The Nissan Qashqai+2 is a hefty car, so the 1.6-litre petrol and 1.5 diesel engines occasionally have their work cut out. Our favourite is the 1.6 diesel, which is strong enough for the job but still keeps things affordable. For more strength, there are punchier 2.0-litre petrol and diesels models. The diesel’s extra low-rev pull makes it easier to drive. Four-wheel drive is available as an option on the 1.6 diesel and both 2.0-litre engines.
The Qashqai has chunky tyres and supple suspension, so it floats serenely over poor surfaces at any speed. The downside of this bias towards comfort – and of the lofty stance – is that there’s a lot of body lean through bends. However, the Qashqai doesn’t feel untidy because it has decent grip. The steering is a little heavy when parking, but it provides a feeling of stability at speed.
This is one of the Qashqai’s strengths. You hear some wind noise from the oversized door mirrors on the motorway, but road- and suspension-noise is well contained, even over rough surfaces. The 1.5-litre diesel is grumbly around town, but quietens down once you’re cruising.
The Qashqai+2 carries a hefty premium over the standard car because it’s priced to compete with compact MPVs. However, it’s thirstier than the best of these, and costs more to run as a company car. Servicing bills are also fairly high, but it should hold on to its value well.
The Qashqai used to feel a cut above the rest, but now its hard black plastics seem a little dated. That said, the fit and finish are superb, and all the switchgear is solid and well weighted. Nissan has a great reliability record, and the Qashqai had a very impressive showing in the 2012 JD Power customer satisfaction survey.
You get stability control, anti-whiplash front head restraints and front-, side- and curtain airbags, but it’s disappointing that the curtain 'bags don’t extend to protect those in the third row. Deadlocks, a visible VIN and marked mechanical parts make life difficult for thieves.
You sit high in the Qashqai, so get a commanding forward view, while two-way steering wheel adjustment and a driver’s seat that can be cranked up and down make it easy to get comfortable. The seats are squishy, but reasonably supportive, and the dashboard is logically laid out. However, the thick rear pillars restrict over-the-shoulder vision.
The +2 is 211mm longer than a standard Qashqai, so Nissan has been able to squeeze in an extra pair of seats. However, these are suitable only for short journeys because headroom is tight and anyone in them sits with their knees around their ears. To make matters worse, it’s almost as difficult to get to the rear seats as it is to get comfortable in them. However, you do get a big boot when the seats are folded flat, and there’s plenty of room in the first two rows.
All Qashqais are well equipped. Entry-level Visia cars come with air-conditioning, alloy wheels, a CD player, four electric windows and Bluetooth. Step up to Acenta trim for climate control, a CD changer, parking sensors, cruise control, and automatic headlamps and wipers. The n-tec trim gets sat-nav and a panoramic sunroof, n-tec+ trim adds a 360-degree camera to that. Top-end Tekna gets leather upholstery and xenon headlights.
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The Nissan Qashqai+2 1.6 dCi Visia is our favourite version of the Qashqai +2, combining strong performance, good running costs, and decent kit for a reasonable price.