AMONG THE baby SUVs, Nissan Qashqai is the bruiser of the bunch. It’s a big thing, and that’s reflected in its class-leading score for space. Its price is above average, but for some buyers the extra wriggle room will be well worthwhile. Qashqai’s build quality is equal class-leading, and many will be surprised at the excellent fit and finish evident in the interior, especially given it’s a decent size for the category and yet still very competitively priced. Performance from the 2.0-litre petrol engine is not far off that of Mazda CX-3, and the CVT is one of the better renditions of this type of transmission, minimising flaring engine revs. This mechanical composure is reflected in the smoothness and quietness score, which has Qashqai lined up with the non-CVT Mazda CX-3. Handling is positive and predictable, and Qashqai’s ride is equal best in class, making it viable for longer trips. Safety isn’t left wanting in Qashqai, which comes with a reversing camera. The areas pegging Qashqai back are its pricing, depreciation and insurance scores and its lack of standard features, but these have hardly affected its popularity, as it’s Australia’s third-best-selling small SUV.