Nissan Qashqai review

The Nissan Qashqai is a handsome, easy-driving family SUV. It has a more luxurious interior than before, but its boot still isn’t the largest

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This score is awarded by our team of
expert reviewers
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers
after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Practical, solid interior
  • Lots of standard kit
  • Comfortable at a cruise

What's not so good

  • Not much fun to drive
  • Boot space is a bit limited
  • Infotainment can be laggy

Find out more about the Nissan Qashqai

Is the Nissan Qashqai a good car?

We reckon the Nissan Qashqai is the car equivalent of the Beatles. It wasn’t the first SUV-shaped car to come along, but by mixing a perched driving position with a compact, boxy exterior the British-built Nissan became an instant, platinum-certified smash hit. Countless imitators such as the Ford Kuga and Volkswagen Tiguan were quick to follow in its wake.

Now there’s a new model out, and it marches to that same, incredibly popular beat – albeit with a coupe of important updates. Looks-wise, it gets a redesigned front-end with a larger, and more prominent V-shaped grille. Snazzy 20-inch alloys make their debut on range-topping models, while creased bodywork and sharp new LED headlights have also been added to the mix.

Its cabin – which used to be a pretty dull, boring place to spend time – has been revamped too. Higher-spec models get plenty of upmarket upholstery, as well as some nifty trim material. It’s a far smarter-looking environment than it was before.

There’s also an impressively modern infotainment set-up with two screens, one 12-inch driver’s display and one 9-inch touchscreen in the middle. We still prefer the 3008, but we think the Qashqai’s interior has definitely moved up the charts compared with the old model.

There’s plenty of space up front, but more importantly there’s lots of room in the back for passengers. The doors open nice and wide as well, so getting in and out is really easy. The boot is fairly large, but alternatives such as the Volkswagen Tiguan have more storage space back here. Still, it makes for a practical, well-rounded family car.

The new Qashqai looks modern but is still recognisable as the iconic model it has evolved from. I really like the look of it. I’d definitely get the 156hp model, though.

Mat Watson
Mat Watson
carwow expert

You can choose from two 1.3-litre petrol engines with either 138hp or 156hp – both of which have mild-hybrid assistance for a small boost in fuel efficiency. If you go for the latter, you have the option of an automatic CVT gearbox and even four-wheel drive – but the default is a six-speed manual gearbox. In the future there will be a 187hp electric hybrid model, too.

It costs a bit more, but we’d go for the 156hp model with two-wheel drive and the CVT gearbox. It gets a useful boost in performance, is smooth and easy to drive around town, and fuel economy doesn’t really take a hit at all.

Safety has always been a big deal for Nissan, and the new Qashqai continues that trend. The hi-tech ProPilot safety tech is available here and one key feature is Navi-link, which is an advanced type of autonomous cruise control that can slow the car to a stop and move away again in busy motorway traffic.

That said, it’s worth highlighting that Navi-link is only available on CVT-equipped models. Autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and blind spot assist are included as standard across the range, while manual cars get a basic adaptive cruise control set up right out of the box.

It’s not much fun to drive but the new Qashqai is comfortable over bumps and light steering and good visibility means it’s really easy to drive round town and to park. There’s a bit of tyre roar on the motorway if you go for those eye-catching 20-inch alloys, but at a cruise it’s impressively relaxing. Just be aware that the CVT model can be a bit loud when you really put your foot down.

But all in all, the new Qashqai is a big improvement over the previous model. Ultimately it’s not dramatically different, but a good deal of small changes combine to make this an even better car than before.

It costs from around £27,000, which is par for the course when it comes to family SUVs. So if the new Nissan Qashqai sounds like it’s right up your street, head on over to our deals page to see how much you can save through carwow.

How practical is it?

There’s plenty of passenger space in the new Qashqai, but its boot could be larger

Boot (seats up)
436 - 504 litres
Boot (seats down)
1,368 - 1,598 litres

There’s more legroom in the back of the new Qashqai than there was in the old one – and that car was hardly cramped. Back seat passengers definitely won’t have any problems getting settled in back here, even if you opt for a model that gets a panoramic sunroof.

The rear bench is impressively comfortable, too. There’s a bit of a hump in the floor and the centre seat is a bit of a squeeze, but it’s far from unusable. Access is excellent too because the doors open to nearly 90 degrees, which is super handy if you’ve got to get a child seat fixed in place.

There’s a set of cupholders in the centre console that are nice and large, plus storage under the armrest that includes a USB port and a USB-C port to accommodate different types of phone charger, which is handy.

You’ll be able to fit a big bottle of water in the front door bins and the rear ones are roomy too, plus there are handy pockets on the seat-backs. There are two types of phone charger in the back seats as well, which means older phones are accommodated as well as newer ones.

Sadly the cupholders in the back are rubbish – they don’t hold drinks very well – and the glove box is tiny.

The new Qashqai is now available with an electrically-operated tailgate, which is a first. It’s useful if you’ve got your hands full. And as entry-level Visia, Acenta and Acenta Premium models get up to 503 litres of seats-up boot space, you should have no trouble fitting a stroller or a few sets of golf clubs back there.

