From £23,5558
Nissan refreshes its best-seller. Does this new-generation version regain the class lead?

The subject of this week’s road test has been dubbed the Nissan Cashcow by some in industry circles. That’s because the Qashqai crossover almost single-handedly saved Nissan in Europe when the first generation was launched in 2006.

It really popularised the idea that you can have something that looks like an off-roader without it actually needing all the heavy, inefficient hardware to make it capable in the mud – and people responded in numbers.

All cars get LED headlights. Aerodynamic ducts are real, and they’re big enough to make a Honda Civic Type R blush.

Although practically every other manufacturer followed suit and produced a competitor, Nissan’s original continues to top the UK crossover-class sales. With 52,532 registrations in 2019, it was the fifth-best-selling car in the UK, beating its Ford Kuga rival by more than 10,000. It even managed to maintain its position in the extraordinary year that was 2020.

As well as being a success story for Nissan, the Qashqai is also a shining beacon for UK car manufacturing, having been produced in Sunderland from the start. As car maker after car maker closes its UK manufacturing base – Honda made its last Civic in Swindon only a few weeks ago – it is heartening that the new, third-generation Qashqai continues to be made here.

The second-generation Qashqai had been around since 2013 so it’s remarkable that although it lagged somewhat behind the best of the competition, it remained on the pace in sales terms. It makes sense, therefore, for Nissan to tread carefully with the new one. Indeed, its strategy of making its pure- electric SUV, the Ariya, a completely separate model leaves room for the EV to be a bit bolder, while the Qashqai remains a crowd pleaser.

Back to top

The Qashqai line-up at a glance

For the latest generation, Nissan has ditched all diesels in favour of a mix of mild-hybrid and full-hybrid powertrains, all using four-cylinder petrol engines. Pricing for the full hybrid has yet to be announced.

There are six trim levels, with the cheapest of those, Visia, available on the lower-powered engine only, and the most luxurious, Tekna+, reserved for the more powerful engine.

What Car? New car buyer marketplace - Nissan Qashqai