Nissan Qashqai (2014-2017) review
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
What's not so good
Nissan Qashqai (2014-2017): what would you like to read next?
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.
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
Some cars have suspension that isn’t very good at multitasking, however the Qashqai delivers solid handling and impressive comfort. Win win!
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.
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.
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