New Nissan Qashqai review

Category: Family SUV

The Qashqai has been updated with new tech for 2024 and remains a strong contender among family SUVs

Nissan Qashqai front cornering
  • Nissan Qashqai front cornering
  • Nissan Qashqai rear cornering
  • Nissan Qashqai dashboard
  • Nissan Qashqai boot open
  • Nissan Qashqai driver display
  • Nissan Qashqai right driving
  • Nissan Qashqai front driving
  • Nissan Qashqai front cornering
  • Nissan Qashqai overhead cornering
  • Nissan Qashqai overhead rear cornering
  • Nissan Qashqai front right static
  • Nissan Qashqai headlights detail
  • Nissan Qashqai alloy wheel detail
  • Nissan Qashqai rear roof detail
  • Nissan Qashqai rear detail
  • Nissan Qashqai front seats
  • Nissan Qashqai back seats
  • Nissan Qashqai steering wheel detail
  • Nissan Qashqai infotainment touchscreen
  • Nissan Qashqai air-con controls
  • Nissan Qashqai interior detail
  • Nissan Qashqai interior detail
  • Nissan Qashqai boot open seats down
  • Nissan Qashqai front cornering
  • Nissan Qashqai rear cornering
  • Nissan Qashqai dashboard
  • Nissan Qashqai boot open
  • Nissan Qashqai driver display
  • Nissan Qashqai right driving
  • Nissan Qashqai front driving
  • Nissan Qashqai front cornering
  • Nissan Qashqai overhead cornering
  • Nissan Qashqai overhead rear cornering
  • Nissan Qashqai front right static
  • Nissan Qashqai headlights detail
  • Nissan Qashqai alloy wheel detail
  • Nissan Qashqai rear roof detail
  • Nissan Qashqai rear detail
  • Nissan Qashqai front seats
  • Nissan Qashqai back seats
  • Nissan Qashqai steering wheel detail
  • Nissan Qashqai infotainment touchscreen
  • Nissan Qashqai air-con controls
  • Nissan Qashqai interior detail
  • Nissan Qashqai interior detail
  • Nissan Qashqai boot open seats down
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Introduction

What Car? says...

The Nissan Qashqai is the car credited with starting the seemingly unstoppable family SUV trend and most manufacturers you can name have followed its lead with a rival model.

For the Qashqai, that means hot competition: it's had to evolve to stay at or near the top of its class. To keep it fighting fit Nissan has armed this third-generation car with new technology and engines while retaining the qualities that made it popular in the first place.

That's not all – the Qashqai has also been given a 2024 facelift designed to breathe new life into its challenge to the best family SUVs. The latest changes include styling tweaks inside and out, as well as upgrades to the infotainment system and other tech.

The question now is, does the Nissan Qashqai still rule its class or has a young pretender stolen its crown? Is it as spacious as the Kia Sportage or Skoda Karoq or as fun to drive as the Seat Ateca? And can its top trims rival the premium-feel of the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Volvo XC40? Let's find out...

Overview

The Nissan Qashqai remains a strong contender in the family SUV class but doesn’t quite match the all-round package offered by the Kia Sportage and Skoda Karoq. We think you’re best off sticking with the mid-spec N-Connecta trim and the DIG-T 140 engine because it gives the best mix of equipment and value for money.

  • Lots of standard safety kit
  • Great driving position
  • Smart interior
  • So-so performance
  • Some rivals are more fun to drive
  • Lacks the seating flexibility of many rivals
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Nissan Qashqai 1.3 DiG-T MH N-Connecta 5dr review
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Strengths

  • +Good body control
  • +Decent refinement
  • +Comfortable ride on smaller wheels

Weaknesses

  • -Not particularly nippy
  • -Rivals are more fun to drive

Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox

You can have the Nissan Qashqai with one of two 1.3 DIG-T petrol engines or the e-Power, which uses its engine to power an electric generator rather than the wheels.

The 138bhp DIG-T 140 and 156bhp DIG-T 158 (with get mild-hybrid tech) are a bit languid at low revs, pausing slightly when you ask for more power, but if you drop down a gear (on manual versions) you'll have the oomph to pass slower cars safely and get up to motorway speeds.

The DIG-T 158 officially sprints from 0-62mph in 9.5 seconds and the DIG-T 140 takes 10.1 seconds. You won’t really notice any difference in performance between the two, so we’d stick with the cheaper 140.

At the top of the range sits the Qashqai e-Power, which has been designed to let people dip their toes into the world of electric cars without having to do any charging or worrying about range.

