2021 Nissan Qashqai: what we know so far

The first details of the all-new Nissan Qashqai have been revealed, ahead of it going on sale in the spring, including some unusual engine technology designed to improve efficiency...

Nissan Qashqai rendering

On sale: Spring 2021 | 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.

It's the automotive equivalent of the Apple iPhone and Sky TV, then; neither ripped up the rule book, but both rewrote it for the better. And now Nissan is gearing up to move things on again with the launch of an all-new Qashqai. 

Facing everything from the Seat Ateca and Skoda Karoq to the Audi Q3 and Volvo XC40, the new Qashqai will have a more aggressive look, a high-tech interior and electric power.

2021 Nissan Qashqai

2021 Nissan Qashqai engines

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

And it's an updated version of this engine, with two outputs – 138 and 155bhp – that will be in the new Qashqai. Both of these will make use of mild hybrid technology to improve emissions and fuel economy, and to allow the engine to coast when it’s not under load.

Meanwhile, diesel power has been ditched, and instead there will be a new e-Power version, which will use the 1.3 engine and an electric motor to produce 188bhp. Unlike a conventional hybrid system, which continuously switches between the car’s engine and the electric motor, the e-Power system is a range extender set-up that uses the electric motor to drive the car at all times; the engine is purely there to top up the batteries.

Using a battery pack that’s similar in size to those fitted to pure electric vehicles (EV), the e-Power system is said to provide the instant acceleration of an EV without the anxiety about the car’s range being limited. 

Two and four-wheel-drive versions of the new Qashqai will be offered, with the latter having a more advanced rear suspension set-up.

Nissan iMQ front

2021 Nissan Qashqai styling, interior and safety

Nissan has shown with the latest Juke that it’s willing to offer more aggressive styling. And from the camouflaged images we’ve seen so far, it seems clear that the slim LED headlights and oversized grille of the 2019 iMQ concept car (above) will be key features of the new Qashqai. We also expect some of its tech, such as cameras replacing conventional door mirrors, to be options on 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 brands such as Audi and Land Rover in making its climate controls accessible through a second touchscreen lower down on the centre console. We also expect to see a significantly updated version of Nissan’s Connect infotainment software, with the current Qashqai now well off the pace in this area.

What's certain is that the new Qashqai will get Nissan’s ProPilot driver assistance package. This is able to accelerate and slow the car down in its lane in motorway traffic. What's more, it can read road signs and use sat nav data to keep you at the correct legal speed, and it can automatically slow the car down to an appropriate speed if it’s approaching a corner. 

The new Qashqai is wider and longer than the outgoing car, and it has 50 litres more boot space. That last point is significant because the current car's boot is on the small side.

Nissan iMQ interior

2021 Nissan Qashqai reliability and price

Another thing Nissan will really want to improve with the new Qashqai is reliability. The second-generation model ranked towards the bottom of the family SUV class in our 2020 Reliability Survey.

The Qashqai has traditionally cost slightly less than its key rivals, so while prices will rise, we don’t expect them to increase beyond £23,000. And while that would make the new Qashqai more expensive than the Seat Ateca and Skoda Karoq, the three will be more evenly matched on finance deals.

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The best and worst 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. So here we count down the top 10 – and reveal the one to avoid.

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 >>

See the full top 10 >>