You really can’t go wrong with any of the top three cars in this weight class, this, the Nissan Qashqai, the Volkswagen Passat Estate and the Seat Leon X-Perience. It’s a sign of how close it is at the top that last year’s overall champion is third in class in 2015.
Everything we loved about the Qashqai last year still applies. Stability at speed is excellent. Only when caught by a gust of wind did we have to make slight steering corrections towing at the legal limit or beyond.
Considering the Qashqai gives away a little power compared with some of the cars in this class, it performed superbly in the hill-start test. The electronic parking brake held the car and caravan still on the 1-in-6 slope, and just a little clutch slip was needed to pull easily and confidently to the top of the hill.
The Qashqai is certainly slower than the VW Passat or Seat Leon X-Perience, but the 30-60mph time of 15.5 seconds is respectable enough. There’s certainly enough poke for comfortable towing, but the VW and Seat are better able to make the most of every overtaking opportunity.
In everyday driving, the Qashqai is a smooth and comfortable car. Perhaps the engine could be a little quieter, but otherwise the Nissan is refined at speed. The quality of the interior is a cut above most rivals’, too.
Compared with other crossovers, the Qashqai’s boot is a good size. However, it’s significantly smaller than either the Passat’s or the Leon’s. The Nissan fights back against these more practical rivals with excellent economy (64.2mpg on the combined cycle) and robust resale values.