Its 187bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine generates electricity and sends it to the electric motor that drives the wheels, for electric car-like instant acceleration (0-62mph takes 7.9 seconds).

Suspension and ride comfort

The Qashqai is available with wheels ranging from 17in to 20in, and the choice you make will have a big impact on ride comfort.

We think the sweet spot is the 18in wheels that come with our favourite N-Connecta trim. With those equipped, the suspension deals with scruffy surfaces at low speeds well and comfort isn’t far behind the Skoda Karoq.

Nissan Qashqai image
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We’d suggest avoiding the 19in and 20in wheels on the higher trims if comfort is important to you. With those larger wheels fitted, the Qashqai makes more of a fuss of bumps as they pass under the car, leading to a bit of fidget faster roads.

If you go for N-Design, Tekna+ trim or equip the top-spec engine with optional four-wheel drive you get more sophisticated suspension that helps to mitigate the effect of the larger wheels.

Nissan Qashqai rear cornering

Handling

Nissan would like us to believe that the Qashqai is fun to drive. We’re not convinced about that, because it's not as rewarding or capable as some rival family SUVs including the Seat Ateca and Toyota C-HR.

We’d like a slightly better sense of connection with the front wheels through the steering wheel to give more confidence. That would be helped by a bit more initial steering weight and the wheel returning naturally to centre more positively on the way out of faster corners. That said, the light steering works well around town.

While there's more body lean than in the Ateca, the Qashqai isn't wallowy, and there's a healthy reserve of grip if you need it.

Noise and vibration

No matter which engine you go for, the Qashqai is hushed at low revs and more muted than the Ateca and Karoq petrols when worked hard. Versions with 19in or 20in wheels suffer from a fair bit of road noise, but the 18in ones are much quieter. There’s a bit of wind noise at motorway speeds, caused by the big door mirrors but, on the whole, refinement is good.

The standard six-speed manual gearbox is easy enough to use, giving a light yet positive change that makes it simple to find the right gear. The DIG-T 158 engine is also available with an automatic gearbox that's smooth and responsive enough for most situations.

The e-Power system has a specific advantage, not just over other Qashqais but over many other hybrid cars. Because it has no gearbox, with the wheels being powered by an electric motor, you never have to worry about it hunting for gears like the hybrid Kia Sportage does when you put your foot down.

“The automatic gearbox, called Xtronic, is smooth and I found it helps to contribute to impressive refinement.” – Will Nightingale, Reviews Editor

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

Strengths

  • +Great driving position
  • +Pleasant interior
  • +Impressive build quality

Weaknesses

  • -Limited rear visibility
  • -Rivals have better infotainment

Driving position and dashboard

The driving position in the Nissan Qashqai is superb. The driver's seat is comfy, and it lines up well with the pedals, and the height and reach adjustable steering wheel. You get manually adjustable lumbar support as standard, while N-Design, Tekna and Tekna+ models add full electric seat adjustment. The Tekna+ even has seat memory settings and a massage function.

You feel as though you’re sitting higher up from the road than you do in a conventional hatchback (or the Seat Ateca for that matter), which is something most SUV fans will appreciate.

The dashboard includes chunky controls for the air conditioning that are easy to find while you’re driving. If you go for N-Connecta trim or above, the 7.0in digital screen and analogue instrument dials behind the steering wheel are replaced with an entirely digital 12.3in driver's display that's bright and easy to read. Tekna and Tekna+ get a large head-up display.

Visibility, parking sensors and cameras

Seeing out of the front and sides of the Qashqai isn’t too tricky, although the Skoda Karoq has slightly less obstructive windscreen pillars.

The Karoq also gives you better rear visibility because of its generous rear glass area. The Qashqai, along with many other rivals, has a swept-up rear window line and wider rear pillars, which hamper the over-the-shoulder view.

Reversing isn’t too much of a challenge because even entry-level Acenta Premium models come with rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera, while going for N-Connecta trim or above swaps that for a 360-degree bird’s eye view camera and adds front parking sensors.

All versions have LED headlights, and they're adaptive on N-Design, Tekna and Tekna+ trim and above, so you can leave them on high beam without dazzling other drivers.

Nissan Qashqai dashboard

Sat nav and infotainment

Every Qashqai now comes with a new 12.3in touchscreen infotainment system, which is a little more polished than its previous infotainment systems.

