feeling plastics throughout its interior.

It was my dad, however, who posed the big question. “It looks like a good car, the Mushy Peas,” he said. “But would you buy one?”

Personally, I wouldn’t – but that’s because the Skoda Yeti I tried a few weeks ago could endure trickier terrain and carry bigger bookcases than the Crash Bandicoot can, and I know the Nissan makes up for it with better looks and a nicer drive.

The great thing with this bit of the market is that everyone makes a small, off-roader-esque car these days – but the Nissan’s one of the best because it’s such a good all-rounder. That’s why it’s such a big seller – and why it really is a Cash Cow.

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