Review: Nissan Qashqai

Review: Nissan Qashqai
Review: Nissan Qashqai

Same as before, only that bit better

Brits can’t get enough of the Nissan Qashqai. It’s currently the fourth best-selling car in the country, success that’s still relatively novel for Nissan, particularly as the Qashqai is a profitable crossover that’s managing to nudge out traditional family stalwarts such as the Vauxhall Astra.

To keep it on the boil, Nissan has given it a facelift, one that’s more far reaching than many such mid-life refreshes. Why such wholesale changes? Because the competition is tougher than ever, and Nissan rather fancies keeping hold of its strong-selling status.

Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi 110 N-Connecta

Price: £25,555
Engine: 1.5-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesel
Power: 109bhp
Torque: 192lb/ft
Gearbox: Six-speed manual
Kerb weight: 1507kg
Top speed: 113mph
0-62mph: 11.9sec
Economy: 74.3mpg (combined)
CO2 emissions: 99g/km

The best-selling version will be the N-Connecta model we’re testing here, fitted with a 1.5-litre dCi engine: 50 percent of buyers will pick this car alone. The anti-diesel mood clearly has yet to reach the crossover sector – but with claimed economy of 74.3mpg and 99g/km CO2, it’s easy to see the draw.

Indeed, it’s not hard to see why the Qashqai itself sells so well. Rather than spoiling things with the refresh, Nissan has actually further enhanced its stylish appeal. The new front end is more distinctive and there’s an effective nip and tuck at the rear too.

With no more power, the 109bhp dCi engine continues to be smooth but not particularly powerful. Overtakes require a downchange or two. It’s quieter than before though, helped by changes such as a thicker rear window, and fancy Vortex Generators under the front bumper that smooth out the airflow at speed. There are even now fewer vibrations through the steering wheel.

Nissan Qashqai

Nissan has worked on the ride and handling. The steering is weightier around the centre, which is better for control, although the variable assistance does mean it’s perhaps a bit too light overall at lower speeds. Switching to Sport mode makes it heavier, but it’s not particularly convincing.

More effective are upgrades such as a thicker anti-roll bar and softer springs and dampers. This helps the Nissan ride more smoothly over bumps while still feeling planted through corners, although there’s still no denying this high-up crossover does roll a bit more than a normal hatch.

Nissan Qashqai interior

It’s a surprise to find Nissan hasn’t added Apple CarPlay or Android Auto inside, while the infotainment screen is still not particularly intuitive. But aside from a few hard plastics lower down the dash, it’s a nice and well-built interior, with some interesting-looking gloss black or silver trim options.

Overall the Qashqai still stacks up. It didn’t do much wrong before and a few of the slightly sharp edges have been successfully smoothed off with this good-looking facelift. It may even restore the Qashqai’s class-leading status, recently grabbed by the Seat Ateca: there’s a twin test lined up very soon where we’ll find out if the Nissan is still the crossover Brits should clamour for.

Nissan Qashqai

Review: Lotus Exige Cup 430

Surely an Exige can’t cost nearly £100,000? When it’s as good as this it canLotus has, in the recent past, been a little

Living with the BMW M135i

How will a used rear-wheel hot hatch measure up?The plan was to take a used hot hatch and see what we could do with it. Could we improve a

Review: Mercedes E220d Cabriolet

New E-Class range is completed by the Cabriolet – does it work best as a 2.0-litre diesel?The fourth and final piece in the new E-Class

Review: SsangYong Turismo

A great deal of space for not a great deal of money. Is that a good deal?In our vehicles, particularly if we’re thinking of family transport,