It’s no real secret that the Nissan Qashqai is incredibly popular in the UK, and more likely than not, you will see many of them on your daily drive.
Now, Nissan has tried to reinvigorate the popular model with an all-new petrol engine, which the Japanese brand hopes will further the Qashqai’s popularity in the UK.
The model was given a refresh last year, which offered a tweaked design, additional technology and new features.
But with this new range of power options, can the Qashqai move further ahead of its rivals and be even better to drive? We take a look…
It was only fair that we tested the Qashqai with one of its power options from the new 1.3-litre petrol engine – and we got behind the wheel of the most popular one, which develops 158bhp and 270Nm of torque.
The engine was paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and allowed for a 0-60mph time of 9.7 seconds. The top speed is 124mph. The combination felt well-suited to the Qashqai, as in normal driving the transmission offers smooth changes and the engine gives excellent power delivery throughout the rev range.
Ride & Handling
Even though the power options have been changed, the driving setup of the Qashqai hasn’t – but that means it maintains the decent dynamics of the refreshed model. That means well-weighted steering that provides a lot of feedback – something that many crossovers don’t offer drivers.
Around town the Qashqai performs excellently as well, as the all-round visibility of the model is one of the best in its class, and the responsive steering helps you to move in and out of busy traffic with ease. It even behaves well on the motorway, with a high level of refinement offered.See Available Qashqai deals
Interior & Equipment
When Nissan updated the Qashqai last year, it gave the model a minor revamp both inside and out to keep it up to date with rivals on the market – and the Japanese brand hasn’t had to do anything since then. Therefore, the cockpit and space on offer remains the same – with the Qashqai having a 430-litre boot with the standard five-seat layout. That can be extended to 1,585 litres with the rear seats folded down.
What has been added though is an updated version of the NissanConnect infotainment system, which is a marked improvement over the old setup that was beginning to feel clunky and massively outdated. It now comes with TomTom satellite navigation and also allows smartphone users to operate either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
Standard equipment on the Qashqai includes chassis and ride control, Bluetooth, LED daytime running lights, air conditioning, electric windows and a five-inch colour screen on the instrument panel.
On the Tekna+ model we tested, the Qashqai is also fitted with the Smart Vision Pack – which includes high beam assist, traffic sign recognition, intelligent emergency braking, lane departure warning and parking sensors – as well as 19-inch alloy wheels, a seven-inch infotainment touchscreen, rear privacy glass, an around-view monitor and cameras, sports seats, a Bose surround sound system and intelligent park assist – a significant amount of kit for a family crossover.
The Qashqai range starts from £19,595 for the base spec Visia option, which undercuts many of its key rivals. We tested the top-end Tekna+ model, which starts from £27,095 – but prices for the automatic transmission models are yet to be released – so for now, customers will have to settle for the six-speed manual transmission.
With the engine/gearbox combination we tested, Nissan states that the Qashqai can achieve 52.3mpg and 122g/km CO2, which for a petrol engine in a family crossover is rather impressive.
Even though the changes made to the Qashqai aren’t that major, it’s safe to say that it still sits atop of the crossover market. The new petrol engines are an impressive addition to the model as they offer great economy and running costs, and the new infotainment setup is much better than its predecessor. It still drives excellently and is offered at an affordable price for many – making it a near no-brainer for British families looking for a bargain. Even if the space could be improved to catch up to rivals, the Qashqai should continue to lead the incredibly competitive family crossover segment.