Nissan Qashqai Review logo

Nissan Qashqai Review

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1/10

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2013
      Body type
      Crossover
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Diesel
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
“Pioneering crossover SUV still appeals”

Best bits

  • Appealing SUV styling and stance
  • Comfortable ride
  • Fuel-efficient and affordable to own

Not so great

  • Rear-seat space is off the pace
  • Not a car for driving enthusiasts
  • Models with big wheels have a stiff ride

Read by

Nissan Qashqai front

Overall verdict

Nissan Qashqai backright exterior

On the inside

Nissan Qashqai backright exterior

Driving

Nissan Qashqai right exterior

How much does it cost to run

Nissan Qashqai central console

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"As a new car, the Nissan Qashqai isn’t quite as competitive as it once was, although it’s still a well-rounded and family-friendly machine. Its appeal as a second-hand model is growing, though, with plenty to choose from. It’s easy to see why it continues to be so popular."

Nissan Qashqai front

The 2013 Qashqai is the second generation of Nissan’s groundbreaking crossover SUV. Rarely has a modern car proven so pivotal and changed the marketplace so comprehensively.


Before the Qashqai, the family hatchback had ruled the roost. Nissan showed that buyers could have more, with a car that combined SUV styling and qualities with hatchback dynamics and running costs. It was an instant hit.


This version of Qashqai further honed the original formula. If anything, it was even chunkier and more SUV-like, with extra curves and styling flourishes. A standout feature were the LED running lights built into the headlights, meaning there was no missing it out on the road.


It also had more space on the inside – by now, SUVs were devouring the MPV market – and was better to drive than the outdated original. Sophisticated new engines broadened the line-up, particularly the new petrol motors, while it was comprehensively made-over inside with a posher dashboard and better (albeit still not class-leading) infotainment.


Back in the mid-2010s, diesel engines still ruled, and Nissan sold a lot of Qashqais fitted with the 1.5-litre dCi and 1.6-litre dCi motors. Both are sourced from its Alliance partner, Renault, and both perform well. We actually prefer the smaller engine, as it’s cheaper and better on fuel; the jump to the 1.6-litre isn’t that great. The two petrol engines are the 1.2-litre DIG-T and 1.6 DIG-T. The latter is almost a hot hatch-style motor, meaning the 1.2-litre sold best. It’s an OK engine, provided you don’t demand too much from it.


The British Nissan engineering team at Cranfield was responsible for developing the Qashqai, which is perhaps why it copes so well with rubbish British roads. The ride is generally supple – if you avoid larger alloy wheels – and it is good at shrugging off the worst humps and potholes.


It handles nicely, too. Part of the appeal of the original Qashqai was how car-like it felt to drive when compared with a traditional SUV, and Nissan worked to further enhance that feeling with this one. It is a safe, lithe machine, which doesn’t roll too much and rarely feels leaden or uncooperative.


Nissan facelifted the Qashqai in 2017. It was a reasonably comprehensive makeover, with an even more premium-look exterior that further emphasised its SUV-wannabe credentials. The interior was given a lift in quality and infotainment was much-improved. Following customer demand, larger new alloy wheels were offered – from 17 inches right up to 19 inches.  


There was a further update in late 2018, when a new 1.3-litre DIG-T petrol engine replaced the older powerplants. With either 140PS or 160PS, it feels responsive, and the fact it is also used in the Mercedes-Benz A-Class (again, thanks to behind-the-scenes deals) helps add kudos. In summer 2019, the Qashqai gained Propilot autonomous driving assistance tech, as first seen in the Nissan Leaf. You can spot these cars from the blue ‘circle’ button on the steering wheel.


A regular top 10 best-seller in the UK, the Nissan Qashqai continues to be very popular. It achieves this because of its all-round abilities and still-smart looks. It may be getting on a bit as a new car purchase, but it still has lots of appeal as a used model, particularly as prices have now dropped to well below £10,000. Let us be your guide to buying a Nissan Qashqai.

Is the Nissan Qashqai right for you?

Hundreds of thousands of family car buyers can’t be wrong. The Nissan Qashqai is a perfect family-focused all-rounder that will grow with the kids and remain useful for a long while until they outgrow it. Inside, it is practical, the boot isn’t a bad size, and it feels a cut above a regular family hatchback. You get a sense of justified bragging rights over the neighbours.


It’s an affordable car to buy, particularly as a used car proposition. The fact so many were sold to new car buyers means there’s a great deal of choice out there – you can afford to wait until the right colour, trim or engine comes along, because it won’t be long before it does.


The Qashqai is also safe, reliable, well-equipped and good to drive, with ride and handling that won’t offend. You don’t even need to spend more on range-topping engines, as the regular ones will do just fine.

What’s the best Nissan Qashqai model/engine to choose?

The 1.5-litre dCi is a safe bet for Qashqai buyers, as it’s good on diesel and has a fair amount of pulling power in reserve. It’s by no means quick, but will rarely feel underwhelming, even on longer trips. The 1.6-litre has more go, but not that much more, and it’s less economical.


The 1.2-litre DIG-T is a decent engine, but you might prefer the later 1.3-litre DIG-T if you really want a petrol engine and can afford it. The 1.6-litre engines are fine, particularly those paired with an automatic transmission, but they’re somehow just a bit disappointing – given the lift in power offered.


The smartly-styled Qashqai looks good even in base-spec guise, and it won’t be obvious that you’re driving the cheapest model. The extra features of higher-spec trims are novel, though, particularly Acenta and N-tec versions.

What other cars are similar to the Nissan Qashqai?

The Nissan Qashqai started a trend and, by the time this model arrived in 2013, there were no end of alternatives. Popular models include the Ford Kuga, Volkswagen Tiguan, Peugeot 3008, Renault Kadjar, Citroen C5 Aircross, Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, plus newer upstarts such as the SEAT Ateca and Skoda Karoq.


The Kia Sportage is another car that sometimes challenges the Qashqai for sales, and is more popular car than its in-house sister car, the Hyundai ix35 (later replaced by the Hyundai Tucson).


There was even an in-house rival for those who needed a more rugged SUV with seven seats: the Nissan X-Trail.

Learn more

Nissan Qashqai backright exterior

On the inside

Nissan Qashqai backright exterior

Driving

Nissan Qashqai right exterior

How much does it cost to run

Nissan Qashqai central console

Prices, versions and specification