The original Nissan Qashqai was a sales success in the way the iPhone was for Apple.
It was one of the first cars to popularise the so-called crossover genre, blending the low-running costs of family hatchbacks with SUV looks, and becoming a commercial success in the process. Over two million have rolled off the production line since its launch in 2007.
So the second-generation Nissan Qashqai had big shoes to fill, and bigger it is: wider and longer this time around, but it’s also lighter and more efficient, too.
It’s a thoroughly competent addition to the crossover class that offers an improvement over its predecessor in every area. Greater practicality, more efficient engines and a nicer interior all combine to make it a family car that’s well worth your attention.
It’s a fiercely competitive class with the Qashqai rivalling the likes of the Ford Kuga, Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson and Renault Kadjar among a range of other rivals.
The outgoing Qashqai was beginning to look and feel its age and the new car has a far more contemporary appearance, both inside and out.
It’s on the inside that the biggest leap has been made, with more up-to-date design cues and higher quality materials, although the grades of plastic still fall below some rivals. It’s all well screwed together, though.
Top trims enjoy a new ‘NissanConnect’ multimedia system displayed on a seven-inch touchscreen, with DAB radio and smartphone connectivity. Happily, for the cabin’s main controls Nissan has stuck to conventional buttons and dials which are logically laid out and easy to use.
Interior storage space is improved with a large central storage box between the front seats. To make room for this the Qashqai uses an electronic parking brake switch rather than a conventional handbrake.
There’s more space for passengers too, with greater headroom than before. One slight niggle is that over-the-shoulder visibility is still restricted by the large rear pillars, making checking the Qashqai’s blind spot tricky at times.
Luggage volume has increased to 430 litres and the boot floor is made up of two panels, which can be repositioned to create either a deeper boot or a totally flat load area when the rear seats are folded down. There’s also space under the boot floor to stow the parcel shelf when not in use.
This time around there’s no seven-seater Qashqai +2 version – that model was replaced by the closely-related Nissan X-Trail.
Two petrol and two diesel engines
There are four engines available from launch: a pair of petrols and a pair of diesels, all turbocharged.
The two diesels, 1.5- and 1.6-litres respectively, are likely to make up the majority of sales in the UK. The 1.6-litre diesel is available with the choice of two- or four-wheel drive, and also has the option of a CVT automatic gearbox (the four-wheel drive version is manual only, though).
On the road the Qashqai performs very well. Although it does feel bulky, it’s very easy to drive with safe, assured handling. Particularly impressive is the lack of engine noise at motorway speeds.
Most relevant for those looking to minimise running costs is the 1.5-litre diesel, with CO2 emissions rated at 99g/km and a claimed fuel efficiency of 74.3mpg.
Fuel economy and CO2 emissions are attractive across the range as a whole, with even the largest petrol engine averaging a claimed 47.0mpg with CO2 emissions of 138g/km.
Nissan Qashqai SUV model history
- December 2013 – Second-generation model available to order in Visia, Acenta, Acenta Premium, Tekna and limited availability Premier Edition guises. Initial engine line-up comprises of DIG-T 115 petrol, and dCi 110 and dCi 130 diesels. All have front-wheel drive and six-speed manual gearboxes, with four-wheel drive and Xtronic automatic transmission available on the dCi 130.
- October 2014 – Range expanded with the introduction of N-Tec and N-Tec+ trim levels. N-Tec comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, electrically folding door mirrors and a 360-degree camera system; a panoramic glass roof and roof rails further distinguish the N-Tec+. Additionally, the Xtronic automatic transmission now available with the DIG-T 115 engine.
- November 2014 – Higher performance DIG-T 163 petrol powerplant available in N-Tec, N-Tec+ and Tekna trim levels.
- January 2016 – N-Connecta trim level replaces the previous N-Tec+ grade. At the same time Acenta Premium and N-Tec trim levels are discontinued. Further enhancements to the range include a revised range of option packs for each trim level and multi-link rear suspension fitted to all DIG-T 163-engined models.
- July 2016 – Limited availability Black Edition launched, based on the Tekna dCi 110. Special features include Pearl Black metallic paint, black 19-inch alloy wheels a panoramic glass roof.
- October 2016 – N-Vision trim launched based on N-Connecta but additionally fitted with a panoramic glass roof, roof rails, leather and Alcantara upholstery and heated front seats with electrical adjustment for the driver’s one. Elsewhere, models fitted with 18-inch alloy wheels now have low rolling resistance tyres fitted as standard, lowing CO2 emissions and improving fuel efficiency.