What: The Nissan Qashqai 1.2-litre DIG-T
Looks: Nissan took a gamble in 2006 when it first launched the Qashqai, a pumped-up crossover. It was a successful gamble, and it made it to become one of the best crossovers around. Taking where it left off, the second-generation Qashqai is better built. Distinctive LED lights lend you sight, and with its raised ride height and sharp nose, it sure looks like it can take on anything at the ready. Well, almost.
Inside: For what it lacks in a moonroof that its bigger two-litre brother has, it makes up in several other ways. It’s sporty, a little rugged but retaining that comfortable Japanese feel that we are mostly familiar with. Graphite leather seats are pretty snug, and the dashboard is well laid out. Space is a luxury too, and so are its reverse camera and navigation system.
Performance: It’s front wheel drive, but that’s almost unnoticeable when it goes over potholes and gravelly ground without hiccup, thanks to an Active Chassis Control. Suspension is pretty comfortable too, something to appreciate given the number of humps on the road. Speed-wise, its DIG-T turbocharged engine is capable of 113 horsepower and a maximum 200Nm of torque (0 to 100kph in 13 seconds).
What: The new Ford Mondeo 2.0A GTDI
Looks: Ford has made considerable progress, given efforts for greater refinement and sharper form. The body is sleek with slitty headlights and a large chrome grill, while bold creases line the bonnet and sides.
Inside: What surrounds the uncluttered dashboard and eight inches of touchscreen is an incredible amount of room you will get. You could ferry a group of friends without getting kneaded in the back. The space inside is as generous as in the boot, for which you can easily stow away 525 litres worth of belongings especially if you do away with the spare wheel.
Performance: Get the very basic 1.5-litre turbo for a comfortable 160 horsepower. It works well for city commute, and if you do take it out to the outskirts of Malaysia, you’d be amazed at how quiet the cabin is and how gently it swallows bumps of sorts.