The Nissan Qashqai is a rare thing. Not in terms of sales. In terms of what it’s done. There aren’t many cars that can claim to have invented a category, yet the Nissan Qashqai can reasonably be seen as the first proper family SUV. It struck a chord with buyers who wanted space, style, a good view out and safety in an unintimidating package. Bingo. And the second-generation car merely enhances the original formula.
The second-generation Nissan Qashqai takes all that was good about the original and gives it an extra layer or two of sophistication, with zingy colour choices, splashes of chrome, and higher-quality trims and materials inside.
Better still, some trim levels come with LED running lights, more chrome, ever-larger alloy wheels with neat designs, and privacy glass for the rear doors and tailgate.
Still, even entry-level Qashqais look attractive since they’re big enough to be imposing without feeling scarily large.
Even entry-level Qashqais look attractive since they’re big enough to be imposing without feeling scarily large.
What’s it like to drive?
Initially, the Mk2 Nissan Qashqai was available with 1.2 and 1.6-litre petrol engines, and 1.5 and 1.6-litre diesels. The smaller engine in each case is the more desirable, mainly because they’re smoother, happier to rev, quieter and have a much lighter thirst.
Since the Qashqai was given a facelift in 2017, the engine range has comprised a 1.3-litre turbo petrol with either 138bhp or 158bhp. The diesel range encompasses a 113bhp 1.5-litre unit or a 148bhp 1.7. Again, the “lesser” of each powerplant is the one to go for.
Comfort is the name of the Nissan Qashqai’s game. It treats even really scarred surfaces with disdain, so that very little gets through to your seat. Don’t go thinking this means it’s a podgy, wallowy monster though, because it actually handles very neatly indeed.
The steering requires little effort, so parking is a doddle, and it’s made even easier by the presence of sensors. On faster roads, the Qashqai also feels entirely at home, as it’s quiet, comfortable and doesn’t get upset by crosswinds.
Comfort is the name of the Nissan Qashqai’s game
The dashboard and door trims are a huge step forward from the first Qashqai design, with a high-class squidgy feel when pressed. Everything - from the glovebox to doors and even the cupholders – works with smooth, damped precision. This feeling of quality continues even further down the cabin, where the plastics in some rivals can feel a bit cheaper.
Okay, it’s fair to say that the interior isn’t exactly the last word in style, and rivals such as the SEAT Ateca and Kia Sportage are noticeably funkier in appearance. Nevertheless, everything is pretty much exactly where you’d want it to be.
Visia is the entry-level trim, featuring air-conditioning, but that’s about it as far as goodies go. You may be better off with Acenta, which upgrades the air-con to dual-zone climate control, and also adds auto lights and wipers, plus alloys.
The rear pillars are on the thick side and can make emerging from an angled junction or reversing into a parking space slightly tricky. The parking sensors (and on some, the reversing camera and 3D surround view) help to take the tension out of parking manoeuvres.
Later Qashqais feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, which makes using the central touchscreen infotainment system a great deal easier on the move.
You won’t struggle for space in a Nissan Qashqai since it has loads of room for 4 adults to stretch out in comfort, and even a fifth occupant shouldn’t feel like they’re imposing.
However, if you regularly carry adults in the back seat, you might be best avoiding a car with the panoramic glass sunroof fitted, as this eats into headroom.
While the Qashqai has enough boot space for most families, the SEAT Ateca is another option to consider.
There are plenty of little nooks and crannies around the cabin for storing stuff, and the door pockets are easily big enough for a 1-litre bottle of water.
Running costs and reliability
None of the Qashqai’s engines drink fuel. The smaller petrols make great sense if you spend most of your time in town. They’re quiet, smooth to rev and economical enough that it may not be worth paying the extra for a diesel.
If your motoring life consists mainly of motorway stints, the smaller diesels may be the way to go as they’re easily strong enough to keep up with everything else, and don’t drink much while doing so. You can expect an average of around 53.3mpg for the petrols and 74.3mpg for the 1.5 diesel.
What we love
"Nissan didn’t so much break the mould when it designed the Qashqai – it set the template for what family SUVs would become thereafter. And the second-generation car is an improvement in every way. It’s big enough for families, comfortable enough for long journeys, economical enough for tight budgets and will be reliable."
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The Nissan Qashqai is a highly capable family SUV that has a decent amount of space in the cabin and enough space in the boot for everyone’s stuff. It’s also decently luxurious and very safe, with a five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating.
Recommended for: growing families; high-mileage company drivers; active retired couples
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