From £18,7409
The weight of expectation is high for the new, benchmark crossover from Nissan - luckily the car maker has delivered an impressive proposition to the market

Our Verdict

Nissan Qashqai

Nissan's second crossover album goes platinum, but can a light refresh to the Qashqai and some added extras help it hold off the advances from the Seat Ateca and Skoda Kodiaq

What is it?

The most important version of the second-generation Nissan Qashqai.

This 1.5-litre turbodiesel comes with carbon emissions of just 99g/km, and is priced from under £20k, making it a natural choice for UK company car drivers looking for something a bit more useful and desirable than the average family hatchback. If it’s good enough, this is the model that will guarantee the Qashqai’s spot in the UK’s sales top ten for the next seven years.

Nissan has pushed the boat out with this car in all ways but one. The platform is new, as is a lot of the in-car safety and connectivity technology, and at least one of the engines offered hasn’t appeared in a Qashqai before. 

But the exterior styling tells you how much Nissan’s mission has shifted, and how the weight of expectation on this car has grown. Instead of conquesting buyers, this car must retain them – and that pressure always leads towards type. So don’t be surprised that the new Qashqai looks familiar; like a lot of other crossovers on the market. That was almost inevitable.

What's it like?

A much-improved car in most of the ways that matter. It’s lower than the car it replaces, but roomier inside; more refined and more efficient; better finished and better equipped. Less distinctive, perhaps – but much better executed than before.

Before it does anything else, the new Qashqai gives you an impression of spaciousness when you climb aboard. There’s head-, knee and elbow room to spare, even for larger occupants – and that’s not something you’d necessarily have said about a Qashqai before. The cabin materials aren’t spectacular but they’re tactile, very consistently finished, and just plush enough for an understated aura of quality. The indicator stalks, for example, are hefty and grained, while the seats are very comfortable indeed. Nissan borrowed ergonomic design principals from NASA when it commissioned them, apparently. Who’d have thought seats needed to be supportive in zero-gravity?

The attention to detail extends a long way into the Qashqai’s driving experience, too. That 1.5-litre turbodiesel is as quiet as they come, and while it’s a little bit slow to respond at very low revs, at medium and high revs it's keener and generally serves this oversized hatchback with more-than-adequate acceleration. Very good real-world economy, too; 55mpg comes up on a mixed cruise without any serious commitment to driving efficiently.

The striking impression of rolling refinement also flows from a remarkably quiet secondary ride. Most versions of the new Qashqai retain a torsion beam rear suspension layout, but all of them get innovative double-piston dampers as standard. Distinct from ‘twin-tube’ shocks which work differently, these dampers allow for two separate damping rates for high- and low-frequency lumps and bumps, and they deliver a very flat, controlled ride for the Qashqai at one moment, and quiet, smooth bump absorption the next. At times, the car’s body control can feel a little bit too muscular, but it’s generally quite pliant and all-but-impervious to things like grates, drains and small potholes.

The Qashqai’s handling isn’t particularly athletic or exciting. The steering has several assistance settings, but even the lightest has plenty of weight, and grip is ultimately balanced for stability. So while the car doesn’t roll much, it also doesn’t have much of an appetite for corners. It’s manageable at low speeds, though, as well as secure on the motorway, and very competent on a cross-country road. 

Should I buy one?

You should. The Qashqai reeks of careful conception and painstaking fine-tuning, and brings proper Western European maturity to a crossover class that hasn’t had an outstanding proposition. Until now.

As a driver’s car it could offer a natch more. As an object of desire it seems considerably less powerful than the original Qashqai once did – although that’s as much to do with the developing state of the crossover segment, and the yolk of success that this Nissan now carries. 

But as a daily driver and an alternative to a mainstream C-segment hatchback, there’s a lot more substance to the Qashqai than there once was. And that means there’s a lot more going for it in the grand scheme of things.

Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi Acenta 2WD

Price £20,840; 0-62mph 12.4sec; Top speed 112mph; Economy 74.3mpg; CO2 99g/km; Kerb weight tbc; Engine 4 cyls, 1461cc, turbodiesel; Power 109bhp at 4000rpm; Torque 192lb ft at 1750-2750rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
17

8 January 2014
Like the car, always have but nearly £21,000 for a car that takes 12.4 seconds to reach 60 seems a little steep to me.
Still not everyone want's a car that has good to average performance so I'm sure it'll sell well again.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

MrJ

8 January 2014
The styling seems clean enough, though it's such a shame to have lost the Gen1's unique looks, instead gaining an SUV generic appearance.

Pity you don't rate the cornering, as handling has always been my problem with these tall vehicles.

Pitted against an estate such as a Focus or an Astra, I suspect the lower centre of-gravity of the load luggers would allow them to win hands-down around the twisty bits.

8 January 2014
Looks like that. Mazda SUV. More dreary Jap crap.
Get V10 M5 for £16K and use the difference for extra running costs.
No time for boring dross like this.

8 January 2014
... sounds like it could get messy.

8 January 2014
Autocar wrote:

This 1.5-litre turbodiesel...

Autocar wrote:

...desirable

It's nice enough looking, well-equipped/priced and seems OK to drive but let's not pretend a 1.5 dCi family holdall is remotely desirable, because it isn't.


8 January 2014
Can't get my head around numbers sometimes with these new cars. May be years are catching up. Very impressive on paper. Must see in metal. As in pictures both the interior as well as the exterior appear substantially changed. This review makes me wonder why did it not make the COTY shortlist?

8 January 2014
Good to know the interior is better designed for tall people, the original was hopeless, especially in the back. (I've travelled in the front and rear of a relatives car.) Pity it's now as distinctive as a brick in a builder's yard.

 

I'm a disillusioned former Citroëniste.

8 January 2014
Conquest is a noun. The standards of "journalism" have just about hit rock bottom these days, or maybe knowing the front of a car from the back is sufficient, but if a journalist can't use English correctly, why must we assume that he knows what he's talking about?

8 January 2014
Not the best photography I've seen on here!

A34

8 January 2014
So either Renault Nissan buyers can go cheap n cheerful (Duster) or pricey and sophisticated. Not even VAG try and sell an Audi for 2x a 14K Skoda equivalent though!

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