Nissan Qashqai SUV: Prices, specs and reviews
Small SUV is one of the most popular new cars on sale in Britain today and still has plenty to offer
The Nissan Qashqai is one of the UK's most popular new family cars and the bestselling crossover you can buy – 60,000 of them were sold in the UK last year.
Introduced to the market in 2006, Nissan last updated the Qashqai in 2013. It's due a facelift next year, though, with a refreshed design and new technologies expected.
Spearheading the crossover market segment – a booming and competitive sector most mainstream manufacturers are now weighing in on - the Qashqai faces serious competition from Mazda, Seat and even premium brands such as Audi and Mercedes, all keen to muscle in on the motor world's most lucrative patch.
However, Nissan continues to lead the way. Here's why.
Despite being three years old, the Qashqai is still a well-designed car and while it was created with a handling balance catered more towards comfort, it's a much sharper-looking proposition than its predecessor.
It's a much more angular, purposeful and sporty car and has a more upmarket feel. It's also desirably compact and rugged in appearance, thanks to its sloping roofline and kinked window line, as well as the tough looking cladding that runs around the car's sills, bumpers and wheel-arches.
The Qashqai shares many of its design traits with the smaller Pulsar hatchback and larger X-Trail SUV, and sits directly between these two cars in the Nissan range. All three look fairly similar to each other, with the same sharp front profile and similar creases running down the door and sills.
Alloy wheels aren't standard on entry level Qashqai cars, though they can be specced optionally. On cars higher up in the range, 17ins and 19ins alloy wheels are available.
Alongside the sharper design of this second generation car is a smarter, tidier interior. It's a well-made cabin that makes use of decent materials.
There's a thick, chunky dashboard with piano black plastic trim. The centre console feeds downwards towards the gearstick and houses the car's infotainment screen and many of its controls. Auto Express adds that there are "sporty cowled dials and a full-colour trip computer display". Ambient lighting gives the interior an upmarket feel.
It's a comfortable cabin, with plenty of adjustability to the driver's seat and steering wheel. Entry level cars get cloth upholstery. Those higher up the range are kitted out in leather.
While no longer nor wider than a Ford Focus, the Qaishai is taller, so passengers get plenty of headroom. It also offers 430-litres of luggage capacity in a decently sized boot, although behind rivals such as the Renault Kadjar and Kia Sportage. Folding the rear seats flat opens up extra space and bumps up the carrying capacity to 1,585 litres.
In terms of passenger space, room up front is good and those in the back get a decent amount, including whoever sits in the middle. Headroom can be compromised by the optional panoramic roof, which is standard on higher trim models, but generally speaking, proportions are generous here too.
Storage bins and cubby holes can be found all over the interior, alongside a large glovebox and centre-console storage. You'll sit up high, reaping the benefits of the crossover's raised platform and SUV-like driving position, which is one of the key features making cars like this overtake family hatchbacks in terms of popularity.
What if I want seven seats?
The Qashqai is strictly a five-seater and the Qashqai+2 model, featuring two folding seats in the boot, has been sacrificed, so bigger families may struggle.
Nissan's slightly larger X-Trail SUV is the closest thing you'll get to a seven-seat Qashqai - they boast a similar design and share many of the same engines and interior trims. It is a five-seater as standard, but the two seats in the boot can be specced. It's priced £24,745.
There's a choice of two diesel power units in the Qashqai and if you want four-wheel drive, it’s the only fuel type available.
Choices start with a 1.5-litre engine producing 109bhp. It's the slowest Qashqai you can buy, but the 12.4secs dash to 62mph is perfectly adequate. It is also the most frugal model and will be the cheapest to run, with Nissan claiming you'll get up to 70mpg while its sub-100g/km CO2 emissions keep it road tax exempt. This is the most popular engine on sale.
The 1.6-litre unit isn't quite as efficient, with claims of 62mpg, but it is faster and more powerful and the only engine in the range that gets you that four-wheel drive. A CVT automatic gearbox comes as standard.
Petrol Qashqais kick off with a 1.2-litre unit producing 112bhp. It provides decent performance and can get you to 62mph in 10.9secs, while giving back a claimed 50mpg.
The fastest version of the car is the 1.6-litre petrol, packing 160bhp. The 0-62mph time drops to 9.1secs, but with the faster sprint speed comes a dent in the car's efficiency – 47mpg is claimed and it will cost £130 a year to tax.
Trim levels and equipment
The Qashqai comes with four trim levels. Entry level Visias get cruise control and air conditioning as standard, alongside LED daytime running lights, hill start assist, a stop/start system and MP3 and Bluetooth capabilities.
