Nissan Qashqai Review (2014-2021)
Practical and great value, the Nissan Qashqai could be your ideal family car.
The Nissan Qashqai combines family-friendly practicality with the style and higher seating position of an SUV, yet it’s a car not much taller or bulkier than a mid-size hatchback. That means it could be ideal if you’re upgrading to your first family car, or downsizing from something bigger. It’s also well equipped, feels good to drive and offers excellent value – no wonder it’s so popular.
Here, we’re looking at the second-generation Qashqai, sold new from 2014 to 2021. It was updated in 2017 with new styling details – most noticeably the front grille – plus an improved interior and extra technology.
- Well equipped
- Very comfortable
- Great value
- No hybrid models
- Rivals have more back-seat space
- Limited view out of the back
Dashboard & tech
Most Qashqai models have a touchscreen infotainment display in the middle of the dashboard that controls features like the radio, Bluetooth and sat nav (if fitted). It looks rather dated and the screen takes a moment to respond when you press or swipe it, but the system is easy enough to navigate. Other features fitted to all Qashqai models include air con, cruise control and electric windows front and back. High-spec models have extra features such as sat nav, heated leather seats, parking sensors and a sunroof. Some models from the end of 2018 onwards also have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
The front seats in the Qashqai are soft and very comfortable, so longer journeys are unlikely to cause aches or pains. It’s easy to find the driving position that works for you because the driver’s seat and steering wheel adjust forwards and backwards, and up and down. For most people, the seats are at a convenient height for simply sliding into the car, rather than dropping down or climbing up onto the seats. You also won’t have to bend down if you’re helping children into or out of their car seats.
Considering this isn’t a premium car, the Qashqai’s interior feels of a high quality. The materials feel durable and solid and everything feels well put together.
The interior design sits happily midway between flashy and dull. Compared with some similar cars, however, it does look a bit dated in places and it doesn’t have the high-tech sheen of rivals such as the Peugeot 3008.
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Practicality & boot space
There’s enough space inside the Qashqai for four adults to travel long distances in comfort. Even really tall people should have enough legroom and headroom in the front seats. In the back, there’s less legroom than in the Skoda Karoq, but only people over six foot will really notice. Be aware that the ceiling in models with a sunroof is a couple of inches lower, which reduces headroom. The Qashqai provides ample space for two children in the back row, though they might struggle to see out of the rather small windows.
Each of the Qashqai’s side doors has a pocket that’s big enough to hold a half-litre drinks bottle. The front-door pockets can also hold a phone and wallet. Between the front seats, there’s a pair of cupholders and an armrest that lifts to reveal a deep storage box where you’ll also find sockets to plug in your phone. There’s a coin tray in front of the gear lever, a glovebox big enough for a few packets of crisps. Some cars may have another pair of cupholders in the back-seat armrest.
If you’re upgrading to a Qashqai from a mid-size hatchback, you’re likely to find there’s a bit more space in the boot. Overall capacity up to the load cover is 430 litres, which is enough to carry a pushchair plus shopping, or luggage for a week-long family holiday if you pack everything in carefully. Having said that, similar cars such as the Seat Ateca and Peugeot 3008 give you more than 500 litres of boot space.
The Qashqai has an adjustable boot floor that can be positioned at two heights. At the upper level, there’s a useful space below the floor for carrying things like umbrellas, shoes and shopping bags. Set it at the lower level and the boot is about four inches deeper, which creates a surprisingly large amount of extra volume. You can also mix and match the levels, because the boot floor is in two pieces that can be adjusted separately. If you need even more space, the back seats fold down using buttons on the backrest.
The Qashqai has a way of soothing away the stresses of driving because its steering feels light, the brakes are strong, the manual gearbox (if fitted) slots easily into each gear and the view ahead from the driver’s seat is excellent. The suspension rounds off bumps and holes in the road so the ride is very comfortable; the car also feels relaxed when cruising along the motorway. It’s only the view behind from the driver’s seat that’s a bit disappointing – you can’t see much over your shoulder and the back window is quite small, which can make parking more difficult. Get a model with a reversing camera and life is much easier.
