Nissan Qashqai hatchback performance
The entry-level 1.2-litre petrol model is best suited to town driving, because you have to work the engine hard to get up to speed on faster roads. However, once you’re there, it will sit at a 70mph cruise relatively comfortably. The 1.6 petrol is much quicker, although it still needs a fair few revs to deliver its performance.
The 1.5-litre diesel, by contrast, isn’t particularly quick in outright pace, but it delivers its power smoothly and is gutsy from low revs, making it less stressful to drive and our pick of the engine range. The 1.6-litre diesel engine feels stronger still, making it useful if you regularly haul around your family and their luggage.
There’s the option of a CVT automatic on the 1.2 petrol and the 1.6 diesel, but for the best performance you should stick to the standard six-speed manual gearbox.
Nissan Qashqai hatchback ride
The Qashqai was developed at Nissan’s engineering base in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, hence its ability to ride battered British roads so well. Yes, the ride can be a little jittery over the worst surfaces around town, but it smooths out nicely on motorways and A-roads, and feels beautifully controlled over speed bumps. It’s certainly one of the better-riding cars in the class, although not as good all round as the Skoda Karoq.
One word of warning, though: the ride is terribly firm if you go for a high-end model on 19in wheels, so we’d avoid these at all costs. Stick to versions with 17in or 18in wheels instead.
Nissan Qashqai hatchback handling
You might not expect a tall SUV to handle particularly well, but there are cars in this class that do – namely the almost car-like agility of the Seat Ateca and the tidy-handling Karoq. The Qashqai feels a bit softer by comparison; with a lot more body lean in bends and rather vague steering that doesn’t tell you a great deal about what grip you have available, it’s not much fun.
That said, if you’re not bothered about sporty driving, you’ll find the Qashqai safe and secure, thanks to plenty of grip. It’s also light and easy to manage in town.
Nissan Qashqai hatchback refinement
Not many family SUVs can match the Qashqai’s refinement. The two petrols and the 1.5 diesel engines stay smooth and quiet, even at high revs. Road and wind noise are also well suppressed on the motorway.
Only the 1.6 diesel engine lets the side down; it’s noisier than the smaller diesel and transmits vibrations through the pedals.