2021 Nissan Qashqai family SUV: what we know so far

The next-generation Nissan Qashqai will feature hybrid power and a high-tech interior...

Nissan IMQ Reader Award

On sale: Late 2020 | Price from: £23,000 (est)

Although the Nissan Qashqai wasn’t the first family SUV, it was the first to popularise the idea that an SUV doesn't need to be a heavy, four-wheel-drive off-roader that's expensive to run.

That puts it into the same league as the Apple iPhone and Sky TV in terms of innovation, then; they weren’t the first products in their respective markets, but they changed the game for the better. And now Nissan is gearing up to move things on yet again with the launch of an all-new Qashqai next year. 

Facing everything from the Seat Ateca and Skoda Karoq to the Volvo XC40 and Audi Q3, the new Qashqai will have an aggressive look, inspired by this year’s iMQ concept car, a high-tech interior and electric power.

The new Nissan Qashqai is one of 12 cars nominated for the 2020 What Car? Reader Award. To see all of the contenders and have your say on which is most exciting, just head over to the voting site.

Nissan iMQ rear

2020 Nissan Qashqai engines

The iMQ concept has two electric motors that together send 335bhp to all four wheels. Instead of needing to be plugged in, it uses a small 1.5-litre petrol engine to keep its battery topped up. Importantly, though, this engine never directly drives the car.

It’s expected that as well as multiple hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the new Qashqai, Nissan will continue to offer conventional petrol and diesel models. A fully electric version is still under discussion. 

In the current Qashqai, it’s the entry-level 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine that we recommend, for its flexibility and decent fuel economy.

Nissan iMQ interior

2020 Nissan Qashqai styling and interior

While the design of the iMQ concept will be toned down on its journey to production, Nissan has shown with the new Juke that it’s willing to offer more aggressive styling. Indeed, the iMQ’s slim LED headlights and oversized grille are likely to be key features of the new Qashqai. Some things, such as cameras replacing conventional door mirrors, are likely to remain at least for high-end versions.

Inside, expect to see improved material quality, plus a digital instrument display in place of analogue dials and at least one central touchscreen. Nissan could well follow premium rivals such as Audi and Land Rover in making its climate controls accessible through a second touchscreen lower down on the centre console. Also expect to see a significantly updated version of Nissan’s Connect infotainment software; that in the current Qashqai falls behind the competition in terms of both the features it offers and its graphics.

The new Qashqai is also set to be more spacious than today's model, with greater head and leg room for passengers and more boot space. That's good, because the current Qashqai is outclassed by newer rivals such as the Karoq when it comes to how much luggage it can hold.

Nissan iMQ side

2020 Nissan Qashqai reliability and price

One thing Nissan will really want to improve about the Qashqai is reliability. The current model ranks towards the bottom of the family SUV class, with scores of 83.3% for diesels and 82.0% for petrols. Key rivals including the Seat Ateca, Peugeot 3008 and Kia Sportage all perform much better. Nissan as a whole finished 28th out of 31 brands.

The Qashqai has traditionally been priced slightly below its key rivals, so while prices will rise above the £20,195 of today’s car, we wouldn’t expect them to increase beyond £23,000. And while that would make the new Qashqai more expensive than the Skoda Karoq and Seat Ateca, the three will be more evenly matched on finance deals. As an example of what discounts might save you in time, too, What Car? New Car Buying can currently net you a saving of up to £4655 on a Qashqai.

At the moment, the new Qashqai is set to be built in Sunderland. However, Nissan has said that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, it would review all of its options when it comes to building the big-selling SUV.

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The best family SUVs

If you don't want to wait for the new Nissan Qashqai, you'll want to know which family SUVs deserve a space on your shortlist and which you should avoid. And that's just what we've done in this next story.


10. Kia Sportage

Save money on a new Kia Sportage with What Car? >>

Kia Sportage 2019 RHD front right cornering

Stick to the lower trims and the Sportage is good value, giving you a lot of space and equipment for your money. It isn't as good at dealing with bumpy roads as the very best family SUVs, though, while the engines can be noisy and aren't especially frugal.

Read our full Kia Sportage review >>

9. Nissan Qashqai

Save money on a new Nissan Qashqai with What Car? >>

Nissan Qashqai

The Qashqai is the car that started the trend for mainstream family SUVs and, as hard as it is to believe now, it was seen as something of a gamble when it was first introduced in 2007. Fortunately for Nissan, the blend of an elevated driving position and stylish looks made the Qashqai a huge hit. And while it's been surpassed by several rivals in the last couple of years, it remains a sound proposition, particularly if you choose the quiet and efficient 1.3-litre petrol version.

Read our full Nissan Qashqai review >>

8. Audi Q3

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Audi Q3

Audi's second-generation Q3 offers a high-tech interior with plenty of space for both passengers and luggage. It's a decent car to drive, too, with composed handling and accurate steering. However, the ride can be a little firm and some of the bigger-selling engines can sound rough.

Read our full Audi Q3 review >>

Next: more of our favourite family SUVs >>

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