The Nissan Qashqai is a family car that’s extremely comfortable and cheap to run. You get a good view out and it’s roomy enough for four adults – it’s just a shame the interior looks a bit dull
If you’re after a comfortable family car with a raised driving position, efficient engines and reasonable practicality then the Nissan Qashqai deserves a spot on your shopping list. The fact you sit high up in the Qashqai doesn’t just give a feeling of security, it also makes the car easier to get in and out of, and means you don’t have to stoop to fit a child seat.
That added height also means you don’t have to bend over when filling the boot, which has a nice boxy shape so it’s not a pain to load up with heavy flat-pack furniture. There are a number of nice features in there, too, such as a removable floor with a wipe-clean side – ideal if your dog loves swimming. There’s no shortage of storage areas hidden around the interior, although the small door bins are a bit of a pain if you usually carry big drinks bottles.
The only major downside to the Qashqai’s interior is the way it looks. You see, it’s neither as pleasant nor as modern as the Hyundai Tucson or Kia Sportage, and the Nissan’s touchscreen infotainment is slow to load and looks more Sinclair Spectrum than Playstation 4. Annoying, because it’s actually very intuitive to use.
The Qashqai has a clever system that helps keep the car level when you go over speed bumps – you don't get that in most limos!
The rest of the Qashqai’s equipment is a little more high-tech. Mid-range models and above get a 360-degree camera which gives you a bird’s-eye view of the car for manoeuvring and warns of people or vehicles in your blind spots – it’s a cool feature that’ll leave you wondering how you ever coped without it. In a family car like this, it’s also nice that automatic emergency braking is available across the range to help avoid low-speed crashes – and the Qashqai’s safety is backed up by a five-star crash-test rating from Euro NCAP, who tested it in 2014.
You’ll find the Qashqai is a brilliant motorway cruiser – its suspension soaks up bumps better than the Kia Sportage, and the interior is quiet apart from a little wind whistle at high speeds. The high driving position means you get a good view out over other cars, but it doesn’t impact the way the car drives in corners – there’s no excessive body lean so you won’t make your passengers feel sick.
The Qashqai doesn’t get as many four-wheel-drive models as a Volkswagen Tiguan, but the basics are there – the 1.5-litre diesel is extremely good on fuel, making it the obvious choice if you cover lots of miles. The 1.2-litre petrol’s spritely performance and low price make it the better choice if the car is used mostly for short journeys. This back-to-basics approach means the Qashqai copes with day-to-day driving without any fuss or drama while still remaining a comfortable and practical car – and, for that reason, it’s definitely worth a place on your family SUV shortlist.
Watch our video group test to see how the Nissan Qashqai compares to the Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson, and for more detailed and in-depth analysis of the Nissan Qashqai, read our following interior, driving and specifications review sections.