2017 Nissan Qashqai review: Still In Front

Introduction

In 2006 the Nissan Qashqai replaced both the Almera and Primera, catapulting the idea that a small SUV might be a stylish substitute for your boring old family hatchback or saloon. It worked, too, and Nissan has been knocking them out at an amazing rate ever since, seemingly hitting on a winning formula that describes exactly what the buying public wants. Rivals have been playing catch up for the last decade, but the Qashqai is rightly still heading the class.

Body Style: 5-door crossover              Seats: 5                            

MRP from £19,295 - £32,530 

Did you know? Nissan borrowed the name Qashqai from a conglomeration of clans of Lori, Kurdish, Arab and Turkic origins renowned for their pile carpets and other wool products.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Verdict: ★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

One of the UK’s biggest selling cars that’s built here too, the Nissan Qashqai might not be the most fun or exciting model in its class, but it’s defined by a level of competence that’s impossible to argue against.

Throw good pricing, decent specifications and economy into the mix and that’s even more true; the Qashqai may be the unimaginative choice in the segment it defined, but for most buyers it’ll unequivocally be the right one.

Design & Exterior

★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10)

Interior & Comfort

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Technology & Connectivity

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Performance & Handling

★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ (6/10)

Safety Features

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Spec & Trim Levels

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Running Costs & Fuel Economy

★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10)

Pricing

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

2017 Nissan Qashqai

We Like

Usefulness

General all-round competence

Plentiful standard kit and sensible pricing

We Don't Like

Omnipresence

Dull to drive

Interior feels and looks a bit dated

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Design & Exterior:★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10)

Given the relative simplicity of the original Qashqai, the current one is a busy-looking design. That’s no bad thing, though, making it stand out, even though they’re absolutely everywhere.

Proportionally it’s neat, the tapering rear windows sharpening the profile, while the prominent clamshell bonnet and deep grille beneath are bold and confident. It received a modest mid-2017, Nissan understandably reluctant to do anything too radical with its winning design.

So, new LED running lights, a re-profiled grille and some new rear lights headed the list of subtle, mid-life improvements. 

2017 Nissan Qashqai reviewed

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Interior & Comfort:★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

That 2017 refresh also brought some new soft touch materials inside, and Nissan is adamant that it has added some ‘premium’ feel to the interior. That’s relative, as the fit and finish aren't going to have the interior folks at Volkswagen losing any sleep, let alone anyone at Audi.

Much has been made about steering wheel, too, which from 2017 is bigger, flat-bottomed and thicker, though the real comfort changes in the Qashqai’s 2017 mid-life refresh come courtesy of improvements to refinement. Nissan has worked on smoothing the airflow around and under the car, going so far as adding vanes up front under the bumper, re-profiling the wing mirrors and adding acoustic dampening in the door panels and thicker glass in the rear windows. It’s worked, too, adding a bit more serenity to the Qashqai’s cabin.

Space is good inside, so there’s enough room for three at a push across the rear seats, while the boot comes with a false floor that allows you to hide items and compartmentalise at will. The seatbacks fold in a 60/40 split and the Qashqai offers up a bit more load and passenger space than the conventional hatchbacks it’s priced and pitched against. All the better for those active lifestyles the owners have, then…  

2017 Nissan Qashqai

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Technology & Connectivity:★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

There’s plenty of equipment, though if you’ve jumped out of a Seat Ateca or Peugeot 3008 you might look at the infotainment system and think it’s all a bit old-school.

Connectivity tech includes Bluetooth and USB, plus DAB audio on all models, but for the seven-inch touchscreen and infotainment you’ll need to be in N-Connecta grade and above; it's a cost option on Acenta and not available on the Visia entry-level trim. There’s a Bose premium stereo, too.

You’ll be able to hook up your smartphone and operate apps via NissanConnect, while the cool Around View Monitor optional extra is useful in seeing everything around you when parking.

From 2018 on Nissan will add its ProPilot system, which is the firm’s first step towards autonomy; it's likely to be offered as an option pack on all but the most expensive Tekna+ trim level.    

