Behind the wheel: Nissan Qashqai review

More than ten years since it launched, is this hatchback still a trailblazer?


Nissan’s Qashqai is a bit of a trailblazer. When it first launched back in 2007, it spawned a whole new segment – the crossover.

In fact the three millionth Qashqai has recently rolled off the production line, and in 2017 69,903 were sold in the UK alone.

Now in its second generation, the pioneering crossover continues to be Nissan’s biggest seller. Keenly priced from £19,295 to £32,530, it’s available in either two- or four-wheel drive.

Being a family orientated car it naturally scores 5 stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests, giving a child occupant safety rating of 83%.

Its crossover rivals include the Renault Kadjar, Mazda CX-5, Ford Kuga, SEAT Ateca and the Peugeot 3008.

First impressions


Nissan released the second gen Qashqai back in 2014, but last year they gave it a slight facelift adding new lights, a larger grille, aerodynamically optimised alloys and a more aggressive front bumper

Its chunky looks are far more masculine, but the inside also had a makeover. A fresh new steering wheel is the most notable change, along with higher quality plastics and switches throughout. Clear white on black dials shoulder a neat LCD screen which shows the driver various bits of vehicle info.

Inside is spacious, with a good amount of room between the front occupants, whilst at the back head height is reasonably good thanks to a low seating position. Making the Qashqai easily comfy enough for four adults on a long journey.

In terms of storage there’s 430 litres of boot space in most of the trims, Tekna and Tekna+ get 401 litres due to the addition of a subwoofer. The back seats also fold 60:40 to increase the load space to 1,585 litres.

Engine choice


There are four engine choices to be had with the Qashqai, the smallest being a 115hp 1.2 litre turbocharged petrol, followed by the bigger 1.6 litre making 164hp. There are two diesels, a 1.5 litre dCI 110 with 110 hp, and a slightly larger 130 hp 1.6 litre. A six-speed manual gearbox comes as standard, with the Xtronic automatic only available with the 115 hp petrol or the 130 hp diesel.

In terms of performance the 1.6 DIG-T petrol with 163 hp will get you from 0 to 62 MPH in just 8.9 seconds, the slowest is the 1.2 petrol fitted with the auto gearbox, taking a woeful 12.9 seconds.

All of the engines claim upwards of 48 mpg, the most economical being the 1.5 litre diesel with an amazing 74.3 mpg.

The biggest seller is the 1.2 litre, which far surpasses the performance of the old non-turbo 1.6 litre petrol. It’s more than enough power for most buyers along with being economical returning 50.4 mpg, expect to see high 40’s in the real world.

Trim options


There are five trim levels to choose from, starting at the entry level Visia, moving on to Acenta, N-Connecta, Tekna, and the new range topping Tekna+.

Most buyers plump for the middle ranging N-Connecta, as it gives you sat-nav, the around view 360 degree cameras and the full suite of driver assistance systems, which include; intelligent Traffic Sign Recognition, High Beam Assist, Intelligent Emergency Braking, Front & Rear Parking Sensors, Intelligent Rear View Mirror, Lane Departure Warning.

How does the Nissan Qashqai drive?


For 2017 Nissan further tweaked the Qashqai’s driving abilities, adding features to smooth out bumps, brake wheels when cornering, revising the suspension and altering the steering.

It’s paid off; the Qashqai feels very smooth over every day driving conditions, being the perfect family cruiser.

The Qashqai’s light controls and high seating position mean it’s a doddle around town. Parking can be tricky without the rear view camera, and only the Tekna gets park assist to steer you into parking spaces.

As great as the Qashqai is, it’s not the most entertaining drive. If you’re after something more engaging, you may be better off looking at the Peugeot 3008 or SEAT Ateca.

Nissan Qashqai: the verdict


Nissan were once the king of the crossover segment, but there are newer, fresher, more agile offerings on the market.

Saying that, it’s still well equipped across the range with a healthy choice of engines and it’s a comfy ride. If you’re in the market for a crossover, it’s the go-to option.

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