Okay, alternatives such as the Volkswagen Tiguan and Skoda Karoq have even bigger boots, but it’s more roomy than the old car and there’s no loading lip, so access is nice and easy.

All-new Nissan Qashqai

There are hooks, a 12v socket and tethering points, plus the rear seats fold down flat so you can slide long items in easily. There’s up to 1,539 litres of space in the boot if you drop them down, which again is a little less than you get in a VW Tiguan.

However, it’s worth noting that N-Connecta models and above come with a configurable boot floor, which is very useful but it does drop overall boot space to 479 litres. And if you go for the range-topping Tekna+ model, the uprated BOSE stereo that’s fitted as standard drops luggage space again to 436 litres. That’s quite a way off the class pace, but at least your music should sound good.

What's it like to drive?

The Qashqai has a smooth ride and is easy to drive around town, but it’s not a particularly thrilling family SUV

There are two petrol engine options to choose from in the Qashqai, and from launch that’s your lot. You can have either 138hp or 156hp with a six-speed manual as standard, although the more powerful model is available with an automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive if you want it.

Both petrol motors are 1.3-litre units with a turbocharger. The lower-powered model emits 143g/km of CO2 and returns 44.5mpg, while the higher-powered version emits 145g/km and returns 44.1mpg. Go for the four-wheel drive version and that changes to 155g/km and 41.2mpg, so we’d avoid this version unless you do a lot of towing. In our experience, these figures are pretty realistic.

The manual gearbox doesn’t have the slickest shift around. It’s not too bad, but occasionally it feels imprecise and notchy. Combine that with a sharp clutch that takes some getting used to to avoid stalling and it’s clear the Qashqai hasn’t really been designed with keen drivers in mind.

The automatic gearbox in the Qashqai is a CVT, which stands for Continuously Variable Transmission. It drives just like a normal auto, but as this type of gearbox doesn’t have actual gears it’s impressively smooth when you’re just driving about. That said, throttle response isn’t particularly sharp, and it can cause the engine to drone noisily if you put your foot down and accelerate for long periods of time.

All versions use mild hybrid technology, which adds a small electric boost to the engine to improve efficiency and performance, but you don’t notice it from behind the wheel.

More interesting is the upcoming hybrid version of the new Nissan. This model uses a 1.5-litre petrol engine and includes a proper 145kW electric motor, but the engine doesn’t even drive the wheels in this car – it just charges the battery to keep the electric motor going. This will go on sale in 2022.

You sit quite high up in the Qashqai and there’s plenty of adjustment in the driver’s seat and steering column, so it’s really easy to find a comfortable driving position.

Even though the Qashqai is a chunky SUV, you shouldn’t have any trouble parking because the around-view camera set-up that’s available on higher-spec models means you can see your surroundings easily. There are plenty of safety features like blind spot assist and adaptive cruise control that make it more relaxing and safer to drive as well.

The steering is very light and accurate, so it’s easy to drive around town; and the automatic gearbox makes sitting in busy traffic a bit less stressful too. The brakes aren’t grabby and the turning circle is tight for a big SUV like this – which is always handy in the city.

The Qashqai is comfortable on bumpy roads, even on the large 20-inch alloy wheels that are fitted to top-spec Tekna+ models. Precise but numb steering means it’s not all that much fun to drive hard, though – even if you set the car to Sport mode. It doesn’t lean or wallow a lot in faster corners, but a Toyota C-HR is more enjoyable to point down a twisty road.

The 156hp engine and automatic gearbox aren’t as responsive as we’d like either, which is frustrating when you’re pulling out of junctions. The manual is better in this respect. Once you’re up and running, performance is fine for this kind of family car but by no means remarkable. We’d avoid the lower-powered 138hp engine, though, particularly if you’re expecting to fill the car with kids and clobber.

There’s a bit of tyre noise at motorway speeds and models  bit noisy when you put your foot down, but generally this is a relaxing and comfortable car to do long distances in.

What's it like inside?

The new Qashqai is nicely finished and an improvement on its predecessor, and it’s much more interesting to look at than before. It doesn’t have the sharpest infotainment system around, though.

Nissan Qashqai colours

Solid - Flame red
Special solid - Arctic white
From £250
Metallic - Blade Silver
From £575
Metallic - Gun metallic
From £575
Metallic - Ink blue
From £575
Metallic - Pearl black
From £575
Pearl - Ceramic grey
From £745
Pearl - Storm white
From £745
Special metallic - Burgundy
From £745
Special metallic - Fuji sunset red
From £745
Special metallic - Magnetic blue
From £745
Two tone metallic - Black/grey roof
From £1,095
Two tone pearl - Ceramic grey/pearl black roof
From £1,265
Two tone pearl - Fuji sunset red/pearl black roof
From £1,265
Two tone pearl - Magnetic blue/pearl black roof
From £1,265
Two tone pearl - Pearl white/pearl black roof
From £1,265
Next Read full interior review
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