Nissan Qashqai (2014-2021) Review
The family favourite Nissan Qashqai offers practical, good-value motoring wrapped in a smart-looking package
Strengths & weaknesses
- Cheap to run
- Versatile and practical
- Comfortable and well equipped
- Limited boot space
- Restricted rear visibility
- Owners of earlier models report poor reliability and quality
Nissan Qashqai prices from £7,680 Finance from £159.36 per month
The Nissan Qashqai has been a firm success with drivers of mid-sized family SUVs since the first version went on sale more than ten years ago. In fact, this latest model was the sixth best-selling car in 2019, out-selling the Volkswagen Polo, the Kia Sportage and the Mini Hatchback - it remains just as popular in 2020.
An update in summer 2017 brought about design tweaks to help the Qashqai keep pace with newer rivals. Exterior changes included a new front bumper and headlights, while on the inside the quality of materials was markedly improved. It continues to be updated, and now includes the option of a semi-driverless system, which Nissan calls ProPilot, as well as a much-improved touchscreen display and a new 1.3-litre petrol engine that is both more efficient and smoother than the engines it replaced. Useful equipment includes an optional heated windscreen and 360-degree camera, which gives drivers a view around the entire car when manoeuvring in tight spots. It comes as standard on well-equipped N-Connecta models.
A major selling point of the Qashqai is its practicality. Like all SUVs of this size, it's immensely usable as a day-to-day family car; there's plenty of cubbyholes for storage and space for two adults to sit comfortably in the back (although three is a bit of a squeeze). A pair of thinner front seats introduced in 2017 has also increased rear legroom, while headroom is sufficient for most adults. There are two sets of Isofix mounts in the back for securely mounting child seats. Overall, though, space in the Qashqai is lacking compared with other alternatives. A single bulky baby buggy fills much of the Nissan's 430-litre boot (which expands to 1,598 litres when the split-fold rear seats are folded down). That lags behind the Renault Kadjar (472 litres), Mazda CX-5 (506) and Peugeot 3008 (520).
The Nissan puts quite an emphasis on comfort. It's not as smooth as a Volkswagen Tiguan or Peugeot 3008 but does a good job of remaining settled on bumpy roads. It's smooth around town, but at motorway speeds, it can be fidgety and bouncy - especially on the 19-inch alloy wheels found on the Tekna and Tekna + models. The light steering requires little effort and encourages the driver to make calm progress – if only because it’s no fun to drive quickly in corners, where it leans too much for comfortable progress. It drives much like a Renault Kadjar, which shares its mechanical parts with the Qashqai. For sharper, more stable cornering and a more involved feel, the Mazda CX-5 and Seat Ateca are better choices.
On longer journeys, some versions of the Qashqai now allow drivers to relax a little more with Nissan's partially driverless technology, which uses adaptive cruise control that monitors traffic ahead and adjusts the car's speed to keep a safe distance from any vehicle in front. It's combined with steering assist that's linked to front-facing cameras, enabling it to steer the car automatically to keep within a marked lane. It's only available on high-specification Tekna or Tekna+ cars and even here it's a £495 option as part of the Drive Assist Pack on manual diesel cars, so it's an expensive addition if you want it.
All models benefit from a high level of safety, and the Qashqai was awarded a full five stars for crash protection by the independent Euro NCAP safety organisation. Four-wheel-drive versions of the Qashqai are less likely to get stuck in slippery conditions and these models (as well as those with the most powerful petrol engine) have better suspension for a slightly more comfortable ride.
|Warranty||Three years/60,000 miles|
|Boot size||430 litres|
|Tax (min to max)||£140 to £200 in first year, £140 thereafter / Pre-April 2017 cars: £0 to £130|
Best Nissan Qashqai for...
Best for Economy – Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi Acenta
The most frugal engine and Acenta trim is a decent combination: it returns around 50mpg in real-world driving and - with this engine only - the Acenta specification includes the smart vision pack, which adds front and rear parking sensors, as well as automatic emergency braking.
Best for Families – Nissan Qashqai 1.3 DiG-T N-Connecta
You'll save a fair bit of cash by opting for petrol rather than diesel (based on the manufacturer's price), and you won't have to worry about any future diesel charges. The latest 1.3-litre engine delivers more power without increasing fuel consumption. N-Connecta cars come packed with extra safety equipment, sat-nav and 360-degree camera.
Best for Performance – Nissan Qashqai 1.6 dCi N-Connecta
The most powerful diesel Qashqai isn't the fastest (that's the 1.6-litre petrol), but it offers the most useful performance in a car of this type: a big shove of power that's useful for towing or carrying heavy loads.
