The side exterior of a brown Nissan Qashqai

Nissan Qashqai review

The Nissan Qashqai is a cross between an SUV and a hatchback. Offering plenty of space, practicality and commanding view of the road, it's smooth and comfortable to drive.

Pros

  • Trend-setting style
  • More interior space than many SUVs
  • Smooth and comfortable to drive

Cons

  • More expensive to run than an estate car
  • Not the best for rear leg and headroom
  • Visibility isn’t great when reversing

Summary

“Stylish and economical, it’s a good all-round family car.”

The Nissan Qashqai is an SUV/crossover, so it has the raised height and chunky design of a 4x4, but without the clunky driving experience and high running costs. It’s smooth to drive and efficient to run with plenty of safety features on the higher spec versions.

The Qashqai has always been highly rated for safety, reliability and practicality. Plus it’s roomy and comfortable with reassuring handling. It also offers a high driving position which is perfect for giving you a clear view over traffic.

It’s a good value used car buy and both the petrol and diesel engines are smooth and efficient. The 1.3 DIG-T offers an economical drive with plenty of power. There’s no seven-seater option, but the five-door car has a useful 430-litre boot.

The rear exterior of a red Nissan Qashqai

What’s the interior like?

“The newer models have improved greatly in quality and feel, but there’s still a lot to like about the older Qashqais.”

Nissan gave the Qashqai an update in 2017, bringing in more contemporary styling and small but obvious changes to the quality of the materials. 

It feels quite hi-tech inside, although the dashboard is pretty traditional. The big touchscreen display on the centre console is easy to use. If you like technology, look for a model that has NissanConnect as part of the infotainment system so you can integrate the apps with your phone. 

The boot is bigger than hatchbacks such as the VW Golf and Vauxhall Astra, but it's not as spacious as SUVs such as the SEAT Ateca and Renault Kadjar. The extra height is responsible for the larger boot space, although headroom in the back will be reduced if you buy a Qashqai with a panoramic roof.

Steering wheel shot of the Nissan Qashqai

What’s it like to drive?

“The Qashqai drives comfortably and the diesel engines are smooth and quiet.”

The Qashqai is pleasant to drive on both country roads and motorways. It’s composed on the road and handles well. While the earlier models are firm and ride comfortably, the later post-2017 cars generally feel higher quality.

In 2017, Nissan introduced some new and improved engines including the 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine. They’re smaller, but cope well without sounding like they’re straining or working hard. In fact, the 1.3-litre DIG-T has everything you need in terms of power and economy. The diesels also have plenty of punch for motorway driving.

Display shot of the Nissan Qashqai

Is it cost-efficient to buy and run?

“Road tax and insurance premiums are relatively low for an SUV.”

You should be able to find a good deal if you’re buying a used Nissan Qashqai. Although they're still very popular, Nissan dealers often discount their new cars which translates into used bargains later. 

Running costs are competitive and the smaller engines are fuel-efficient, with the Visia 1.5 dCi 115PS standing out as the most economical of all the Qashqais. Although they can work out more expensive to run than an estate car.

The exterior of a black Nissan Qashqai

How reliable and safe is it?

“It has above average reliability.”

There are no particular problem areas that need highlighting. It has a top-rated 5-star Euro NCAP crash rating and recent independent reports suggest that its performance is above average.

Nissan ProPilot is standard on top Tekna models and is worth looking out for. It’s a semi-autonomous safety feature that helps Qashqai drivers stay in lane and keep a fixed distance from the car in front, even in traffic jams. It’s definitely a worthwhile feature if you can find it.

Engine shot of the Nissan Qashqai

Which one is best for you?

Best for economy - Visia 1.5 dCi 115PS

Best for family - Visia 1.3 DIG-T 140PS

Best for fun - Tekna 1.7 dCi 150PS

The Qashqai line-up has always catered well for a wide range of tastes. The entry-level Visia model is a relatively basic spec, although it has a colour infotainment screen and air con as standard.

Most people will want to aim for at least the Acenta spec which adds little luxuries, such as a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone climate control and powered mirrors.

The Qashqai N-Connecta is probably the best value model with its combination of active safety systems and luxury extras. It includes NissanConnect as part of the infotainment system and also has Smart Vision, which is an active safety package with traffic sign recognition, lane departure warning and active emergency braking.

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