New Car Awards 2014: best crossover

The Nissan Qashqai is the 2014 Auto Express Crossover of the Year, with the Citroen C4 Cactus and Mazda CX-5 commended

It was the Nissan Qashqai that started the crossover revolution in 2006, but this is the first time it’s scooped a prestigious Auto Express New Car Awards trophy.

With its rugged looks, practical cabin and low running costs, the British-built Nissan has always been a bold alternative to run-of-the-mill family hatches. Yet it’s the all-new second-generation model’s excellent refinement, quality and comfort that elevates it to the top of the class.

Best Crossovers 

Not that it’s forgotten its roots as a versatile family car, because the plushly appointed and robustly built cabin is roomier than ever, and packed with plenty of thoughtful touches. There’s lots of handy storage, while the generously proportioned 430-litre boot has a clever load divider that provides 16 different load-carrying combinations.

Nissan Qashqai Tekna 2014 interior

And like the rest of the Nissan line-up, the Qasqhai benefits from the firm’s Safety Shield tech. That means buyers can get all sorts of confidence-inspiring extras, including blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition and even an all LED headlamp set-up.

However, it’s the Qashqai’s grown-up driving dynamics that seal its place at the top of the crossover tree. Nissan has worked hard to boost refinement, meaning the newcomer rivals cars from the class above for hushed refinement. Better still, it rides well, too, soaking up bumps and potholes that would send a shudder through some low-riding hatches. Happily, this comfort doesn’t come at the expense of entertainment behind the wheel, because the Qashqai always feels composed and agile.

The icing on the cake is a line-up of punchy and frugal engines, plus the option of four-wheel drive, too.

Our choice: 

Qashqai 1.5 dCi Acenta Premium (£23,180)

The Qashqai's Acenta Premium trim brings plenty of kit, including valuable Safety Shield tech. The smooth 1.5-litre dCi stands out with eager performance and tax-busting 99g/km CO2 figure.

Commended crossovers

Citroen C4 Cactus

Citroen C4 Cactus

With its bold looks, innovative interior and great-value prices, the lightweight Citroen C4 Cactus has turned the compact crossover sector on its head. Few cars at any price attract as much attention, while the relaxed driving experience takes the stress out of any journey. Better still, it’s as cheap to run as it is to buy.

Mazda CX-5

Mazda CX-5 front tracking

Last year’s winner is still a top choice thanks to efficient and punchy SkyActiv engines, sharp handling and a roomy cabin. Just as crucially, the Mazda CX-5 looks smart, while build quality is more than a match for premium rivals. Plus a strong showing in our annual Driver Power surveys proves it’s good to own, too.

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