The Nissan Qashqai is a comfy, easy-to-drive family SUV with space for four adults – but alternatives have more modern interiors and bigger boots
If you want an easy-to-drive family car that gives you a good view out over other cars and comfortable suspension that’ll lull the kids to sleep, then it’s worth considering the Nissan Qashqai.
The Qashqai was introduced in 2014 and updated in 2017 with a different front grille, steering wheel and plush leather seats in range-topping Tekna+ models. It also got softer plastics around the dashboard than before, which give it a bit of a posher feel, and you still get a comfy height-adjustable driver’s seat as standard.
Despite these interior improvements the Qashqai’s cabin isn’t cutting edge, and doesn’t have anywhere near as much style as the Peugeot 3008‘s cabin – the Nissan’s infotainment system in particular doesn’t look or feel terribly modern, although it’s easy to use and read.
The Nissan also lags slightly behind newer alternatives such as the Kia Sportage in terms of practicality. The Qashqai’s boot is a lot smaller than the Sportage’s, for example, although the Nissan can still carry a bike with both wheels attached once you fold the rear seats down.
Flip them back up and your rear seat passengers are pretty well catered for – three kids will fit in the back just fine, but if you want a bit more rear-seat width as your brood grows up then the Sportage will be a slightly better choice.
Qashqai might be difficult to spell, but everything else about it makes life easier – it’s easy to drive, cheap to run and very comfy
The Qashqai is better than the Sportage once you’re on the move – it’s quieter with less wind and road noise than the Kia, though a Tiguan is quieter still, and the clever suspension system on Acenta models keeps the Qashqai’s body level over bumps – helpful if your kids are prone to car sickness.
Don’t fret if the Qashqai’s going to be your first SUV – although it’s tall and gives a better view over cars than something like a Volkswagen Golf, it’s just as easy to drive. The steering’s light, and N-Connecta models get a fantastic 360-degree camera for a top-down view of the Qashqai that makes it easy to squeeze into parking spaces. You can even spec up a semi-autonomous driving assistant called ProPilot that takes the stress away from motorway journeys.
In fact, the only thing more straightforward than the Qashqai’s driving experience is its choice of engines. Go for the smooth and quiet 1.2-litre petrol if you do lots of town driving, where you can expect to get about 40mpg, or pick the more economical 1.5-litre diesel if you spend lots of time on the motorway – you’ll get about 55mpg. Only go for the automatic gearbox if you really need it – it’s noisy under acceleration and blunts performance.
In terms of safety, the Qashqai’s no slouch – it got a five-star Euro NCAP crash-test score in 2014, and you can add a fair bit of optional safety tech to improve things further. Regardless, the Qashqai is still a reasonably safe, practical family SUV – it’s just starting to show its age a bit.