The Japanese firm could have scrapped it, revealed a new generation model or launched something of a similar size that was radically different. It was the latter option that was chosen, and the firm hasn’t looked back since developing its hugely popular crossover.
Nearly 3.5 million examples have since been produced, and it’s by far Nissan’s best-selling car in the UK.
Here’s just a few reasons why the Qashqai continues to be so successful.
It was the original crossover
The Qashqai might not look a car that was particularly revolutionary, but quite a lot of the success and growth of the crossover market can be attributed to this car.
Nissan invented the crossover segment as we know it today, and with the first-generation model being a roaring success, many customers who bought into the crossover world have continued to do so by buying the second-generation car, which remains on sale today.
While the vast majority of manufacturers now have models competing in this class, the Qashqai continues to have sway with car buyers in this segment.
While British buyers are not fussed about buying UK-built goods as they once were, the fact that the Qashqai is built in the UK, and always has been, attracts plenty of customers to the brand.
The Qashqai is manufactured in Sunderland alongside the smaller Juke crossover and all-electric Leaf, but it’s the Qashqai that accounts for the vast majority of production. The 10,000,000th Nissan to be built at the plant rolled off the production line in June 2019, with the special model being a Qashqai – important given 3.4 million examples built there have been the crossover.
The numbers stack up financially
While the Qashqai might be a bit larger than a traditional hatchback, it’s not any more expensive.
Prices start from £19,995 for the Qashqai, and this model makes the most sense at the cheaper end of the spectrum.
Even at that low price, though, standard equipment includes air-conditioning, cruise control, DAB radio and Bluetooth.
But there is also a number of very efficient diesel engines offered – notably the 1.5-litre diesel unit. Nissan claims this can return 53.3mpg, with CO2 emissions of 100g/km. However, on longer runs it’s easy to achieve much better than those figures suggest.
Impressive safety kit
All but the entry-level Visia grade Qashqais come laden with standard safety equipment – making the Qashqai a superb family crossover.
With the Acenta Premium, kit includes autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, high-beam assist and traffic sign recognition.
Up next is the N-Connecta, which brings an around-view monitor, as well as blind spot monitoring, a driver alertness monitor and rear cross traffic alert, which assists when reversing out of parking spaces.
And at the top of the range is the Tekna, which adds the recently-introduced ProPilot semi-autonomous driver pack that incorporates adaptive cruise control and a host of aforementioned safety features to make driving seamless on motorways and keep you within the white lines.
All these features help the Qashqai to be one of the safest cars in its class.