On all but the entry-level trim it comes with Google Maps, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa built in, which means the sat-nav app and voice command function are impressively easy and helpful to use. Acenta Premium models don’t have the Google features, but get do get wired Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring (it's wireless for the rest of the line-up).

Swiping between menus on the infotainment system itself can be clunky and the graphics still look a little dated – it’s nowhere near as good as the iDrive system in the BMW X1 (our favourite in the family SUV class).

Quality

The Qashqai’s interior looks smart and feels well put together compared with many of its mainstream rivals'.

Stitched faux-leather panels on the dashboard and doors give the ambience a welcome lift, there’s a big choice of ambient interior lighting colour on all but the entry-level trim, and most of the knobs, buttons and switches on the dashboard feel well-engineered.

The Karoq is just as good, while the Mazda CX-30 and Peugeot 3008 are even more upmarket inside (although the margins aren’t huge). Indeed, if you want a family SUV that has a notably plusher interior, you’ll need to fork out for a BMW X1 or Volvo XC40.

“I found myself relying on Apple CarPlay to get around the shortcomings of the Qashqai’s infotainment.” – Neil Winn, Deputy Reviews Editor

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

Strengths

  • +Plenty of front space
  • +Rear doors open helpfully wide
  • +Decent rear space

Weaknesses

  • -Rivals have bigger boots
  • -Rear seats are not very versatile

Front space

There’s decent space for adults in the front of the Nissan Qashqai, with more than enough leg room and enough head room for six-footers to sit in comfort. That’s true even if you go for models fitted with a panoramic glass roof (from N-Design and Tekna), which lowers the ceiling a little.

The interior is a good width, meaning that even a pair of broad rugby players won’t need to worry about constantly rubbing shoulders.

Elsewhere, you’ll find a reasonable-sized glovebox, a cubby beneath the front centre armrest and a couple of cupholders. The front door bins aren't particularly generous though.

Rear space

Getting in and out of the Qashqai's back seats is easy thanks to rear doors that open really wide. That's also a blessing if you’re putting kids in child seats.

The rear seats are reasonably roomy by class standards, with good head room (especially if you avoid versions with a panoramic roof) and a fair amount of knee room for the two outer passengers. Two six-footers will fit just fine. Three tall adults will find it more of a squeeze and the raised centre seat means there's less head room for the middle passenger.

If you need to carry three adults in the back regularly, try the Seat Ateca or Skoda Karoq which have a bit more space all around, or the Hyundai Tucson – one of the most accommodating cars in the family SUV class for rear passengers.

The door bins are small, and you only get map pockets and a rear armrest from N-Connecta up.

Nissan Qashqai boot open

Seat folding and flexibility

The Qashqai's rear seatbacks fold down in a traditional 60/40 split rather than the more versatile 40/20/40 split offered by rivals including the Audi Q3.

The seats don’t do anything else clever, such as sliding back and forth or reclining. Some versions of the Karoq offer those features, and even let you remove the rear seats entirely.

There are no handles in the Qashqai's boot to release the rear seatbacks, which you do get with some rivals, including the Ateca. You have to open each rear door to access a release catch on top of the seatback then haul the seatback forwards yourself.

Boot space

The Qashqai's 504-litre litre boot doesn't offer quite as much luggage space as the Ateca or Karoq, but the margins are quite small. Its load bay will take a handy tally of seven carry-on suitcases below the parcel shelf, while the Ateca can swallow eight and the Karoq up to nine.

It's worth noting that the Qashqai in Tekna+ trim has a slightly smaller boot than other models.

The false boot floor, which features on all but entry-level Visia trim, can be raised when you don’t need maximum luggage capacity, reducing the lip at the entrance.

One side of the false floor is carpeted, but if you flip it over you’ll find a wipe-clean surface that’s handy if you’re carrying muddy boots. The floor is in two sections, and you can slot it vertically across the centre of the boot to create a divider to stop your shopping sliding around.

“The reversible planks in the boot are great. They’re carpeted on one side, whilst the other is wipe-clean. I found it made the boot easy to scrub after carrying my muddy walking boots. – Dan Jones, Reviewer

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Strengths

  • +Lots of standard safety kit
  • +Slow depreciation
  • +Well equipped

Weaknesses

  • -Not particularly efficient
  • -Expensive top trims

Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2

Broadly speaking, the mild-hybrid Nissan Qashqais are priced in line with the Kia Sportage, Seat Ateca and Skoda Karoq. Opting for the e-Power version adds a small premium on top of the mild-hybrid prices, making even the entry-level e-Power cost about the same as a Kia Sportage hybrid in GT-Line trim.

