A good alternative to the standard compact SUV

What is it?

As the name suggests, this is the seven-seat version of Nissan’s softroader/hatchback crossover. The ‘+2’ is a stretched version of the Qashqai, its wheelbase extended by 135mm and with a further 76mm put into the rear overhang, making room for a third row of seats.

Don’t anticipate Galaxy-rivalling levels of space: the rearmost seats are for occasional use, designed to take a child or teenager no more than 1.6 metres tall.

The roofline has also been raised slightly, boosting headroom for those relegated to the back. Other clever features are a sliding middle row of seats and an under-floor boot compartment wide enough to store the luggage cover.

What’s it like?

A fine, practical family car. The clever packaging and interior flexibility make the +2 a good part-time seven-seater, while the longer wheelbase means that middle row occupants also enjoy more space.

The stretched chassis also gives better ride quality than the five-seat Qashqai and noise suppression is good, although over pock-marked roads the +2 gets a little harsh.

Performance from the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel is decent but unexceptional, with plenty of mid-range torque but a loud soundtrack towards the top of the rev range. A useful feature is the fuel injection metering at low engine speeds, which makes for smooth progress on and off the throttle.

Behind inert-feeling steering the Qashqai +2 puts in a decent dynamic performance, which should be more than a match for the expectations of anyone tempted to buy it. The four-wheel drive system provides some reassurance on muddy tracks, but buyers will also be able to opt for a more economical front-drive version.

Should I buy one?

The +2 is an alternative to the massed ranks of compact seven-seat MPVs. It combines rugged styling with solid construction, a good quality cabin and plenty of kit – a full-length glass ‘moon’ roof is standard across the range.

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