2017 Nissan Qashqai reviewed

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Performance & Handling:★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ (6/10)

There really is nothing to get too excited about here, and while that might disappoint some, most buyers are unlikely to really care. For the 2017 model year Nissan improved the suspension and steering for greater agility, though the steering gained some odd weighting as a result - at least the body control is commendable. The ride can get a bit busy on rougher roads and with larger alloy wheel choices, but overall the dynamics are defined by competence and surefootedness as you might anticipate in a car that’s aimed to please so many.

It might not offer the dynamism of a Seat Ateca then, and nor do any of the engines deliver much in the way of memorable performance. Again, competence is the order of the day here, the line-up encompassing 1.5- and 1.6-litre turbodiesels with either 110hp or 130hp, plus a 115hp 1.2-litre petrol or 1.6-litre 163hp 1.6-litre petrol. All are front-wheel drive, with the exception of the 1.6-litre diesel, which can be had with four-wheel drive. The standard transmission is a six-speed manual in all, though a CVT ‘XTronic’ automatic is offered with both the front-wheel-drive 1.6-litre diesel and 1.2-litre petrol. Choose it for around town ease if you must, but the manual’s the better choice everywhere else.

If you do big motorway miles, one of the trio of diesels should be your prime choices. The 1.6-litre comes in two flavours - 128bhp or 161bhp. Both conjure up strength low in the rev range and are ideal for dispensing with dawdling traffic. Under hard acceleration there is a bit of vibration that makes its way into the cabin, but nothing too alarming.

Said 1.6 diesel can be specced with all-wheel drive on both power outputs to give an added sense of security in all weathers. Teamed with the Qashqai’s ground clearance it certainly adds some mild off-roading capabilities, but don’t expect to follow anything wearing a Land Rover badge.

The other option is a 1.5-litre diesel engine with 108bhp. You can’t have it with all-wheel drive - that won’t bother the majority - but it doesn’t feel lacking next to the bigger engine. In reality, it feels responsive enough and is still a good motorway performer. Economy is also better with a claimed 74mpg combined. In real world driving, mid to high 50s are possible without really trying.

Recommended engine: 1.5 dCi 110 2WD

0-62 MPH

11.9 seconds

Fuel economy

74.3mpg

Emissions

99g/km CO2

2017 Nissan Qashqai

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Safety Features:★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

All Qashqais come with six airbags as standard, ABS with Electronic Brake Force Distribution, and electronic stability control. When it was tested in 2014 it gained a five-star rating from Euro NCAP. There’s tyre pressure monitoring, too, and an option pack adds Intelligent Emergency Braking, Traffic Sign Recognition, Intelligent Rear View mirror, Lane Departure Warning and front and rear parking sensors.

Those packs are a cost option on Visia and Acenta, and standard from N-Connecta and above. The Intelligent Emergency Braking now incorporates Pedestrian Recognition, too, while there’s also a driver drowsiness monitoring system Nissan calls Intelligent Driver Alertness, which is incorporated in the Safety Shield Technologies that come with the N-Connecta trim and above.  

From 2018 the Qashqai will gain Nissan’s semi-autonomous drive technology dubbed ProPilot as an option. It controls the steering, acceleration and braking in single lane highways and during heavy traffic and at higher motorway speeds.

2017 Nissan Qashqai

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Specs and Trim Levels:★★★★★★★★★☆ (9/10)

Colours

Eleven colours offer a broad palette for the wide audience the Qashqai caters for. There’s everything from the usual white, grey and silver choices, through to more vivid reds and blues, as well as more adventurous hues like Chestnut Bronze. The Qashqai’s busy shape and contrasting black trim works well with a range of colours, metallic finishes making the most of the many contoured body, though there’s little wrong either with the standard Flame Red that’s the no-cost option.

