Nissan Qashqai

Compact SUV is a great family car

8.9
wowscore
This is the average score given by leading car publications from 15 reviews
  • Excellent ride quality
  • Frugal engines
  • Good interior
  • Pricey top models
  • Poor rear visibility
  • Old model more fun
 

£18,545 - £29,390 Price range

 

5 Seats

 

47 - 74 MPG

Review

The original Nissan Qashqai started a revolution by combining the looks of an SUV with the price and running costs of a regular hatchback.

The latest incarnation has grown up significantly and sports a higher-quality cabin, more interior space and a handling balance that is geared more towards comfort. Rivals include the mechanically identical Renault Kadjar, the Volkswagen Tiguan and the Kia Sportage.

Although it looks like an SUV, the Qashqai is more of a practical hatchback with an elevated driving position that gives you a better view of the road ahead. It also drives like a conventional car – there is less body lean than you expect from a tall-riding SUV and the ride comfort is regarded as among the best in class. It doesn’t have the off-road ability of a Land Rover Discovery Sport, but it’s still available with four-wheel drive for extra grip on slippery roads.

The Renault Kadjar might be slightly better equipped, but even basic Qashqais come with a five-inch infotainment screen, a Bluetooth phone connection, air-con and cruise control.
For help picking the right shade for your new Qashqai have a look at our colours guide.

The Qashqai may not have the most spacious cabin in class, but the space it has it uses really well. Material quality is miles better than the old Qashqai, while the overall dashboard design is upmarket – with plenty of shiny black plastics and polished aluminium-look trim.

Few buyers will find the infotainment system in the Qashqai difficult to use. That’s because you can control most of the car’s systems via the buttons positioned around it. This does mean that the dashboard is little more cluttered than in a Kadjar, however.

Reviewers generally like the Qashqai’s cabin, but some criticism is levelled at the stereo fitted to the basic model with its sound quality described as ‘tinny’. An upgraded six-speaker stereo is standard on Acenta trim and above does wonders for fixing this flaw.

Nissan Qashqai passenger space

The Nissan’s raised roofline means it offers more space than a conventional hatchback such as the Ford Focus and because the transmission tunnel doesn’t intrude on foot room there’s space in the back for three people.

The broad range of driver’s seat and steering wheel adjustments mean people of all sizes can easily find a comfortable position. The small rear windows and overall black colour of the interior can make it seem a bit claustrophobic and dark in the back, but that can be resolved by specifying the £550 optional panoramic glass roof. The drawback of that is it reduced rear headroom slightly.

It’s worth noting that the old Qashqai+2 isn’t made any more, so if you want seven seats you’ll have to buy the slightly larger Nissan X-Trail instead.

Nissan Qashqai boot space

The Qashqai’s boot is bigger than the one you’ll find in a conventional hatchback, but it still has slightly less space than rivals. At 430 litres in capacity it’s not small by any means, but its sister car, the Renault Kadjar, packs a 472-litre capacity and the Kia Sportage is even more practical with a 491-litre load area. That said, the Qashqai is still very practical – it has no load lip and the rear seats fold flat to reveal a total load space of 1,585 litres. Another boon is the double-floored boot, which lets you hide items from prying eyes.

For a more in-depth look at how it fares size-wise, take a look at our Qashqai dimensions guide.

Anyone put off by the idea of driving an SUV should try the Qashqai. Testers are impressed with the car-like body control and the steering, which is light enough for effortless city maneuvers, but weighty enough to drive quickly at speed.

However, it’s the ride quality that really impresses. Few rivals can match the Nissan’s ability to soak up bumps. This is in part due to the Chassis Control system which uses electronics to adjust the handling and ride comfort. Testers report that even on 19-inch alloy wheels, the Qashqai is unfazed by road imperfections with none of the crashing and banging displayed by some of its rivals.

Most Qashqais are two-wheel drive with only the 1.6-litre diesel having the option of four-wheel drive. It doesn’t offer much in terms of off-road technology, but it does have torque vectoring – this system diverts power to the wheel that most needs it to help you take corners at speed. It’s worth considering if you’ll drive regularly on slippery roads .

Even though there’s little body roll, the Qashqai has lost some of the cornering flair of the old model and replaced it with a more mature driving experience. It will cover all the bases needed for most family buyers, but if you want a fun-to-drive SUV above all else the Mazda CX-5 is worth a look.

Overall, the Qashqai is a responsive, comfortable and refined vehicle, which covers all the bases for most families.

The Qashqai is one of Nissan’s best sellers and features the company’s latest engines. The 1.2-litre petrol is relatively new to the range and blends decent performance with low runnings costs.

Nissan Qashqai petrol engines

The cheapest engine in the range is a tiny 1.2-litre petrol. You’re unlikely to be caught speeding in it, but a 0-62mph time of 10.9 seconds and a combined fuel economy figure of 48.7mpg are impressive for a large SUV. Annual road tax sits at £110.

The other petrol engine in the range is a 1.6-litre unit with 163hp, which is enough for a brisk 0-62mph sprint in 8.9 seconds. That pace comes at a price though – 47mpg and £130 road tax, making it the most expensive Qashqai engine to run.

