Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
The hybrid technology of the Nissan Qashqai's 1.3-litre petrol engines means the starter motor can act as a generator, harvesting energy as the car slows down to charge a tiny battery. That energy is used to assist the engine at low speeds and improve fuel economy.
The 138bhp DIG-T 140 and 156bhp DIG-T 158 are both a bit languid if the revs are below about 1500rpm, so there’ll be a pause before any acceleration arrives after you’ve squeezed the accelerator. They’ll still get you past slower cars safely and up to motorway speeds capably if you drop a gear or two and thrash them. You won’t notice much difference between the two in terms of performance: the DIG-T 158 official 0-62mph time of 9.5sec is only marginally better than the DIG-T 140’s 10.1sec. Overall, we’d recommend the DIG-T 140 because it's cheaper.
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. On 18s, which are standard with N-Connecta trim, it's pretty comfy. The suspension deals with scruffy surfaces at low speeds very well, and overall comfort isn't far behind the Skoda Karoq.
If comfort is important to you, we’d suggest avoiding the 19in and 20in wheels (these are standard equipment with top-spec Tekna and Tekna+ models respectively). With these 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, but enough to shake you to pieces. We've yet to try the Qashqai on the 17in wheels fitted to the entry-level trims.
If you select Tekna+ trim or any four-wheel drive version, you get more sophisticated suspension that helps to mitigate the effect of larger wheels.