There’s sufficient space and practicality for families, and the boot has a tall, boxy shape. The rest of the interior feels like it will hold up to years of abuse and it’s easy to use – but it looks a bit dated
There’s no getting around the fact that the Qashqai’s interior is starting to look a little old now, thanks to lots of buttons all over the place that are tricky to operate on the move, and a steering wheel that looks like an elephant’s head. Add to this the blue-rinse effect of the speedometer’s backlighting and you’re left with an ambience that’s a few steps below the smarter Kia Sportage’s.
The Nissan’s infotainment system doesn’t do much to inject any modernism. Its graphics are dated and the screen is also mounted quite low, so it’s not where you’d naturally glance when approaching a junction, for example.
That said, the vast majority of the Qashqai’s interior is well built with squidgy, expensive-feeling plastics, but small areas let the side down – such as the brittle, shiny-silver plastics used for the steering-wheel-mounted buttons. At least all but the cheapest model get red ambient lighting, plus a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearknob. It’s fair to say that if you want a better-feeling interior – without paying too much more – then the VW Tiguan delivers it.
NASA helped Nissan design the Qashqai’s front seats to protect against back ache and aid comfort – unfortunately that's the only space-age thing about the interior
Avoid Visia and Acenta models because they don’t have any kind of central infotainment screen. There’s just a five-inch digital display nestled between the speedo and rev counter, and no DAB digital radio. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto aren’t available on any Qashqai, although you can still stream music over Bluetooth.
N-Connecta models and up come as standard with a seven-inch touchscreen navigation system, but the screen’s graphics are quite blocky and old fashioned. So it’s not great to look at, but the controls are actually very intuitive – typing a postcode into the sat-nav is easy and the ‘home’ buttons located on the side of the screen mean you don’t get lost in a sea of menus. You can also pinch and swipe commands. This makes the lack of voice recognition and gesture controls less of a handicap.
The Qashqai shows its age in the fact that there’s no way to upgrade the sat-nav or the option to spec a colourful, digital driver’s display – like in a Volkswagen Tiguan, for example. If you’re a music lover then beware! There’s no factory-fit option to upgrade the basic stereo to a big-name system such as the Dynaudio stereo in the Tiguan – leaving you with a stereo that sounds alright, but not earth-shattering.