The Nissan Qashqai has been such a success for the Japanese brand that it’s often referred to in the industry as the ‘Qashcow’.
Built at the Sunderland plant in the UK, it’s done rather well since it first arrived in 2006 as the forerunner of what is considered to be the modern crossover trend.
Back then its main rivals were models like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V, but today the market is full of crossovers and SUVs eager to grab a slice of the action.
To keep the upstarts at bay, Nissan has moved the new Qashqai onto the Renault-Nissan Alliance CMF-C platform, which means it’s bigger and ready for electrification – but we’ll get to that later on.
For now, we’ve spent time in the UK-spec model. For reference, the Tekna starts at £30,845 – or around $58,848 – sitting below only the flagship Tekna+ at £34,175 ($65,201). Obviously, current exchange rates impede a more accurate pricing conversion.
With that said, a Tekna with CVT is priced in line with the equivalent-spec Hyundai Tucson and Peugeot 3008 in the UK.
Highlights overseas include super-slim LED headlights up front with ‘raindrop’ optic effect lights at the rear, available 9.0-inch infotainment and 12.3-inch digital instrument displays, a 10.8-inch head-up display, dual-zone climate control with rear vents, 360-degree cameras, quilted leather seats and a Bose premium audio system.
We mentioned earlier it’s bigger, measuring up at 4425mm in length – 31mm longer than the outgoing model. It is 29mm wider and 30mm higher, but the most important figure is the wheelbase, which is 19mm longer (2665mm).
That translates into more interior space for those up front and crucially, for those sat in the back seats, who get more head- and legroom. The boot also gets more space too, with 50 litres more than before (480L). More on the interior later.
While no-one has yet put it through the usual crash tests, we expect it to do well.
The outgoing generation has a five-star ANCAP rating, and the new one packs in some features that weren’t available previously.
A few systems beep a lot, such as the lane departure warning that should really be named ‘stay exactly in between the lines to the millimetre or I’ll beep madly at you warning’.
Other more useful features include forward collision alert, autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian, cyclist and junction assist, rear cross-traffic alert and driver attention alert. There’s also the usual selection of airbags, ISOFIX child seat anchors, hill start assist and so on.
As a family car, it should be as safe as anything.
If you haven’t been in a Qashqai for some time, then you’ll be surprised at how upmarket it’s all become.
Our test car had sumptuous dark blue leather, a digital instrumentation display and a large touchscreen infotainment system.
It’s all very comfortable, with a nice layout and everything easily within reach. The Qashqai is a bit bigger as we said earlier, and it’s really noticeable inside.
From the driver’s seat everything feels much bigger, less compact crossover and more big SUV. The centre console between the seats in particular seems massive, sort of BMW massive.
The model we drove had a useful wireless charging pad for your phone, an electronic parking brake, a drive mode selector, as well as two cupholders.
There’s a centre storage cubby with two parts, handy for putting your face mask in the top bit and then anything bigger in the lower section.
The brushed piano black wood-look trim looks nice, but as is so often the case we wonder if anyone actually spent time living with it and if they did whether they had cleaning OCD and wiped it every five minutes to remove the finger marks.
There’s not a lot of personalisation in the digital display with just one rather bland theme, but you could just look at the head-up display that rises from the dash to give you all the essential info too.
The optional panoramic sunroof makes the interior feel light and airy, although there is quite a thick panel just ahead of it, which I banged my head on a few times whenever I shuffled in my seat.
The seats themselves have lots of adjustment and good lumbar support, and it’s easy to get a good driving position.
The back seats have plenty of space, too, and on a long-distance trip our two kids in their child seats were comfortable and liked that it was easy for them to reach the window switches.
They also had storage for kids’ stuff – water bottles and the like – they could reach easily. It’s also worth mentioning the rear passenger doors open to 90 degrees, which makes it so easy for the kids to get in and out. You’ll want to be careful in the supermarket car park on a windy day, though.
The boot is spacious with two floor panels that can be opened or removed for larger items or to hide things away. It’s great if you want somewhere secure to put a laptop bag for instance.
As noted earlier, the new Qashqai’s boot area has grown by 50 litres to 490L in five-seat configuration, which is more than a Mazda CX-5. Fold the rear seats and there’s up to 1422L to the roof.
Overall, the interior is a comfortable and premium place to be with just the right amount of tech and luxury to make sure it ticks all the boxes as a great family crossover.