The Nissan Qashqai is a top-five best-seller here in the UK. Its Nissan X-Trail seven-seat sibling isn't quite as popular, though. Maybe the recent facelift will cure that. But we like to think the launch of a unexpected hot Nismo version could also give the range a shot of 'daddy cool' kudos.
Would you believe, Nissan's launched exactly such a model in Japan? Don't get too excited, though. It's currently only for Japan. What's more, despite looking fantastic, it's frustratingly a visual-only kit, meaning Nissan will still not be offering a leftfield high-performance SUV for family buyers who aren't quite ready to yet admit their high performance days are behind them.
The Japan-spec X-Trail Nismo Performance Package receives a deeper front bumper with integrated splitter, chrome exhausts, special split-rim two-tone alloys and fancy chrome doorhandles. Neat or what? Then you step inside and the changes draw to a sudden halt: no fancy bright red Alcantara sports seats, no GT-R-style configurable meter kit.
It's a similar story for engines. These follow the same line as the current model - 130hp 1.6-litre dCi with, 177hp 1.6-litre dCi and a 163hp 1.6-litre petrol. Choose from front or all-wheel drive, manual or auto.
Luckily, although changes are mild here, it sounds like Nissan is planning more extensive Nismo-branded upgrades for future models. Indeed, the division wants to extend beyond simply performance cars like the wild GT-R. As the all-new UK-built Nissan Qashqai is due in a few years' time, what price a hot version of that? We reckon a Nissan Qashqai Nismo sounds rather appealing... how about you?