When the first-generation Nissan Qashqai was launched, it pioneered a crossover market sector which has since grown massively in popularity. The Qasqhai has remained at the forefront of this new niche sector.
In fact, the Nissan has established itself as a genuine alternative to small and more traditional-designed family hatchbacks like the Ford Focus or Vauxhall Astra.
Now we have the new second-generation Qashqai, launched by Nissan during January earlier this year. One again the crossover aims to attract many family car customers, with its distinct new design, frugal engines and wide range of equipment including many new safety add-ons.
The second-generation Qashqai retains its familiar SUV shape but Nissan has given the front-end a major redesign. It’s more curvaceous and sportier look is reminiscent of another Nissan crossover model, the new X-Trail SUV.
As standard the Qashqai’s exterior features boomerang-shaped LED lights and Nissan’s new trademark U-shaped chrome insert for the grille.
The inside of the latest Qashqai is very different compared to its predecessor. For one thing the quality of the materials used is greatly improved.
Also, thanks to customer feedback, the traditional handbrake has been swapped for an electronic parking brake. The thinking behind this change is that it frees up more space for owners to put items in between the front seats of the car.
A key strength, which was carried by the previous Qashqai, is that this car is very spacious and user-friendly for seating a family. Standard boot space has also increased by 20 litres compared to the previous Qashqai, meaning it now totals an impressive 430 litres.
Furthermore, the tailgate now opens 150mm higher for easier access to the rear, where there’s also a dual-floor system. This allows two floor panels to be lifted separately for extra storage underneath.
There are four trim levels, starting with ‘Visia’ and followed with ‘Acenta’, ‘Acenta Premium’ and Tekna. Even basic models come well equipped with luxuries, featuring cruise control, automatic air conditioning and a five-inch colour infotainment screen.
Higher trim levels give you access to Nissan’s wide array of clever safety technology, such as traffic sign recognition, blind spot warning and moving object detection. Further boosting the Qashqai’s safety credentials is its five-star rating from Euro NCAP.
On the road
While the Qashqai may be styled like an SUV, Nissan has fine-tuned this car so it’s suited most comfortably to the roads, including the tight and twisty ones found in cities. Like its predecessor, the new Qashqai caters very well to those that want to drive something with sizeable presence and a high seating position, but without sacrificing ride quality.
The Nissan Qashqai corners well considering its tall ride height and the steering provides a good amount of feedback to the driver.
Also impressive is the engine selection, which includes the entry-level 1.2-litre DIG-T turbo petrol unit with 113bhp. Also available is a 1.6-litre DIG-T with 148bhp and a 1.6-litre diesel with 128bhp. The 1.6 diesel is offered with two or four-wheel-drive powertrains and can use an automatic gearbox rather than the standard manual used for the Qashqai.
For the most efficient running, there’s the outstanding 109bhp 1.5-litre dCi diesel. Offering a zero to 62mph sprint time of 11.9 seconds, in the Qashqai this unit feels like no slouch. At the same time it returns a very eye-catching combined fuel consumption figure of 74.3mpg, while CO2 emissions are recorded at a mere 99g/km.
The second-generation Nissan Qashqai makes significant strides over its successful predecessor and is all-round a very welcome entry in the family car market.
If you’re a family motorist after a car that’s more practical than your average hatchback, but an engaging drive remains crucial, then the Qashqai is easy to recommend. It performs strongly in all crucial areas including running costs, practicality, safety and equipment levels.
Pricing for the new Nissan Qashqai currently starts at £17,995.