It wasn’t that long ago that Nissan made cars of monumental dullness. Remember their slogan about the dire Almera “The car they don’t want you to drive”? In that case “they” were absolutely right and we should have roundly thanked them for their altruistic concern. I’m afraid I have little affection for Japanese cars, Nissans in particular. From my youth I remember hideous Datsuns and utterly bland Bluebirds that made me marvel at the comparative beauty of the far less reliable products of British Leyland and Ford. And whilst I had (and still have) a great deal of respect for Honda, (gorgeous new NSX anyone?), Nissan never really appealed.

Stylish new Qashquai

Stylish new Qashquai

But look at Nissan now. Their ultra productive Sunderland factory produces 500,000 cars a year – more than all the car plants in Italy put together. And it’s not just putting together cars designed in Japan. It’s best selling (over 2 million sold in 6 years) Qashquai is a stylish and well packaged compact SUV crossover designed and engineered in Britain. It’s more British than a contemporary Roller. In the past buying British always had connotations of compromise – bravely buying a wheezing leaky Maestro to keep Brummies in jobs. Now you can buy an economic British car and know that not only will it keep Geordies in Newcastle Brown Ale, but it will be practical, give you driving pleasure and get you envious looks from your neighbours.

Nissan have now produced an entirely new Qashquai and it looks great. The interior alone is significantly improved and would not feel out of place in a Land Rover.

Up market interior

Up market interior

So well done Nissan. I take it all back. The Qashquai is a wonder. You are doing great. Thanks for being here. (But Ps but the Juke is still hideous).

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