Our Review of the Nissan Qashqai
Introduction & History
The first generation Nissan Qashqai became an instant hit when it graced the forecourts back in 2007. Dubbed the original crossover, it replaced both the Nissan Primera and Almera.
Even in early 2013, the first generation Qashqai remained one of the top 10 most sold cars despite some stiff competition from the likes of the Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5 and Skoda Yeti. The reason for the Qashqai's success was a perfect mix of style, reliability and practicality with an elevated driving position, all in one affordable package.
As a result, the second generation Qashqai which came later in 2013 had a lot to live up to. Nissan improved the styling and engines, and added a host of new features with pioneering technology. Powering the new model was a 1.2 turbo petrol, 1.5 diesel or 1.6 diesel with the 1.5 engine producing just 99g/km CO2 emissions meaning there was no road tax to pay and resulting in a very economical drive. This second generation Qashqai also claimed a best-seller spot and was once again lauded for its practicality, comfort, styling and affordability.
The 2018 facelift sees a refreshed exterior and interior along with a new engine lineup but can it live up to the successes of its predecessors?
Driving the new Qashqai
The new facelift Qashqai comes with a choice of 3 engines - a new 1.3 turbo petrol available as a 140bhp or 160bhp variant, along with the economical 1.5 diesel as seen in the previous model. Both petrol engines are nippy, quiet and smooth, returning up to 53mpg combined and are best suited for urban driving but still perform well on the motorway too. Despite all the bad press surrounding diesel engines, they're still favoured by many who carry out longer commutes, and with a fantastic 74mpg combined plus emissions of just 100g/km of CO2 (NEDC), it's really no surprise. Typical of a diesel engine, the new Qashqai delivers plenty of torque to allow for easy acceleration and overtaking.
A new twin-clutch automatic gearbox is also now available having previously only been seen in the Nissan GTR powerhouse. The new Qashqai maintains its comfortable ride allowing for a small amount of body roll in the corners but when it comes to tackling the British roads and potholes, it's welcome! And when it comes to safety there's certainly no sacrifice which is recognised by it being awarded a top 5 star safety rating from EuroNCAP.
The NissanConnect system which incorporates Sat Nav, Bluetooth and DAB radio now features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto something which has come to be expected of most modern cars but not always available.
With the introduction of Nissan's brand new 'ProPILOT' technology, the Qashqai can pretty much drive itself on a motorway. Yes you did read that correct! Activate ProPILOT to let your car automatically follow the car ahead at a preset distance and keep you centered in your lane (even around a gentle curve). ProPILOT can even bring your car to a full stop based on the traffic flow, then take it back up to speed when traffic moves again.
Other upgrades include a flat-bottomed steering wheel and higher grade materials for the dashboard, panels and seats which are always welcome.
Space & Practicality
In short, the updated interior of the Qashqai will suit most people down to the ground. It's big, comfy and easy to see out of, and with even more technology than before, it makes driving even safer and more enjoyable.
The Qashqai sports a roomy interior with plenty of headroom and leg space for 5 people. All models come with a height-adjustable drivers seat which caters for those over 6ft tall, and all models bar the Visia have a height-adjustable passenger seat as well. Pick the top of the range Tekna+ and you'll get electric adjustable leather seats with a memory function which returns your seat to exactly where it was previously (great if more than one person drives the car).
There are plenty of cubby spaces on hand, with room to squeeze a 1 litre water bottle into the front door bins. There's also two large cupholders in the front as standard, and all models bar the Visia come with a folding armrest with two cupboards for rear passengers.
As far as boot space goes - there's more than enough room for large baby stroller or a few suitcases in its 430 litres. Drop the rear seats and this extends to an impressive 1,598 litres (which is significantly more than the 1,492 of the Kia Sportage).
Cost of the New Qashqai
Starting from just £19,995, the base model Visia comes with a decent amount of standard equipment - but upgrade to the Acenta Premium from £22,895 and you get a significant amount more for your money, including NissanConnect Sat Nav with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Alloy Wheels, Dual Zone Climate Control and Rear View Camera with the option of the Smart Vision Pack which includes High Beam Assist, Traffic Sign Recognition, Anti Dazzle Rear View Mirror, Intelligent Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Recognition, Lane Departure Warning and Front and Rear Parking Sensors.
The N-Connecta from £24,595 includes the Intelligent Around View Monitor for 360 degree vision, as well as Safety Shield Technologies. Step up to the Tekna and you'll benefit from the best technologies including a Bose 8 speaker system and Adaptive Front Lighting System as well as a part-leather trim, all from £26,895.
Finally, the range-topping Tekna+ from £28,095 has all of that, plus Premium Nappa Leather Trim, adjustable drivers seat with memory function and heated front seats.
Nissan have built on their successful formula for the Qashqai - maintaining the original crossover qualities of comfort, space and visibility but adding further features and technology to make it one of the easiest yet safest cars to drive. Couple this with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and great sound from the Bose speaker system - it's a winning combination.
*All prices/specifications correct at the time of writing.