One to Avoid – Nissan Qashqai 1.3 DiG-T Tekna+
The fastest Qashqai is faster than the average family car but performance still isn't spectacular. You might as well save £1,500 and get a slightly less powerful petrol engine. Tekna+ trim is lavish, but makes the Qashqai the same price as a Land Rover Discovery Sport.
- January 2014 Sales of the current Nissan Qashqai begin in Britain
- December 2014 43,000 Qashqais recalled over potential towbar fault
- March 2015 xTronic automatic gearbox introduced
- April 2015 Addition of 1.6 DiG-T petrol engine to the range
- January 2016 Acenta Premium, n-tec and n-tec+ trims are replaced with N-Connecta offering sat-nav and extra safety equipment.
- July 2017 Updated Qashqai goes on sale with design tweaks and new Tekna+ trim
- March 2018 Propilot and Drive Assist Pack become available, introducing semi-driverless technology. The Pilot One special edition features the technology.
- October 2018 A new 1.3-litre petrol engine replaces the 1.2- and 1.6-litre engines. DCT automatic introduced for higher-powered petrol cars; touchscreen updated with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
- June 2021 Replacement Qashqai announced, with 138hp and 156hp 1.3-litre mild hybrid setups promising lower CO2 emissions.
Understanding Nissan Qashqai names
Engine 1.6 dCi
The engine's size is given in litres - in this case, 1.6-litres. Diesel engines carry the letters dCi, while petrol versions are known as DIG-T
This dictates which equipment comes as standard. From bottom to top, the Qashqai’s trim levels are Visia, Acenta, N-Connecta, Tekna and Tekna+.
Qashqais fitted with an automatic gearbox are badged xTronic or DCT, which stands for dual-clutch transmission, a more advanced gearbox with faster and smoother shifts.
Nissan Qashqai Engines
Petrol: DiG-T 140, DiG-T 160 Diesel: 1.5 dCi, 1.6 dCi
Petrol-powered Nissan Qashqai models have always made a strong case for themselves thanks to their lower purchase price and reasonable fuel economy, compared with other petrol crossovers.
The problem with the cheapest 1.2-litre DiG-T models, sold until autumn 2018, is that the engine could feel underpowered, particularly when accelerating at high speeds. The new 1.3-litre is a vast improvement, mostly because it isn’t anywhere near as slow. Not only is it quicker in 0-62mph testing, but more importantly, it has more thump for more of the time. Overtaking on a B road no longer requires months of planning.
If you're looking at more recent models, you'll have the choice of a DiG-T 140 model, with 140 horsepower (25hp more than the older engine), or a more powerful DiG-T 160. Both return 53.3mpg, according to official figures, which falls to around 38.5mpg in real-world driving, according to estimates from the Equa Index, which publishes realistic mpg figures based on detailed road tests. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are 121g/km for both engines, making them competitive company car choices.
The more powerful DiG-T 160 engine is also available with a new dual-clutch transmission (DCT) automatic gearbox. Once again, top points for Nissan. This automatic is much better than the old one, which was noisy, making the car feel like you were constantly over-revving it.
The new type feels feels willing and ready, as well as smooth and quiet. It also gives you the option of changing gears yourself, by palming the gear shift to the right, then pushing it down to change down a gear, or up to change up a gear.
Despite the efficient petrol engines, diesel Qashqais are more economical still. If you’re regularly travelling long distances, there’s a good chance that the fuel savings from a diesel will more than make up for the higher purchase price.
The 1.5-litre dCi is the least powerful engine in the range, but it doesn't need revving hard, so feels livelier. The official fuel economy figure of more than 70mpg is impressive, but the reality is closer to 50mpg when the car is driven on the road.
Less efficient, but more powerful, the 1.6-litre dCi is a good choice for those who expect to work their Qashqai hard, towing loads or covering lots of motorway miles. It's the only engine available with four-wheel drive, and you can also opt for an automatic gearbox (but you can't have both together). Expect around 46mpg from the manual car and 43mpg from the auto.
|Fuel||Official fuel economy||Power||Acceleration (0-62mph)||Top speed|
|1.3 DiG-T 140||Petrol||53.3mpg||140hp||10.5sec||121mph|
|1.3 DiG-T 160||Petrol||53.3mpg||160hp||8.9sec (9.9sec)||124mph|
|1.6 dCi||Diesel||62.8-68.9mpg||130hp||9.9sec (11.1sec)||118mph (114mph)|
Figures in brackets are for automatic cars
Nissan Qashqai Trims
Visia, Acenta, Acenta Premium, N-Connecta, Tekna, Tekna+
Trim levels on the Nissan Qashqai have remained relatively similar, but did have different names on earlier models and the equipment included as standard has changed over the car's life. See the used section for more details.
