First Drive

2014 Nissan Qashqai review

  • All-new Nissan Qashqai driven
  • Sleeker, classier and more efficient
  • On sale now, priced from Β£17,595
Words BySteve Huntingford

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The original Nissan Qashqai was something of a trailblazer, blending tough 4x4 looks with family hatchback running costs.

The formula was an instant hit with style-conscious buyers, the Qashqai quickly becoming one of Britain’s best-selling cars. However, its success didn’t go unnoticed by rival manufacturers, so this new Qashqai is entering a market that’s never been more competitive.

Prices have risen slightly, but the 2014 Nissan Qashqai should be even cheaper to run than its predecessor, with the entry-level diesel version emitting just 99g/km of CO2.

What’s the 2014 Nissan Qashqai like to drive?

Small SUVs are rarely that fun to drive. However, the Qashqai controls its body movements surprisingly well through corners, and its steering weights up reassuringly as you turn the wheel.

Don’t go thinking that this secure handling comes at the expense of comfort, either. While the ride can be a bit jittery on patched-up town roads, it smoothes out nicely on motorways and fast A-roads, and feels beautifully damped over speed bumps.

The cheapest engine option is a turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol, which is best suited to urban driving. On faster roads you have to work it hard to keep up with traffic, although it does stay impressively smooth and quiet when you do rev it.

The Qashqai is also available with 1.5- and 1.6-litre diesel engines, and it’s the 1.5 that strikes the best balance between performance and affordability. It pulls pretty strongly, as long as you keep the revs above about 1500rpm. What’s more, it’s quieter than rival diesel engines, and officially at least, averages over 70mpg.

The pricier 1.6 offers slightly more power and torque - useful when the car is loaded with a family and their luggage - but it’s a little gruffer than the 1.5 and you can feel some vibration through the pedals when accelerating.

On the up side, it settles down once you've reached your cruising speed, and the Qashqai is brilliant at shutting out wind and road noise. It’s a very refined car full stop, not just by the standard of this class.

Only the gearshift lets the side down a bit. This has a long throw that makes it feel like you’re reaching into the back of the car whenever you select one of the even-numbered gears. That said, it’s better than the optional CVT auto, which feels like it’s out of sync with the engine.

What’s the 2014 Nissan Qashqai like inside?

A good driving position is essential in any car, and the Qashqai gets most things right. There’s lots of adjustment for the seat and steering wheel, along with well-positioned pedals and easy-to-read dials.

Things aren’t perfect, though, because the pillars are thick to both the front and the rear. You’re forced to peer around them at junctions, and reversing is tricky on versions without parking sensors.

The perceived quality of the cabin is far more impressive because there are lots of classy, soft-touch plastics and piano-black trim.

You also get buttons and switches that operate with a solid action, while the dashboard is simple to use, whether you have the standard layout or the touch-screen infotainment system that’s fitted to more expensive versions.

Practicality is another strength of the latest Qashqai. There’s loads of leg- and headroom in the front and the back, while the boot is one of the biggest in the small SUV class.

False floor panels let you change the load height or divide up the boot space. With these panels in their highest setting, you can store the parcel shelf underneath them.

Should I buy one?

The outgoing Qashqai was always going to be a tough act to follow, but Nissan has managed to improve this new version in almost every respect.

It’s one of the quietest and classiest cars of its kind, as well as one of the most practical and best to drive. Yes, it’s more expensive than some rivals, but it’s worth the extra, especially when you consider how well it’s likely to hold on to its value.

By Steve Huntingford and Rory White

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Nissan Qashqai 1.2 DIG-T 2WD
Engine size 1.2-litre turbo petrol
Price from Β£17,595
Power 114bhp
Torque 140lb ft
0-62mph 11.3 seconds
Top speed 114mph
Fuel economy 50.4mpg
CO2 129g/km

Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi 2WD
Engine size 1.5-litre diesel
Price from Β£19,290
Power 109bhp
Torque 192lb ft
0-62mph 10.7 seconds
Top speed 113mph
Fuel economy 74.3mpg
CO2 99g/km

Nissan Qashqai 1.6 dCi 2WD
Engine size 1.6-litre diesel
Price from Β£21,045
Power 129bhp
Torque 236lb ft
0-62mph 10.5 seconds
Top speed 118mph
Fuel economy 64.2mpg
CO2 115g/km

Nissan Qashqai 1.6 dCi 4WD
Engine size 1.6-litre diesel
Price from Β£15,695
Power 129bhp
Torque 236lb ft
0-62mph 10.9 seconds
Top speed 118mph
Fuel economy 57.6mpg
CO2 129g/km