's Great British Cars – Nissan Qashqai

Fri 22nd Feb 2019

Great Britain, great cars. The UK motor industry is respected the world over, and though many of the vehicles are actually owned by foreign manufacturers, there can be no doubting of the fantastic heritage of the British motor.

To celebrate Britain’s famous history is launching a series looking back on some of the most famous vehicles the UK has ever seen.

Nissan Qashqai
For a series which has featured some of the greatest classic car brands of the last 100 years, it might seem a little far-fetched to include a vehicle which many may perceive as a foreign imposter on a list made up of Aston Martin’s, Lotus’ and Rolls-Royce’s.

However, the Nissan Qashqai is a bona-fide British classic, despite being badged with a Japanese brand, the revolutionary crossover was designed, engineered and produced on British shores, with Sunderland’s famous plant taking the plaudits.

And we aren’t just talking about this vehicle as a credit for the work of Sunderland, this was a global success, inspiring hundreds of imitators around the world. The Qashqai was the fastest car to pass 1,000,000 production models, reaching the landmark after just four years. It has subsequently gone on to reach almost three million in sales and is still going strong.

So how did this success story begin? At the start of the millennium, the Japanese company needed to replace the Almera which hadn’t done as well as expected on the forecourts. So they passed the project to the Nissan Design Europe team in London, with great foresight they predicted the boom in crossover vehicles and unveiled a first concept vehicle at the Geneva Motor Show in 2004. Two years later a production ready version was showcased at the Paris Motor Show and by the end of 2007 Nissan had already sold more than 100,000 Qashqais across Europe.

The Qashqai was pitched as a the car for those who wanted a bigger vehicle, but without the aggressive undertones of the traditional SUV - and with its famous curves and shapes, the Qashqai certainly made waves.

And the name? We’re told that it in Iranian translation for a ‘Horse with a white forehead’, which makes no sense at all. It’s a memorable name nonetheless and one which many motor journalists refer to as ‘Cash-Cow’, it has certainly lived up to that standard.

Years of manufacture: 2007-present
Price when new: £13,499
Price now: £2,895-£25,475
Engine: 1,598cc 4cyl petrol, 117bhp
Top speed: 109mph