As British success stories go, the Nissan Qashqai is pretty hard to beat. This Sunderland-built model essentially created the hugely lucrative crossover segment that we know today, and has remained a smash hit ever since. In fact, more than three million Qashqais have been produced since it arrived in 2007.
A second-generation version arrived in 2014 and the model has continued to benefit from a raft of tweaks. But, with the competition never being tougher, Nissan is back for a third generation with a radically overhauled model.
It’s underpinned by a new CMF-C platform that’s shared with Mitsubishi and Renault that allows for a range of electrified powertrains – some of which are yet to be introduced – but also greater interior space without growing too much in overall dimensions. But is that enough? Let’s find out.
Though Nissan will introduce a full hybrid next year, for the time being there are purely a pair of mild-hybrid petrol engines available.
While the turbocharged 1.3-litre petrol engine they use are broadly the same as what you’d find in the previous Qashqai, the addition of the electrification does marginally aid performance and efficiency.
A 138bhp or 156bhp model is available, and we’re testing the more powerful option here. Available with the choice of front- or all-wheel-drive and a six-speed manual or Xtronic CVT automatic gearbox, it’s able to propel the model from 0-60mph in 9.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 128mph. Nissan also claims a fuel consumption figure of 43.6mpg and CO2 emissions of 146g/km.
With no diesel planned for the new Qashhqai, you’ll have to wait for the hybrid model to arrive if you’d like something more efficient.
Ride and handling
Nissan has put a lot of effort into improving the way the Qashqai drives, and much of the model’s development has also taken place here in the UK, too.
It’s certainly worked, with the new version having refined steering and a revised suspension setup. It handles far better than before, while the ride is far more comfortable at higher speeds, though does suffer around town or on rougher stretches of tarmac – not helped by the huge alloy wheels fitted.
The engine isn’t brimming with pace, but is quick enough once the revs build, with roll-on acceleration available when wanted, which is particularly useful when on motorways.
Interior and equipment
It was the Qashqai’s cabin that was the aspect that was showing its age previously, and it's where Nissan has made the majority of changes. There’s a new touchscreen, new dials and a broader use of higher-quality materials, though a few harder scratches are still on display.
More pleasingly, the Qashqai is far roomier inside than ever before. There’s plenty of rear seat space and loads of cubby holes, while wide-opening rear doors (they almost open at a right-angle), means access is very easy. It will be particularly useful when getting children in and out of the back. The boot has also grown by 50 litres to 504 litres, which is one of the largest in its class.
Nissan offers a broad range of Qashqai trims, with entry-level Visia models coming with front and rear LED lights, adaptive cruise control and rear parking sensors. You’ll need to upgrade to the Acenta premium to add a touchscreen, though, while it also adds dual-zone climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels and a reversing camera.
N-Connecta comes next, bringing a larger nine-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay, along with an around view monitor and digital dials. High-spec Tekna models bring larger 19-inch alloys, adaptive LED headlights and a head-up display, with the flagship Tekna+ then gaining huge 20-inch alloy wheels, quilted leather seats and a Bose sound system.
With Nissan offering a huge range of trim levels on the Qashqai, there is something to suit most. With prices starting from £23,535, it’s one of the most affordable cars in its segment, though you’ll likely want the Acenta Premium or N-Connecta models, which bring the price up to £26,135 and £28,305 respectively.
Prices do rise quite considerably for the top-spec models, which are close to £40,000 – a figure the Qashqai can’t really justify.
Nissan has really moved the game forward with the new Nissan Qashqai, with a range of big advancements in the key areas that matter – how it drives, the technology on offer and its practicality.
Though it doesn’t quite rival the class best, it’s a very appealing crossover nonetheless that deserves all the success it will likely get. Things will only improve with the arrival of a full hybrid model soon, too.Enquire on a new Nissan Qashqai