Even in a segment where an engaging driving experience is hard to find, the Qashqai has never been the most dynamic car to drive – and the new one doesn’t change that. Nissan has done a good job prioritising ride comfort, though.
A car in this class is unlikely to benefit from the most sophisticated suspension, but potholes tend not to be too intrusive in the Qashqai and the body is kept under control pretty well on longer-wave undulations.
At town speeds, there can sometimes be a little jiggle in the car’s ride when the dampers occasionally fail to deal with small imperfections in one go, but overall this is a very comfortable car.
Handling is tuned for safety, rather than any kind of engagement. Despite having a meaty 235 section, the Continental EcoContact tyres aren’t the grippiest, but they are perfectly adequate for this type of car, and our handling course showed that the ESP system is good at unobtrusively managing the car’s on-limit behaviour. The brakes also hauled the car to a standstill from 60mph in a respectable 2.7sec.
The one dynamic flaw is the steering. It’s very light at smaller steering angles and weights up more suddenly as you dive into tighter corners with a bit more speed and lock. That sounds like a good thing – but in reality, it feels artificial and inconsistent, and generally discourages any enthusiasm at the wheel because you can’t be completely confident in placing the car.