Trim Levels

Anyone familiar with Nissans will recognise the trim walk for the Qashqai. Entry level is Visia, which comes with manual air conditioning, tyre pressure monitoring, DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control with speed limiter and electrically adjustable heated door mirrors. Acenta builds on that with dual-zone climate control, auto headlights and rain-sensing wipers, front fog lamps, 17-inch alloy wheels and the divider for the boot that apparently allows 16 different configurations for managing your luggage.

Jump to N-Connecta and that standard equipment is added to with the seven-inch touchscreen navigation and entertainment system called the Smart Vision Pack, Intelligent Around View Monitor, 19-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, roof rails and an 'intelligent' key with push button start.

Tekna ups that even more. With it you’re treated to Bose audio, while the safety kit is enhanced with Safety Shield Technologies, which includes Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Blind Spot warning, Intelligent Park Assist and Intelligent Driver Alertness. There’s a thermaclear windscreen, as well, plus 19-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, adaptive, self-levelling front lighting and part leather heated front seats with an electrically adjustable driver’s seat.

Tekna+ was added in 2017 due to customer demand for even more luxury and equipment. With it you benefit from leather trim, memory function on the electric driver’s seat and mirrors, a panoramic glass roof and gloss silver roof rails and mirror caps. It’s worth noting that, if you pick a trim with Bose audio, you lose the ability to add the space saver spare wheel.

Size and Dimensions

Length

4,394mm

Width

1,806mm

Height

1,595mm

Max towing weight without brake

675kg-750kg

2017 Nissan Qashqai reviewed

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Running Costs & Fuel Economy:★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10)

With the exception of the 99g/km CO2 output and 74.3mpg combined economy figure that the 1.5-litre dCi turbodiesel manage, the Qashqai trails most of its newer rivals when it comes to economy and emissions. All the engines need working pretty hard, which will make getting anywhere near to those official consumption figures pretty tricky, if not impossible.

It’s a hugely popular car, so there are plenty of used examples out there, which doesn’t do wonders for residual values in the long run. The trade-off for that are decent insurance groupings and affordable servicing, and there's plenty of competition out there to service them, so running cost should be very respectable indeed.  

Reliability and servicing

The Qashqai might sell in huge numbers, but Nissan’s got a bit of work to do regarding reliability. There’s plenty of evidence from the current model that electrical problems can cause headaches, the Qashqai trailing its Japanese rivals in customer satisfaction surveys.

Minor

12 months or 12,500 miles

Major

24 months or 25,000 miles

2017 Nissan Qashqai

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Pricing:★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Nissan very aggressively defends its position in the marketplace, the Qashqai having always been a good value proposition – particularly in relation to many family hatchbacks it competes against. It faces newer competition today, though Nissan counters with improved standard equipment across the range.

The entry-level Visia can be had for under £20,000 if you don’t tick a single option, but Nissan admits that the majority of sales are in the N-Connecta and Tekna trim grades. An N-Connecta with the 110hp diesel will suit most, and be yours for under £26,000, which looks like pretty decent value given how competent and well equipped that package is.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Recommendations

Tech junkie

It has to be the Tekna+, which comes with all the bells and whistles, though wait until 2018 for ProPilot

Cost conscious

A Visia with the 99g/km CO2 output 1.5-litre diesel saves you when you buy it, and will cost little to run

Luxury Seeker

Tekna+ again, though here with the 130hp diesel and CVT automatic for the ease of use

 

Rivals

Seat Ateca

Sharper to drive, neater inside, it’s a tough package to beat

Peugeot 3008

Funky looks and a far more interesting interior; more fun to drive, too

Volkswagen Tiguan

You’ll pay more for it, but it’s money well spent and you’ll feel where it’s been spent, too

Ford Kuga

Getting old, but that sharp Ford drive remains compelling, though it’s not as cheap as it could be

Kia Sportage

Not so nice to look at in its replacement guise, but still a compelling all-round good-value choice

What others say

Auto Express

"This is still a practical, efficient and good to drive family crossover, even if more modest variants offer better value for money."

Top Gear

"Not the unassailable class leader it once was, but still one of the best small SUVs on sale."

 

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