- Striking design with a modern interior
- Practical, spacious and comfortable to drive
- Well-equipped and plenty of trim levels to choose from
- The cost has crept up especially for the top models
- Diesel versions have been ditched
- Competition is strong in the compact SUV sector these days
When Nissan introduced its very first Qashqai with elevated seating and rugged styling, it proved to be quite a gamechanger for the industry and these days everyone from Jaguar to Porsche now has an SUV or crossover in their line-up.
The public fell in love with the compact SUV’s practicality as well as its comfort, running costs and on-board technology. And the Qashqai has gone on to sell more than three million units in Europe.
Now Nissan has upped the ante once more with sharper styling, an upgraded modern interior, lots of high-end kit and efficient powertrains to meet the demands of cleaner, greener motoring.
The Qashqai is available in Visia, Acenta Premium, N-Connecta, Premiere Edition, Tekna and Tekna+ trim levels.
On The Road
With a future of electrification in mind, new Qashqai is on sale with a 1.3-litre DiG-T petrol engine with 48-volt mild hybrid technology added to the mix. It is available with outputs of 138hp or 156hp and with the option of two or four-wheel drive.
Although this engine was first introduced to Qashqai back in 2018, there are more than 50 new components to improve its efficiency and make it fully Euro6-d compliant.
There will be further engine news to follow as Nissan is introducing its E-Power to the Qashqai next year which will mean the combination of a 1.5-litre petrol engine and an upgraded battery unit. The unique appeal of this system will be the petrol engine will be used solely to generate electricity whilst the wheels are completely driven by the electric motor.
We tested the range-topping 1.3 DIG-T 158PS Tekna+ version with 270Nm of torque matched to an Xtronic automatic gearbox with 2WD. This car could complete the 0-62mph dash in 9.2 seconds and maxed out at 124mph.
And although those performance stats will not leave you breathless with anticipation, it’s the manner in which the new Qashqai performs that really does impress.
It boasts sharp responses, smooth acceleration through the gearbox with paddles for added fun. There is a constant stream of power on tap at all times and the car can cruise with ease at 70mph on motorways.
Drive modes called Eco, Standard and Sport alter the vehicle’s responses and the steering assist with cruise control is the perfect driver aid on motorways.
While there are far more dynamic competitors out there with sharper reactions and more exhilarating handling, the Qashqai has always been an excellent all-rounder delivering a combination of comfort, style, practicality and nicely-behaved driving characteristics.
The latest model does all the above and more. Riding on 20-inch wheels, the efficient upgraded multi-link suspension system does an excellent job of smoothing out the uneven road surfaces and the car is well insulated meaning occupants are protected from engine, road surface and wind noise.
Nissan has also upgraded the steering with improved response for better driver feedback. This is most noticeable when fizzing through the B roads.
If driven with a heavy right foot, the Qashqai does get a little rev-happy, but that aside, it copes with everything any active family can throw its way from school runs, weekends away and long motorway journeys.
The clever ProPILOT driver assistance technology helps maintain the car’s lane position and distance from the vehicle in front, which helps make motorway and heavy traffic driving less stressful. The system assists with steering, acceleration and braking.
In addition, the Qashqai can be selected with AWD for added grip on slippery surfaces.
The latest third-gen Qashqai boasts a fresh new look with more prominent shoulder lines, an extended wheelbase and imposing 20-inch alloys introduced on certain models for the first time.
The front end sports a large Nissan V-motion grille which is finished in chrome and this is flanked by slim full LED advanced matrix headlights with boomerang signature daytime running lights.
From the side, the Qashqai looks more athletic and there is also more customer choice with 11 body colours with five two-tone combinations to create 16 variations to choose from.
Our Tekna+ car looked the business with Ceramic Grey Pearlescent paint with a two-tone grey and black roof. It featured privacy glass, a powered tailgate and smart 20-inch alloy wheels.
The interior has also moved up a notch with fine leather quilted seats that are power-operated, ambient lighting, a black headliner, lots of soft-touch surfaces, dark blue interior trims, plus a wealth of technology to get stuck into.
There is a neat touchscreen information system and the new-look driver tft screen, which is fully configurable, boasts a traditional cut glass texture which is a nod to Nissan’s Japanese DNA.
Nissan has paid particular attention to the interior quality so owners of the new model can enjoy a high level of refinement in a premium-styled cabin.
In The Car
Behind the Wheel
With powered seats and plenty of adjustment to the steering wheel, finding a comfortable driving position inside the new Qashqai takes just seconds. Then there are memory settings to store that information, just in case someone comes along and alters it all.
