Nissan Qashqai Review
Now a default family car choice, the Nissan Qashqai has plenty of selling points – but plenty of rivals, too
- New high-tech interior
- Clever hybrid engine
- Excellent practicality
- Not really class-leading in any area
- Engines can sound strained at high speed
- Isn't very exciting to drive
Should I buy a Nissan Qashqai?
How often do you mention the name of a semi-nomadic Iranian tribe? It’s a weird question, but the answer is probably a lot more than you thought. That’s where the Nissan Qashqai got its name from, and now those letters adorn the bootlid of one of Britain’s best-selling cars.
If you’re looking at buying a family SUV, you’ll have at least given the Qashqai a passing thought. In a class full of talented rivals such as the Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Ford Kuga, Volkswagen Tiguan and Peugeot 3008, the Qashqai is at risk of becoming forgotten about, but it excels in all the right areas for you to consider it as your next car.
The latest-generation Qashqai landed in 2021, bringing a host of improvements over its popular predecessor. You’ll notice the boomerang-shaped headlights and sharpened creases that give the new Qashqai a bolder look than before. There’s more space and more tech, plus a choice of hybrid engines that help reduce fuel consumption.
Chances are, if you liked the old Qashqai, you’ll really like the new one.
Interior and Technology
Infotainment technology and dashboard design has moved on from when the last Nissan Qashqai was launched in 2014, and that car now feels a bit dated inside. The latest model follows the trend of having a large touchscreen sat on top of the dashboard – a bit like the layout in the Ford Kuga and Toyota RAV4. A digital instrument cluster is fitted on higher-spec trim levels, too, although neither screen has the sharpest graphics.
Physical controls for the air con and steering wheel buttons are still a big part of the Qashqai’s interior – touch-sensitive panels are reserved for the more expensive Nissan Ariya electric SUV. The Qashqai benefits from an upgrade in material quality compared to its predecessor, with lots of soft-touch surfaces and a tightly built feel.
The current Qashqai has grown in size, both in length and width, so it’s noticeably more practical than the old car. Rear legroom is now much better, making it more comfortable for tall adults, and increased shoulder room means that three adults can fit in a little more easily – although, like many rivals, you still won’t want to go five-up for long journeys.
Boot space has had a much-needed increase too, with up to 504 litres available. This should be plenty for most family uses, but ultimately there are rivals with more boot space. The Vauxhall Grandland X and Peugeot 3008 offer around 520 litres, while the Volkswagen Tiguan and Hyundai Tucson offer over 600 litres.
Engines and performance
The Qashqai’s 1.3-litre petrol engine is carried over from the previous car, but Nissan has added mild-hybrid tech to improve the engine’s efficiency. There are two power outputs and the choice of a manual or a CVT automatic gearbox, and four-wheel drive available with the latter. The entry-level configuration – 138hp and a manual gearbox – manages up to 45mpg, which is a useful improvement over the previous car and on a par with the Qashqai’s main rivals.
There aren’t any diesel engines offered in the Qashqai this time around, but a new E-Power hybrid engine more than makes up for that. Most hybrids use the petrol engine to turn the wheels – in the Qashqai E-Power, the engine is used to charge up the battery and the wheels are only powered by an electric motor. At lower speeds, this makes the E-Power feel like a fully electric car – so you get the EV experience without needing to plug in to recharge. It promises up to 56mpg.
Driving and comfort
If the Nissan Qashqai was good to drive, you’d probably end up with spilt juice bottles and carsick children. It doesn’t need sparkling handling finesse because that’s not a top priority for family SUV drivers but Nissan has honed the driving experience anyway, making the latest Qashqai a little better to drive than its predecessor. That said, keener drivers will prefer something like a Ford Kuga, which will provide a few more smiles on a twisty road.
The Qashqai E-Power lives up to Nissan’s claim that it feels like an EV, at least at lower speeds. Refinement is impressive, with a near-silent driving experience, and little wind and tyre noise. You also get brake regeneration like in an electric car – step off the accelerator and the car will noticeably slow down as it’s harvesting the energy to use later.