The small steel wheels fitted to the least expensive Qashqai Visia don't look bad but they are a little dowdy, compared with higher trim levels. Inside it looks dated too, without a dashboard touchscreen. The current specification has the essentials, though, with air conditioning, cruise control, digital radio, Bluetooth and power-adjustable heated door mirrors all coming as standard.
Acenta has better-looking 17in alloy wheels, rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlights, dual-zone climate control, so that both front passengers can select the temperature of the air around them, and a fold-down armrest for the rear seats. The most recent cars, only available from October 2018, also come with Apple Carplay and Android Auto as standard, so you can control messaging, phone, navigation and audio apps through the touchscreen or with voice commands.
Nissan Qashqais can be upgraded with equipment packs, which offer a series of options for less than if they were bought separately. The Smart Vision Pack is good value, at under £600. It includes automatic emergency braking, front and rear parking sensors, headlights that automatically switch to main beam when the road is clear (Acenta models only), and a warning if you drift out of the white lines on the road. It's standard on Acenta cars with the 1.5 dCi engine.
Acenta Premium costs around £500 more than Acenta cars from new and offers a visible upgrade over standard Acenta cars, thanks to the 7in dashboard touchscreen. On cars built before October 2018, this looks dated, but the graphics are much improved on more recent cars. A rear view camera is also included as standard for safer reversing.
Qashqai N-Connecta cars costing almost £2,000 more from new than Acenta cars. They add a dashboard touchscreen with sat-nav and an excellent 360-degree camera, which gives you a bird's-eye view all-round the car, reducing the chance of clouting kerbs or bollards while manoeuvring. The Smart Vision Pack comes as standard, as do bigger 18in alloy wheels. The Drive Assist Pack is optional, enabling the car to accelerate, brake and steer itself on motorways and dual carriageways, but you'll need to be ready to take over at any point and keep your hands on the wheel.
Beyond that, for a further £2,000, the Tekna trim offers leather seats, and large 19in alloy wheels. You can downgrade to 17-inch wheels, which give a more comfortable ride, free of charge. The Tekna+ trim added in 2017 includes (for an additional £1,000 compared to Tekna models) luxurious nappa seat leather with ‘3D quilting’, lumbar support in the front seats, satin silver door mirror caps and roof rails, and an eight-speaker Bose sound system.
Nissan Qashqai Reliability and warranty
Reliability hasn’t always been the Qashqai’s strong suit but it has improved in recent years – in the 2018 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey it finished a respectable 22nd out of 75 models tested.
Owner feedback suggests that earlier cars from the current generation were more troublesome. Electrics and software problems were most common issues; they won't necessarily leave you stranded but could mean frustrating extra visits to your dealer. If you’re buying a used Nissan Qashqai, it’s wise to find one with some warranty.
Used Nissan Qashqai
Even so, it has been four years since the current model first went on sale, so there are increasing numbers of second-hand cars and some good used Nissan Qashqai deals, particularly on better-equipped cars that lose more of their value. Prices start at £7,680 on BuyaCar, or from £159.36 per month with finance.
The current N-Connecta specification replaced n-tec+ in early 2016. These older models come with a 360-degree camera, panoramic sunroof, automatic emergency braking and automatic folding mirrors and cost from £7,680 or from £0.00 per month.
The Nissan Qashqai Acenta Premium is also worth seeking out, as it's a sizeable upgrade equipment over the Acenta. Extra equipment includes a touchscreen with sat-nav, a reversing camera and digital radio (which wasn't fitted to early Visia and Acenta models). it also includes the Smart Vision Pack with features like automatic emergency braking and front and rear parking sensors. This pack is also standard on more recent Acenta 1.5dCi 115 models.
Cars built before the summer 2017 update should be cheaper than more recent ones. The older cars look slightly different, with a grille that's separate from the number plate. Inside, they have a round round steering wheel, rather than the flat-bottomed one on newer Qashqais.
The petrol engine line-up’s significant shake-up in autumn 2018 meant that the old 1.2 and 1.6-litre DiG-T petrol engines were no longer available. As a used buy, the 1.2 is probably the better bet of the two, but if you need to haul big loads over long distances you’d almost certainly be better off with the extra power of the 1larger engine.
|Nissan Qashqai used prices||1 year old||2 years old||3 years old|
|Best for economy
Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi Acenta
|Best for families
Nissan Qashqai 1.3 DiG-T N-Connecta*
|Best for performance
Nissan Qashqai 1.6 dCi N-Connecta*
*Pre-2019 cars have a 1.2-litre engine; n-tec+ is the equivalent to N-Connecta for pre-2016 models