As has been the way through the generations of Qashqai, the elevated driving position results in excellent all-round driver visibility and all dials, controls and readouts are ideally posited for driver-useability.
There is an upgraded advanced infotainment system with a number of connected services including effortless integration of smartphones via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, in-car wi-fi for up to seven devices and a Bose surround sound system with 10 speakers.
There is a nine-inch touchscreen from which it is easy to access the navigation system, entertainment set-up and vehicle settings and a new-look 12.3-inch tft display behind the steering wheel offers all the vital readouts.
Our high-end Tekna+ model also boasted a head-up display offering the likes of speed details along with navigation instructions.
A separate control panel for all the climate functions is always good news as it is less distracting than having to search through a touchscreen menu to simply lower the temperature.
Space & Practicality
The compact SUV sector was created to offer practical solutions to family motoring and with the Nissan Qashqai being the pioneer of the sector, you would expect the car to tick all the right boxes and it does just that.
Although there is no longer a seven-seat option, the latest car is very spacious with ample room in the back for a couple of passengers to sit comfortably. Leg space is good unless the front seats are pushed well back and there is room for a third passenger if they don’t mind rubbing shoulders.
The new model boasts a wheelbase that has increased by 20mm with the overall length up by 35mm. A marginal increase in height and width also contribute to extra cabin space for occupants.
Our test car featured a panoramic sunroof that stretched the length of the cabin and that would have had a sight impact on headroom, but it did allow light to flood into the cabin.
The boot is accessed via a powered tailgate and can swallow 436 litres of kit. Drop the 60:40 split-folding rear seats and that limit increases to 1,379 litres. There is a clever double boot floor and this can act as a partition too to stop shopping bags toppling over.
In addition, there is a good-sized glovebox, door bins, a deep central cubby with USB ports, front and rear cup holders, seat back pockets, coat and luggage hooks, plus a wireless charging pad.
The Qashqai features wide-opening doors offering easy access and the low lip on the boot makes transporting heavy or awkwardly-shaped items easier.
The Nissan Qashqai line-up is priced from £23,535 and rises to £37,835 for the Tekna+ version with 4WD.
We tested the range-topping Tekna+ model with 2WD costing £36,125, increasing to £37,270 with specialist paint and a two-tone roof.
While there are no diesel models on sale any more, the latest petrol-driven vehicles offer impressive fuel efficiency with a combined 43.8mpg under stricter WLTP testing, and carbon emissions of 146g/km.
This CO2 figure would result in a first year Vehicle Excise Charge of £225 which would drop down to the standard rate of £145 after 12 months.
The test car sits in insurance group 16.
Quality & Reliability
Although the latest Qashqai is too new to feature in any customer satisfaction surveys, the company has rather struggled in recent years when it comes to reliability. Although it is worth remembering that the Qashqai is a high-volume seller so there are hundreds of thousands of happy motorists pottering around in their model without a bad word to say about it.
The Tekna+ version certainly looks and feels like it will survive the test of time with upmarket quilted leather seats that not only look the business, but also offer excellent levels of support.
All the switchgear feels well put together and the car comes with Nissan’s three-year, 60,000-mile warranty.
There are ways to extend the warranty via Nissan Care Extended Warranty which offers plans to suit different time scales and budgets.
Safety & Security
Although the latest Nissan Qashqai is yet to be tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating, the previous model received the maximum five stars and Nissan is renowned for packing its cars with a comprehensive list of safety systems and driver assist aids as standard.
There are the more standard features such as anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist, driver attention alert, Isofix fixtures, hill start and auto hold, blind spot warning, tyre pressure monitoring, rear door child-locks and a full suite of airbags.
But the car has a number of other systems worth noting, including the latest ProPilot with Nav-link which can accelerate and brake the vehicle within its lane markings. It can cruise at a set speed and works automatically in stop/start traffic to reduce driver fatigue.
The system can read road signs such as speed limit alterations and reacts accordingly. And it also slows for sharper bends or exit ramps. It works in tandem with the blind spot radar system, thanks to steering input correction, to stop the driver manoeuvring into another lane where a car has not been spotted.
The Intelligent Forward Emergency Braking with predictive function is able to read the road ahead of the car in front to detect if a vehicle suddenly brakes and reacts accordingly, and another new feature is the central airbag that protects front occupants in the event of a side collision.
The Nissan Qashqai is fitted with an immobiliser and Thatcham alarm system to keep intruders at bay.
As the original founder of the crossover sector there will always be pressure on Nissan to deliver the goods with each new-generation Qashqai. And this one does just that – it’s stylish, practical, packed with kit and nice to drive.