From £23,5558
Bodystyle, dimensions and technical details

This car’s design certainly ticks a great many of the boxes expected of a compact SUV in 2021. Sharp LED light signature? Check. Contrasting ‘floating’ roof? Check. Option of massive, bi-colour wheels? Check. Slightly larger in every direction? Check.

In fact, the new Qashqai is quite a bit larger than its predecessor, at 35mm longer (20mm of that in the wheelbase), 25mm taller and a rather significant 32mm wider. It clearly retains the family link with the old one, though, particularly at the rear.

Nissan has retained somewhat of a family link with the old Qashqai visually, thanks to the large V-shaped grille, and rear lights that look like stylised versions of the old ones. Slim headlights make it contemporary.

Although the Qashqai’s purpose is not to shock, the new one does receive plenty of distinguishing design features, among them the vertical air ducts in the front bumper, a floating roof design, those new LED headlights and no fewer than 16 exterior colour combinations from which to choose.

Change is a little more radical under the bonnet, where all of the old model’s diesel engines have been put out to pasture, leaving a completely electrified line-up. The 1.3-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol unit that was introduced with the previous generation’s last facelift is carried over and is again available with either 136bhp or 156bhp, but it gains mild-hybrid assistance. Both versions come as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox, with a CVT being optional on the higher-power version. The 156bhp engine can also be had with all-wheel drive.

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The mild-hybrid system is only a 12V set-up rather than a 48V one, and it can contribute only just over 4lb ft of torque for the car when accelerating, so its value lies more in smoothing out stop/start and powering accessories when the engine is off than in supplying any meaningful torque fill.

Standing in for the absent diesel options is an e-Power full hybrid that will soon join the range. As more and more manufacturers start to offer full hybrids to fill that vacant space, a rich variety of powertrain configurations is emerging. Toyota’s long-standing hybrid system is a CVT-alike concept, whereas some others use dual-clutch gearboxes, Renault uses a clutchless gearbox and Honda uses no gearbox at all.

Nissan’s, like Honda’s, uses only the 1.5-litre engine to charge a battery, while the wheels are exclusively driven by the 184bhp electric motor, which should bring some EV driving sensations to a car that is still dependably petrol-powered.

The Qashqai rides on an updated version of the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s CMF-C platform and most versions get a torsion beam axle for rear suspension, but all-wheel drive models (as well as those on 20in alloys) have a multi-link rear axle instead. Nissan says the updates to the platform have allowed it to further suppress road noise and improve suspension geometry for a more composed ride. More use of aluminium keeps weight manageable despite the larger body.