Nissan Qashqai long-term test
The Qashqai is one of the best-selling family SUVs, but is its popularity deserved? We're living with one to find out...
The car Nissan Qashqai DIG-T MH 158 XTronic N-Connecta 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 16,605 List price £33,135 Target price £29,835 Price as tested £33,650 Test economy 42.5 mpg Official economy 44.3 mpg Running costs (excluding depreciation) Fuel £3002 Trade-in value now £24,701 Dealer price now £28,042 Private price now £24,926
3 October 2022 – The Qashqai shows its hand
Well, no doubt the fact that it’s a smart-looking SUV with a bit of road presence earns it a few points when it comes to being fashionable, and the fact that you can buy one at a hefty discount adds to its attraction, but the undeniable fact is that it’s one of life’s all round safe bets. A Jack of all trades, if you like. Day-to-day, it’ll accomplish any task you throw at it. It ticks all the boxes and is always able to help you out of a hole.
So that’s it, right? Full marks on the report card? Well, not quite. You see, while it's comfortably in the top school set for most subjects, it doesn’t show class-leading talent in any of them. Competence, yes, very much so, but excellence? Not really.
From the driving seat, the dashboard looks smarter than the family SUV average, and it’s very nicely put together. But it falls short of the feeling of luxury that its Mazda CX-30 and Peugeot 3008 rivals impart. The same is true when it comes to practicality. The doors open nice and wide and few families will find it tight on space; four six-footers can travel together without feeling like sardines in a can. They’ll not be able to really stretch out, though – the Hyundai Tucson upstages it in this regard.
When it comes to handling luggage, it really strives to help, providing handy features such as a removable false floor with carpet on one side and a wipe-clean surface on the other. There are also configurable planks that enable you to divide the well beneath the floor to keep your bits and bobs in order. It’s a shame, though, that the well doesn’t extend the full depth of the boot – it ends several inches short of the rear seat. And, while decent, the boot itself is smaller than you get in the Seat Ateca or Skoda Karoq, and doesn’t have the latter’s flexibility; avail yourself of the Karoq’s clever Varioflex feature and you can slide the rear seats to and fro to balance luggage space against passenger room.
A smooth ride is one of the model’s highlights, though. It left me feeling pretty fresh and relaxed at the end of long motorway runs, such as from West London to Helmsley, North Yorkshire, and it fares pretty well at lower speeds and on cratered urban roads, too. However, while it’s a painless way to get to your destination, it doesn’t do much to entertain you en route. The steering is lifeless and the car leans a bit in corners if you’re carrying a bit of speed, and there’s a noticeable lag between pressing the accelerator pedal and power being delivered. It feels like it doesn’t want to be rushed.
And speaking of getting to your destination, the sat-nav often frustrated, getting me close to my target but not quite there. Yes, the standard fit Apple CarPlay and Android Auto meant I had Google Maps or Waze to fall back on, but it would make life easier if I didn't have to.
I will miss some of the more thoughtful features, though. The way that the washer fluid is dispensed via the blades themselves rather than through a nozzle on the bonnet seems a particularly effective way of cleaning the screen, and I enjoyed not having to remove a smelly petrol cap when topping up; thanks to a clever one-way valve, you just pop the filler door open and fill up. And let's not forget a particular virtue that charms buyers into this and other family SUVs; an elevated driving position that provides a great view out and instils a feeling of security. It’s also proven reasonably economical over my time with it; an average of 42.5mpg isn’t far adrift of the official 44.3mpg figure.
Overall, I can understand why so many choose a Nissan Qashqai. It’s a great all-rounder at a reasonable price, and it’s smart enough to make you feel proud to have it parked outside your house. A sound choice if you want versatile family transport. It’s just a shame it isn’t more fun to drive, and that's a shortcoming that I'm planning to resolve with my next car.
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