New Nissan Qashqai long-term review

A facelift has helped the Nissan Qashqai remain one of the UK's favourite new small SUVs. We'll be running one over the next year to see if that popularity is deserved...

New Nissan Qashqai long-term review
  • The car Nissan Qashqai 1.2 N-Connecta
  • Run by What Car? reviews team
  • Why it’s here To find out if the Qashqai's facelift has improved its everyday driving experience
  • Needs to Prove that a small petrol engine can be just as affordable as a diesel

Price £24,380 Price as tested £25,250 Miles 5189 Official economy 50.4mpg Test economy 35.5mpg Options fitted Heat Pack (£295), metallic paint (£575)

15 February 2018 – a contrast from the past

Exercising might hurt more these days and the hangovers certainly last longer, but I can hardly call myself old at 29, can I? Well, the Nissan Qashqai makes me feel it. Not because I think it’s a car for the elderly – I don’t – but because when I first started at What Car? back in 2011, it was a used first-generation Qashqai I was given to run as my daily driver.

Since then, the Qashqai has evolved through multiple updates into what you see here, and the class it started has become one of the best-selling in the UK. It may have been only twelve years ago, but the wonder with which we beheld this funny SUV seems ridiculous in the context of today’s marketplace.

And in that short time the Qashqai has enjoyed the top spot with us in the family SUV class, winning our overall Car of The Year award in 2014. But, these days, while it remains a very strong contender, there are rivals that offer a more rounded driving and owning experience.

New Nissan Qashqai long-term review

It was on a drive up to Birmingham that I was reminded just how far the Qashqai has come, but also how far everything else in the class has too.

For starters, my used Qashqai had a pretty noisy non-turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine, but Nissan’s latest turbocharged 1.2 is superbly smooth and quiet. It still has to be worked hard, mind, (playing sixth-gear roulette during motorway overtakes is no fun at all) but at least it remains quieter when pushed hard.

Plus, this Qashqai steers better than my old used example, it rides more comfortably, has a far higher-quality interior, more standard equipment and just as much space and practicality. It is a very competent family car.

But gone are the days when the Qashqai’s uniqueness meant it stood out. Now, cars like the Skoda Karoq, Seat Ateca and Peugeot 3008 all offer things that hurt the Qashqai’s appeal: even higher-quality interiors, better infotainment systems, less road and wind noise, sharper handling and keener finance offers. That’s no reason to write-off buying the Nissan, but you’d be foolish not to at least test drive this new breed of rivals before defaulting to the originator.

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here