The Qashqai smooths out bumps to make for a relaxed cruise on almost all road surfaces, and it has an efficient selection of engines – but four-wheel drive is only available with the top-of-the-range model
The best engine to pick if you’re planning to rack up the miles in your Qashqai is the 110hp 1.5-litre diesel. It’s smooth and quiet, but better still is its fuel economy of 74.3mpg and low CO2 emissions of 99g/km. Performance isn’t startling, but it can overtake slow-moving traffic on A-roads and cruises quietly on the motorway.
If you want to tow things with your Qashqai then go for the 130hp 1.6-litre diesel engine. It’s the only Qashqai available with four-wheel drive, and can pull 1,800kg compared to the 1,400kg the two-wheel drive model can manage. The downside is that it’s a bit noisier and costs more to run than the 1.5 thanks to fuel economy of 64.2mpg and 116g/km CO2 emissions.
Some cars have suspension that isn’t very good at multitasking, however the Qashqai delivers solid handling and impressive comfort. Win win!
If you do lots of short journeys or town driving then get a petrol Qashqai – specifically the 115hp 1.2-litre engine. It produces CO2 emissions of 129g/km, returns fuel economy of 50.4mpg and costs around £2,000 less than a similarly powerful diesel Qashqai.
Less appealing is the top-of-the-range 163hp 1.6-litre petrol, although if you want a brisk(ish) Qashqai, this is it – it gets from 0-62mph in 9.1 seconds. It’s still not exactly quick though, which makes its fuel economy of 48.7mpg hard to justify.
The smallest petrol and diesel engines are available with a CVT automatic gearbox, but it’s not terribly good – it feels like it dampens performance when you want to overtake and causes a sustained drone when you accelerate hard.
The Qashqai’s a very comfortable car, no matter whether you’re driving it around town or completing long trips on the motorway.
Despite being quite large, the Qashqai feels at home in town where the suspension is comfortable and the high-set driving position gives you a decent view out – if not quite the same view you get from a big SUV like a Land Rover. Pedestrians crossing the road are easier to spot, and you can see hold-ups in traffic (and avoid them) ahead of other drivers.
Out of town, the Qashqai’s suspension keeps doing a great job – it’s noticeably more comfortable over a variety of roads than the Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage, smoothing out bumps almost to limo-like standards. Combine that with its quiet cabin – you only really hear a little wind whistle at a cruise – and it makes for an excellent car to cover long distances in.
The Qashqai handles well, with a limited amount of body lean and plenty of grip in corners. It’s no sports car, but then you probably don’t expect it to be.
You’re more likely to be worried about how easy it is to park – which it is thanks to a decent view out of all sides. If you want to make it even easier then buy the Smart Vision Pack available on Visia and Acenta models. It not only adds all-round parking sensors but also auto-dipping headlights, automatic emergency braking, traffic sign recognition and a lane departure warning system – making the £495 cost look like cracking value. N-Connecta models get that pack as standard, plus an around-view camera, while top-of-the-range Tekna models can park themselves autonomously. The Qashqai also got a five-star crash-test rating from Euro NCAP back in 2014 too, so you can be confident it’s a safe car, even if testing has got tougher since then.