Nissan Qashqai facelift revealed: family SUV gets bold new look

Updated Nissan Qashqai gets a Google-based infotainment system, upgraded parking aids and new looks to compete with a raft of family SUV rivals...

Nissan Qashqai facelift driving front

On sale Summer 2024 | Price from £32,000 (est)

Some products become synonymous with the market they operate in. You don't buy your children any old brand of construction toy, for example, you buy lego; and after a big day out at the beach, only a 99 with a Cadbury's flake will do. Similarly, if you picture a family SUV in your mind’s eye, the car you’ll be staring at is likely to be a Nissan Qashqai.

Despite selling in huge numbers – the Qashqai was the UK’s best-selling new car in March, and is second only to the Ford Puma small SUV in the sales charts so far in 2024 – the Qashqai’s position as the de-facto family SUV is under threat. There’s more competition than ever, whether it be from more traditional models like the Kia Sportage or Volvo XC40 – the former being our reigning champion in this market – or from electric alternatives like the Genesis GV60 and Skoda Enyaq iV. In the face of stiff competition, then, the Qashqai has been treated to a facelift both inside and out, and benefits from a big overhaul of technology.

Nissan Qashqai driving rear

You won’t struggle to tell the facelifted Qashqai apart from the current car. Gone are the angular front-end design flourishes and flashes of chrome detailing which adorn today’s Qashqai, to be replaced by a more bulbous front end with a large grille inspired by the scales of traditional Japanese armour, razor-thin LED light strips and a high bonnet line. 

Changes to the Qashqai’s sides and rear are less radical, but include a redesigned rear bumper, new lights with dynamic indicators, and new gloss black trim underneath the doors and wheel arches on high-end models. 

Depending on which specification you choose, alloy wheel sizes range from 18-20in, while the Qashqai’s colour palette has expanded with new paint choices. Five of those colours are available in two-tone form, with a black roof contrasting with the rest of the car.

It’s all change inside the Qashqai, too, with the centrepiece of this facelifted car being a new Google-powered infotainment system shown on a lower and wider infotainment screen. We’ve been critical of the current Qashqai’s setup, because low-end trims feature a system which looks very basic by modern standards, and rivals offer both more features and faster responses. In the Kia Sportage, for example, the 12.3in screen you get on anything other than entry level cars is quick to respond and looks swish, while the Mazda CX-5 gets extra points for usability thanks to its rotary controller, which makes its system easier to use on the move.

Nissan Qashqai driving side

The facelifted car aims to address those concerns with better connectivity, starting with Google Maps built into a new 12.3in screen, and a system which allows Google account owners to transfer saved locations and points of interest between their phones and the car. There’s also Google’s voice assistant, which lets drivers change various functions by saying ‘Hey Google’ to their car, plus systems which can remind you to close the windows or lock the car from your smartphone if you’ve forgotten to do so. 

In the latest Volvo EC40 electric SUV, which also features a Google-based infotainment system, we found the setup was good at recognising natural speech, but that some of its icons were too small to hit accurately on the move.

While the Qashqai won’t be available with an AI chatbot from the outset, Nissan’s collaboration with Google could see the latter’s Gemini service added at a later date, letting the system interact with drivers even more – for example, re-routing you to a different supermarket if the one you usually visit is due to shut soon.

Alongside its new infotainment system, Nissan’s suite of cameras to help you manoeuvre and park have also been updated, and can now offer you a birds-eye view of the Qashqai when you select reverse, show an extended view of what’s in front of you when exiting junctions, or give you a view of the front wheels as if from above them – useful if you’re prone to car park scrapes or accidentally mounting the kerb.

2024 Nissan Qashqai interior

Additionally, changes to the Qashqa’s digital instruments – presented in a 12.3in cluster – include colour shifts depending on whether you select eco or sports driving modes, plus a new ‘minimal’ mode which strips away all but the most necessary information.

