Nissan Qashqai long-term test: report 2

The Nissan Qashqai is one of the best selling family SUVs, but is its popularity deserved? We're living with one to find out...

Nissan Qashqai 2021 long-term Bluebird

The car Nissan Qashqai N-Connecta DIG-T MH 158 XTronic Run by John Bradshaw, chief photographer

Why it’s here To see if one of Britain's most popular family SUVs can cut it as an all-weather, all-purpose workhorse 

Needs to Carry heavy, bulky equipment all over the country while being comfy, safe and economical

Mileage 2655 List price £31,510 Target Price £29,933 Price as tested £33,050 Test economy 39.9mpg Official economy 44.3mpg 

5 March 2022 – The Qashqai heads home

I recently took a road trip that represented a homecoming for my Nissan Qashqai – and a bit of a pilgrimage. I took it to the Nissan factory in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, where the Qashqai is among the models built, and from where it is exported to points all over the globe.

Nissan Qashqai 2021 long-term Sunderland

More than 3.5 million Qashqais have been built in Sunderland since the first version went on sale in 2007, and that vast number means that this family SUV has accounted for one in every five cars manufactured in the whole of the UK since then.

That’s pretty astonishing, but from what I can see in mine, the workforce certainly doesn’t throw these things together in a rush. Not only is everything inside very solidly built, but the materials used where my fingers most frequently roam are classy enough to put me in mind of something far posher.

Okay, prestige models like the BMW X1 and Volvo XC40 are even smarter, but the Qashqai certainly nips at the heels of direct rivals like the Mazda CX-30 and Peugeot 3008.

Nissan Qashqai 2022 long-term interior trim

I’d also say that the same is true on the outside. Yes, the latest, third-generation Qashqai is bound to quickly become a very familiar sight on our roads, but that won’t make it any less distinctive. It’s a far more striking and desirable-looking car than its predecessors, and indeed its distant antecedent, the Nissan Bluebird.

It was actually with the ‘Bluey’ that Nissan production in the UK began, and some of the folk who build the Qashqai today were there when the Bluebird was current. The rainbow- decorated example in these pictures is a bit special, though; it has been brought bang up to date with the mechanicals of the Nissan Leaf electric car, which is also built in Sunderland.

My Qashqai still relies on petrol for power, of course, but it, too, is electrified, with mild hybrid assistance helping to take the edge off fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. And I’d say it’s working; on my long trip up North, the computer said I averaged 44.9mpg. Pretty good for a sizeable petrol-powered car.

Nissan Qashqai 2022 long-term exterior badge

Comfort also impressed; while the ride is a bit on the firm side around town, it settles down on the motorway and the car doesn’t squirm around when the surface is uneven.

My only gripe is that the stereo is a bit too weedy to do full justice to music at motorway speeds, even though the Qashqai is far from a noisy cruiser. It’s enough of an issue to make me think I’d upgrade to the optional 10-speaker Bose premium system (£500) if I had my time again, then it would tick even more boxes.

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