The Nissan Qashqai has been around for 11 years, and it is still a hugely popular model, ranking as Britain’s fourth most popular new motor. Only Volkswagen’s Golf, Vauxhall’s Corsa and Ford’s Fiesta fly out of dealerships more quickly.
Back in 2007, consumers fell in love with the oddly named Qashqai’s blend of room, SUV styling and affordability. Since then, the Japanese automaker has kept the Qashqai name rocking – and the present incarnation of the car has been rolling off production lines since 2013.
Nissan has not been resting on its laurels, though. It has been fine-tuning the Qashqai recipe over the years – and the latest tweaks aim to make it easier-on-the-pocket to run, and better than ever to drive.
Fresh to the Qashqai is a new infotainment unit, but the major news comes under the hood. The previous 1.6-litre and 1.2-litre petrol turbos have been kicked to the kerb with a 1.3 becoming the new kid in town.
The new petrol turbo powerplant comes with a couple of outputs – 140ps and 160ps - and is the engine currently housed in Mercedes-Benz’s A200. The unit is also more efficient with an exhaust particulate filter helping it make the grade in the latest emissions testing processes. As mentioned, Nissan claims the 1.3 petrol turbo is cheaper to run too, as service intervals have leapt to 18,000 miles. They used to be 12,500 miles, so this is a significant increase.
The car is equipped with a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed dual-clutch auto ‘box, as tested for this review. It’s worth noting, though, that the automatic is only offered with the 160ps unit.
Behind the wheel, this new Qashqai variant feels smooth and quick enough, but it won't set your heart racing. Zero to 62mph arrives in 9.9 seconds, and the top speed is 124mph. While the steering is light and precise, it’s not the best handling motor in its class.
The cabin is the same as ever, and the infotainment unit looks identical. However, the software is brand new, resulting in fast loading times, and the screen responds far more quickly when you touch it. It will now identify swiping and pinching motions, and the home page can be personalised with apps and shortcuts. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay come factory-fitted as standard on all bar the entry-level model.
The infotainment system on the Qashqai Tekna+ 1.3 DiG-T DCT we drove is still not unflawed though. The display is too dim, and you can't see much when the sun is on it because the seven-inch matt surface gives off a lot of glare. Mind you; it's much better than the former system.
Nissan forecasts segment-leading residuals for the modern Qashqai, with many versions holding over 50 per cent of their value over three years. This means that finance deals are very reasonable right now.
There are many reasons why the Qashqai’s popularity is so enduring. It is comfortable to drive and, with enough room for four or five adults, and a decent sized boot, it is a practical family car. The new infotainment system and petrol engines only strengthen the Qashqai’s name further, validating Nissan’s flexibility in the constantly-fluctuating automotive arena.
Pros ‘n’ Cons
- Steering √
- Practicality √
- Running costs √
- In-car tech √
- Glare on infotainment screen X
Fast Facts (Qashqai Tekna+ 1.3 DiG-T DCT – as tested by Tim Barnes-Clay)
- Max speed: 124 mph
- 0-62 mph: 9.9 seconds
- Combined mpg: 48.7
- Engine layout: 1,322cc 4-cylinder petrol turbo
- Max. power (PS): 160
- CO2: 131 g/km
- Price: £30,645