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Nissan Qashqai engines, driving and performance

How does the Nissan Qashqai drive?

There’s a theme emerging here. Just like the styling, the interior tech and the boot space, the new Nissan Qashqai offers a slightly better driving experience than before. It’s not fun or exciting, but you won’t find anything to hate while driving it either – it’s simply competent and comfortable. The 1.3-litre mild-hybrid petrol engine is quiet most of the time and is about as economical as petrol versions of the Ford Kuga and SEAT Ateca.

Nissan has also introduced an E-Power hybrid version, which is marked out by a black strip at the top of the grille and E-Power badges. The hybrid is quite clever, with the engine never directly driving the wheels, the punchy electric motor and stepless CVT gearbox make it feel like you’re driving an electric car. That feeling continues when you slow down, as the Qashqai offers strong regenerative braking like you get in the fully electric Nissan Leaf – although you can’t quite drive it on just one pedal as it won’t bring you to a complete stop. This powertrain is most effective at lower speeds as, once the petrol engine kicks into life, it can sometimes sound a little coarse under heavy acceleration.

Is the Nissan Qashqai comfortable?

The Qashqai does a good job of filtering out most bumps and imperfections in the road surface, although it can get unsettled by big jolts. For day-to-day driving you’re unlikely to have any complaints about the ride quality. And, even though the top-spec Tekna+ sits on large 20-inch alloy wheels, it also boasts upgraded multi-link suspension so it’s no less comfortable than smaller-wheeled trim levels.

What’s the best Nissan Qashqai engine to get?

For now, the 1.3-litre petrol engine is a much more common sight on the used market, so you’ve got a much wider choice of Qashqais at your fingertips if you choose this engine. Both versions of the petrol engine come with either a manual or an automatic gearbox, while the higher-powered 158hp engine can also come with four-wheel drive.

Nissan has axed the Qashqai’s previously available diesel engines, with the only other engine choice being the E-Power hybrid. If you can stretch to it, we’d actually pick this engine – with its electric-car-like tech, it feels more modern and punchier at lower speeds. You don’t need to plug it in to recharge the battery, and the E-Power engine promises to be more efficient than the mild-hybrid petrol engine. Its automatic gearbox makes it easy to drive in congested areas.

Nissan Qashqai performance

The 1.3-litre petrol engine comes with either 138hp or 158hp, and there’s only around half a second’s difference between their respective 0-62mph times. The more powerful engine slips under 10 seconds to cover the sprint, but neither engine will feel slow in daily traffic.

With 190hp and its power coming all at once from the electric motor, the Nissan Qashqai E-Power hits 0-62mph in under eight seconds – so it’ll feel noticeably quicker off the line.

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