Nissan Qashqai diesel engines

At the other end of the scale is the super-frugal 1.5-litre diesel. It can return up to 70mpg, which is pretty impressive for a crossover. Road tax is also free thanks to the car’s low CO2 emissions of just 99g/km. The engine’s low-down pulling power makes it feel quicker than its 0-62mph time of 11.9 seconds suggests.

The 1.6-litre diesel is the only engine that offers a four-wheel drive option and can be equipped with a CVT automatic gearbox. CVTs tend to make the engine drone at speed, but testers are impressed by the hushed nature of the Nissan unit. Even with the auto, 62.8mpg is possible and 119g/km of CO2 emissions result in £30 road tax.

The new petrol option produces 113 hp and 140 lb-ft of torque - a broadly similar power figure to the previous Qashqai's 1.6 petrol but with more torque. It also delivers similar performance figures, but fuel consumption is improved by 10% to 50.4 mpg and the 129 g/km CO2 figure drops it by two VED bands to band D.

The 1.2 is a real hit with the critics. One reviewer describes it as "the sweet spot in the range" for urban drivers, where a diesel may not be as appropriate. While it's not a fast car, performance is suited to the car's use and refinement is "exceptional" - particularly at idle, where the engine is as good as inaudible. The 1.2 also cruises well on the motorway and it's "nippy enough" around town.

A re-engineered version of the previous generation's engine, the 1.5 still produces the same 108 hp as the old car but torque is up 15 lb-ft to 192 lb-ft. However the fuel economy improvements are remarkable, with CO2 emissions cut by 30% to 99 g/km - making it free to tax - with a combined fuel economy of 74.3 mpg. The 1.5 dCi adds £1,695 to the 1.2 petrol's price.

Reviews of the 1.5 dCi are starting to filter in and it's proving a popular engine already - offering the best mix of performance and economy of the available options and impressive standards of refinement.

Existing Qashqai owners will already be familiar with this engine, but it gets a few improvements in the new car. While power remains at 128 hp, mild improvements to emissions and economy are in evidence, with new benchmarks of 115 g/km CO2 and 64.2 mpg.

The 1.6 is also the only engine that can be equipped with either a four wheel drive system (for £1,700) or an automatic option in the form of Nissan's Xtronic CVT (for £1,350), but the options are mutually exclusive. The 1.6 dCi adds £1,305 to the 1.5 dCi's price.

There are only a handful of reviews of the 1.6 dCi so far, and while a talented, refined engine - with a smooth CVT gearbox making light work of the engine's torque - a few testers reckon the smaller 1.5 dCi is the pick of the range.

These are general, non engine-specific reviews of the new Nissan Qashqai. They give you a good idea of what the car is like without going into detail on one particular engine.

This is a car mostly bought by families and Nissan knows that safety will be high on their list of priorities. It comes as no surprise then that safety organisation Euro NCAP awarded the Qashqai the full five star score for safety with particularly high scores for child protection.

To give you security behind the wheel there is a range of safety systems fitted to the Qashqai. ABS, stability control and seat belt reminders are standard while emergency city braking, along with traffic sign recognition, lane departure warning and front and rear parking sensors are all part of the well-priced £495 Smart Vision pack. Specify it and you’ll also cut your insurance premium too.

There are four distinct trim lines available for the Qashqai and each packs a lot of equipment – even entry level models come with cruise control and air-conditioning.

Nissan Qashqai Visia

Basic Qashqais are well kitted out as standard – they get a multimedia system with a CD/MP3 player, a Bluetooth phone connection, electric parking brake, hill start assist to help with setting off on an incline, LED daytime lights and a stop/start system.

Nissan Qashqai Acenta

The Acenta trim packs arguably most of the equipment you’ll ever need in a family crossover. You get an upgraded stereo, leather-wrapped steering wheel, classy interior ambient lighting, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers and climate control with two separate temperature zones.

Nissan Qashqai N-Connecta

Our pick of the range is N-Connecta, though, because it adds loads of technology such as a seven-inch display for the sat-nav, keyless entry and the safety-enhancing Smart Vision Pack. Further extras include tinted windows for increased privacy and all-round parking cameras for a 360-degree view of your surroundings.

Nissan Qashqai Tekna

Top-of-the-range Tekna models have a heated windscreen and bright LED headlights, plus leather upholstery, panoramic sunroof and a self-parking system. Stylish 19-inch alloy wheels and silver roof rails mark it out from lesser models and it comes as standard with Nissan’s Safety Shield. It includes a blind-spot warning system, driver attention alert and a system which warns you if a car is approaching when you’re reversing out of a parking spot.

All Qashqais come with a three-year/60,000 mile warranty, which is bettered by the Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage which offer five- and seven-year cover respectively.

Conclusion

Spurred on by the success of the original Qashqai, Nissan listened to customer feedback and made this second iteration knowing they had a winner on their hands. It’s no surprise that the Qashqai is hugely popular in the UK.

All of these buyers were won over by the Qashqai’s huge range of qualities – it’s cheap to run, practical, easy to drive and packs lots of kit.

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