You’re unlikely to get as big a discount as you will with rivals, but the Qashqai is predicted to depreciate more slowly over three years of ownership.

The pricing towards the top-end of the Qashqai line-up makes those versions harder to recommend because they're in the territory of premium-badged family SUVs (the Volvo XC40 for example). The same is true if you’re buying on a monthly PCP finance deal.

When it comes to running costs, in our Real MPG tests the DIG-T 158 averaged 40.1mpg – a respectable if not outstanding figure. The lesser powered DIG-T 140 is officially less frugal, but not by much. The e-Power will manage 53.3mpg. However, in real-world driving over long journeys you’re unlikely to achieve that figure, so it would take a lot of mileage to justify its extra cost over the mild-hybrid versions.

If you’re hunting for a company car that attracts low benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax bills, we’d suggest looking at a plug-in hybrid such as the BYD Seal U-DMi or, if your lifestyle allows, an electric SUV such as the Skoda Enyaq.

Equipment, options and extras

Entry-level Acenta Premium is pretty well equipped, coming with parking aids, a reversing camera and dual-zone climate control.

But the most popular option is expected to be N-Connecta, and we reckon that’s the best bet. As well as 18in wheels and extra visibility aids, you also get wireless smartphone mirroring, a fully digital driver display, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and ambient interior lighting.

N-Design is a style-focused choice, coming with some gloss-black finishes on the outside, but it costs the same as Tekna and gets less equipment so it’s hard to recommend.

Tekna is worth considering if you want an electric tailgate, a head-up display or a heated steering wheel, windscreen and front seats.

Tekna+ is too pricey to recommend, although it does get you quilted leather massaging seats.

Nissan Qashqai driver display

Reliability

In the 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey the Qashqai performed pretty well against its peers in the family SUV table, finishing within the top third of the rankings, and above the Seat Ateca, Kia Sportage and Volvo XC40. Indeed, of its direct rivals, only the Toyota C-HR and Skoda Karoq scored better. 

Nissan as brand didn’t perform quite as well, claiming 19th place out of the 32 included manufacturers. That places it below Hyundai, Kia, Volvo, Citroen, Ford, Seat and Skoda. 

In case things do go wrong, Nissan offers a three-year/ 60,000-mile standard warranty, but that’s pretty par for the course. Hyundai, Kia and Toyota all offer longer warranties.

Safety and security

The latest Qashqai scored five stars out of five when it was appraised for safety by Euro NCAP in 2019. The results show that the model did well at protecting adults and children, scoring a "marginal" in only one area. 

There’s plenty of standard safety kit, with even entry-level Acenta Premium models coming with automatic emergency braking (AEB), blind-spot monitoring, driver attention alert, traffic-sign recognition, lane-keeping assistance and e-Call emergency response.

If you go for the more expensive Tekna or Tekna+ trims, you get Nissan’s ProPilot driver assistance system. That adds a self-steering function that allows the Qashqai to keep itself in the centre of a lane on motorways and dual carriageways (you must keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times). When paired with an automatic gearbox, it uses software from the sat-nav to anticipate the speed you should be going and adjust it for you.

“The Qashqai’s head-up display is great. It’s a shame it’s only fitted as standard to Tekna and Tekna+ models, but even so, you’d still have to pay extra for it in an equivalent Honda HR-V.” – Lawrence Cheung, New Cars Editor

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FAQs

  • Across the Qashqai range, prices are similar to the Kia Sportage, the Seat Ateca and the Skoda Karoq. Meanwhile, if you go for the top trims, it strays into the territory of premium models including the Audi Q3, the BMW X1 and the Volvo XC40.

  • If you’re after a diesel, a new Qashqai isn’t for you because you can only have it with petrol engines now. You have a few to choose from, though, with the range including two mild-hybrid engines and the e-Power, which uses its petrol engine to power an electric motor.

  • While it’s good in many areas, the Qashqai’s main downfalls are its so-so performance, lack of rear seat flexibility and the fact that it isn’t quite as fun to drive as rivals including the Seat Ateca.

At a glance
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RRP price range £27,135 - £42,980
Number of trims (see all)11
Number of engines (see all)6
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)hybrid, petrol
MPG range across all versions 40.2 - 54.3
Available doors options 5
Warranty 3 years / 60000 miles
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £1,716 / £2,932
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £3,433 / £5,864
Available colours