CarWow says that the next step up the ladder – Acenta– arguably packs all the equipment you'll need. There are automatic headlights, ambient lighting, dual-zone climate control plus an upgraded stereo system and rain-sensing wipers.
However, their pick is the N-Connecta Qashqai. It's a tech-heavy trim level replacing the n-tec and n-tec plus models and you'll get a bigger display for the sat nav, keyless entry and loads of safety enhancing features. Range-topping Teknas have 19ins alloy wheels as standard, plus full leather upholstery, a panoramic sunroof and self-parking capabilities.
Family cars need to score highly when it comes to safety and the Qashqai comes with a full five-star Euro NCAP rating. There are plenty of safety tech options, too, including automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning systems, traffic-sign recognition and front and rear parking sensors, all of which can be fitted in one go by way of the £495 Smart Vision pack. Drowsiness detection and blind-spot warning systems are also available.
Prices kick off at £18,545 for the Visia trim with a 1.2-litre petrol engine. It’s the cheapest version by some margin – next up the ladder is the Visia with the 1.5-litre diesel, kicking off at £20,375.
The 1.6-litre petrol starts from £23,280 and is available in N-Connecta upwards, as is the 1.6-litre diesel, which starts at £25,060. Equipping the 1.6-litre diesel with the 4x4 system pushes the price up to £26,890, though most buyers will opt for a front-wheel drive.
It's one of the UK's most popular new cars, so it's no surprise Auto Express calls the Qashqai a "great all-rounder" that blends the running costs and straightforward practicality of a family hatchback with the high-riding driving position of a small SUV.
The Qashqai's trump card is simply how comfortable it is, though, adds the mag. It feels ride quality and low noise levels are the most striking aspects of the way the car drives and while it doesn't feel the handling is as sharp as it is on other rivals, says it is how sitting behind the wheel feels for long periods of time that is more important. Most buyers won't be off put by the fact that it isn't as sharp as the likes of the Seat Ateca, the mag argues argues.
As for the cabin, it "looks sharp and feels well-built", while the on-board infotainment screen is high quality and easy to operate.
Space wise, crossovers don't tend to build on the kind of legroom found in standard family hatchbacks such as the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf, adds Auto Express, but the higher roofline means there's more headroom and the driving position is elevated, a key reason why people buy cars like this, it argues.
What Car? says the second-generation Qashqai "builds upon the ground-breaking brilliance of its predecessor" and while there's plenty of choice out there, it is the original all-rounder, with a well-built, spacious interior, solid build quality and superb refinement.
The magazine recommends the 1.5-litre DCi diesel engine, saying it's the most efficient version and the sub-100g/km CO2 figures mean you'll pay no road tax. It's the least powerful Qashqai, but the low revving diesel grunt allows you to push the car along without stressing the engine. It's also a quiet, refined power unit.
N-Connecta is the What Car?'s trim level of choice. You'll pay much more than you would for an entry level Acenta car, it says, but the addition of front and rear parking sensors, plus the larger touchscreen infotainment system with sat nav, is certainly worth it.
The crossover market is booming, with most manufacturers now offering a small SUV competitor and customers offered different shapes, sizes and price tags.
Most similar to the Qashqai is the Renault Kadjar, which uses the same platform and running gear, owing to the alliance struck between the two manufacturers. With a different design, slightly cheaper price tag and an ever-so-slightly bigger boot, the Kadjar could prove to be a tempting alternative, especially given the better four year/100,000-mile warranty on offer.
The Kia Sportage, meanwhile, is moving up the market thanks to its spaciousness, quality and, in even the second-to-bottom trim level, well-equipped interior. It starts at £18,000.
Slightly cheaper is the Mazda CX-3, at £17,595. This small but sporty-looking crossover isn't one of the most practical on the market, but it’s probably one of the best-looking, especially for the price.
At the other end of the spectrum, the likes of Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW all now offer crossovers. Audi's Q3 starts from £26,150, with the larger Q5 coming in at £32,580. Its smallest crossover, the Q2, is just around the corner, priced from around £22,000.
Facelifted Qashqai coming next year
According to Auto Express, the Qashqai may be updated next year. A facelifted model has been on the cards for a while now, given that the current version is already three years old, but only minor exterior design tweaks are anticipated.
However, it will gain a huge new piece of technology – autonomous driving.
ProPilot will assist with braking, steering and acceleration by using a small camera to detect other vehicles, lane markings and traffic flow. A simple switch on the wheel activates the system. ProPilot will keep the car in lane automatically while controlling its speed, even bringing it to a complete halt automatically if necessary.
As with the Tesla Autopilot feature, the system will initially work on motorways only, although there are plans for autonomous technologies to enter the city and more urban areas by 2020. It almost certainly won't be standard equipment on the Qashqai, so you'll have to stump up extra for it.