The Qashqai is available with different petrol and diesel engines, which cover a power range of 108bhp to 160bhp. The most popular engines are at the low end of that range but, because the Qashqai is quite light for this type of car, they give perfectly good acceleration up to motorway speeds. However, the more powerful options are appreciably quicker and could be a better option if you do lots of motorway journeys.
You have a choice of a smooth manual gearbox, or a CVT automatic. The automatic feels responsive enough but makes the Qashqai accelerate a little more slowly.
Fuel economy & CO2 emissions
According to official figures, Qashqai models with a petrol engine can give you an average fuel economy of 47mpg to 53mpg. Diesel models can give you between 46mpg and 74mpg. (Models with an automatic gearbox and/or four-wheel drive are at the lower end of those ranges.) Also, bear in mind that models sold new since 2019 may be less efficient – on paper – than older cars. That’s because the way mpg is calculated changed in 2019 and produced lower numbers.
Value for money
The Qashqai is one of the most cost-effective mid-size family SUVs you can buy. It was keenly priced when new and the sheer number available means that prices for used cars are very competitive. There’s also a wide variety of models to choose from, with versions to suit different budgets.
Reliability & Warranty
Nissan as a brand scored very well in the J.D. Power 2019 UK Vehicle Dependability Study, with a fourth-place ranking out of all the major car manufacturers.
The manufacturer includes a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty on all of its cars. This is fairly standard for many brands, although some – such as Hyundai and Kia – will give you warranty cover for longer.
All this means that newer Qashqais may still be covered when bought used. Nissan also provided the option of an extended warranty, but it’s not transferable to a new owner unless the car is sold privately rather than through a dealer.
The Qashqai received a full five-star rating when it was assessed by safety organisation Euro NCAP in 2014, scoring highly for protecting adult and child passengers in a crash. That said, testing standards have moved on since then, so newer cars will likely perform better. Still, there are also many driver-safety features fitted to the Qashqai including automatic emergency braking, blind-spot warning, lane-departure warning and a driver-attention monitor. Different models have different features, so check the details on the Qashqai you’re interested in to find out which ones it has.
Trims & Engines
There are many trim levels available on the Qashqai. The most popular (listed in order from lower to higher amounts of equipment as standard) are Visia, Acenta, N-Connecta, N-Tec and Tekna. Some models have either ‘Premium’ or ‘+’ in the name, indicating that they get some extra luxuries. Whichever one you get, the Qashqai comes pretty generously equipped with standard features. Indeed, the models at the top of the range have many features you might normally expect to find only on costlier luxury cars.
All Qashqais have air con, cruise control, electric windows front and back, remote locking and heated door mirrors. The mid-range N-Tec adds sat nav and parking sensors to that list, and the top-of-the-range Tekna+ gets heated leather seats and a full-length glass sunroof that opens.
The Qashqai is available with three of what Nissan calls its ‘DiG-T’ petrol and three ‘dCi’ diesel engines. There are 1.2-, 1.3- or 1.6-litre petrol engines that give you power between 113bhp and 160bhp. The 1.2-litre with 113bhp and 1.3-litre with 138bhp are most popular, and give you a great balance of performance and fuel economy.
The diesel engines are 1.5, 1.6 or 1.7 litres in size and offer a range of power from 108bhp to 148bhp. The 1.5-litre with 108bhp or 113bhp are the most popular diesels because they can give you up to 74mpg on average, according to official figures.
Automatic gearboxes and four-wheel drive are available with the more powerful petrol and diesel engines. If you have a trailer or caravan to tow, the 1.7-litre diesel with a manual gearbox and four-wheel drive is the best bet because it can tow a braked trailer weighing up to 2,000kg.
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