Pleasingly, the Qashqai retains physical climate controls, which are easier to operate on the move than the touchscreen setups of some rivals. In the Volkswagen Tiguan, for example, you have to press the screen or use voice control to adjust the temperature.

While there wasn’t much wrong with the current Qashqai’s interior quality, rivals including the Sportage and Peugeot 3008 feel more premium, so to fight back, upper trims of the Qashqai now feature Alcantara leather over most surfaces, as well as new seat materials designed to offer more comfort. Elsewhere, mid-range models get ambient interior lighting, which can be personalised to suit your mood via the infotainment screen.

There’s no change to the engine options you can have with the Qashqai, meaning our preferred choice is likely to remain the cheapest 138bhp 1.3-litre petrol, badged as the DIG-T 140. It offers decent performance for most situations, with the 0-60mph sprint taking 10.1sec.

While the 156bhp DIG-T 158 1.3-litre engine is faster on paper, with the 0-60mph sprint cut down to 9.5sec, it doesn’t feel that much quicker in real-world conditions, so we’d save our money. 

Both engines feature mild hybrid technology, which offers small amounts of electrical assistance, and helped the higher-powered engine to record a respectable 40.1mpg in our real-world fuel tests.

2024 Nissan Qashqai infotainment

If you want to go green but aren’t ready to commit to a fully electric SUV, then the Qashqai’s e-Power option might appeal. This features a 187bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine which acts as a generator for a battery, meaning electricity is what turns the car’s wheels, but there’s no need to plug it in to recharge. You benefit from electric car-like acceleration around town, and the 53.3mpg it returns according to official figures should make it the cheapest Qashqai to run. Relatively low C02 emissions of 121g/km make this the Qashqai to go for if you’re a company car driver, too. There’s no fully electric Qashqai, with that role having been filled by the Nissan Ariya electric SUV.

Similarly, how much space you get inside the Qashqai hasn’t changed, but that’s no bad thing. We like that the rear doors open wide, giving you plenty of room to clamber inside, and once seated your passengers will have decent head  room – especially if you avoid the optional panoramic roof – and leg room. While three tall adults will find more comfort in the Sportage or Skoda Karoq, a couple of six-footers will be just fine on the rear bench.

It’s the same story with the boot, because while the Karoq can officially take more luggage than the Qashqai, it’s only by a slim margin, and we suspect that the Qashqai’s 504-litre space will be perfectly fine for most families. It’s still a shame, though, that if you need to liberate more space, the Qashqai’s rear bench only splits and folds in a 60/40 arrangement, rather than the more helpful 40/20/40 split offered by the Audi Q3.

2024 Nissan Qashqai boot

The Qashqai already holds a five-star safety rating from when it was last tested by Euro NCAP in 2019, but its suite of safety aids has now been upgraded to include autonomous emergency braking which reacts faster to hazards. There’s also an emergency lane-keeping system which is started automatically when you step inside, and which can warn you if you stray over lane markings by vibrating the steering wheel. Plus, a system which previously flashed an icon at you if you stray over the speed limit will also now sound an alarm – though drivers can personalise this and the other safety systems by creating a custom driver mode.

A new N-Design trim level is joining the Qashqai’s line-up, which will range from entry-level Acenta Premium, through mid-range N-Connecta and top out with Tekna. N-Design cars will feature body-coloured lower trim pieces, plus 20in alloys with a bespoke design. Our favourite trim is likely to remain N-Connecta, because it comes with all of the kit you’re likely to want, but should still keep costs sensible.

2024 Nissan Qashqai driving front

Speaking of costs, prices for this updated Qashqai have yet to be revealed, but given its new looks and upgraded technology, we’d expect them to start from around £32,000. That will make the Qashqai more expensive than its Karoq and Sportage rivals, but you can expect all three to be more closely matched on monthly PCP finance costs. Plus, like its rivals, Nissan regularly offers discounts, with savings of up to £4306 being available on the Qashqai through our free New Car Deals service at the time of writing.

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