ENGLAND car flags. Yes or no?
Personally, I’d rather spend the money on a beer with the boys than put a fiver in Mike Ashley’s deep pockets.
But if ever there was a car that deserves to wear the St George’s Cross, it’s the Nissan Qashqai.
Designed in London, engineered in the Midlands, built in Sunderland.
Japanese money, of course, but as English as a button-back sofa.
OK, you could say much the same for Mini. But in pure numbers alone, Qashqai is king. The go-to family SUV.
It’s also the yardstick rival crossovers are measured against, so every new version needs to hit the back of the net like . . . er . . . Harry Kane. (Don’t worry, Harry, you’ll bag one in the next game, son.)
We’ve already shown you pictures of the fourth-gen Qashqai, but now that I’ve finally driven one I’m pleased to report it’s every bit as good as Nissan promised.
Let’s start inside. Nice. Classy. Higher- quality, soft-touch materials everywhere, more space in all directions, plus all the tech and gadgets you’d expect in a Merc.
There’s an old saying, “You can’t miss what you’ve never had” and that’s mostly true.
But Qashqai owners switching from old to new will have no idea how they’ve managed for years without seats that warm and rub your back.
The heated steering wheel is also a Qashqai first, as is a head-up display which projects speed and turn-by-turn navigation on to the windscreen.
Intelligent cruise control reads speed signs and slows the car automatically to save your licence.
This next bit will really please parents: The rear doors open wider, to 85 degrees, making it easier to sort the kiddlywinks.
There’s also WiFi for up to seven devices, and boot space for all the usual family debris has grown 50 litres to 504 litres.
It looks smart too. I reckon Qashqai’s clean and fuss-free design will age better than the Tucson and Sportage.
Next up, driving impressions.
This car isn’t about its 0-62 time, it’s about transporting your family as safely and comfortably as possible — but it’s no slouch either.
You can feel the lightness and strength of the new chassis and that improves handling as much as fuel economy.
My testing in the 1.3-litre mild hybrid returned 40mpg over 200 miles. The official figure is 43mpg. Fair play. The engine is smooth and quiet.
As for negatives, visibility through the rear windscreen isn’t great. Not as bad as an Evoque but you’ll find yourself relying on the reversing camera and top-view camera.
Also the key. Nissan has spent squillions giving its hero car a major upgrade but still dishes out Poundland key fobs. I mean, seriously. That needs sorting.
NISSAN has moved the game on massively. Qashqai is posh, practical, hybrid, hi-tech and still sensibly priced from £23k.
Or you could say: Great at the back, brilliant up top, decent all over the park.
Come on, England.
PS: We love you too Wales, and genuinely sorry for your loss Scotland.
KEY FACTS: NISSAN QASHQAI TEKNA+
Engine: 1.3-litre petrol mild hybrid
Power: 158hp, 260Nm
0-62mph: 9.5 secs
Top speed: 128mph