The Qashqai is a vital car for Nissan. As well as inventing the crossover segment 10 years ago it is British designed and built and is the fourth best-selling car in the UK.
It was due for a refresh and Nissan has done a lot to the car, giving it a more aggressive front end, new bonnet, grille, headlights and indicators and a better quality cabin. Despite all that, it doesn’t look vastly different at first glance.
Its seats are now more supportive and use NASA technology to improve passengers’ blood flow. There’s a new D-shaped steering wheel and clearer dials and Nissan claim the engines are quieter than before.
At the car’s launch I tried a 163PS version with a 1.6-litre petrol engine and I have spent a week with a 1.6-litre diesel version with 130PS. The petrol unit is the more refined but lacks torque in the upper gears. The diesel has more torque but sounds a bit gruff in comparison.
There is more of a premium feel to the new Qashqai but it does come at a price. The top-spec petrol test car cost £29,995 and the diesel weighed in at £32,025.
For a family car the Qashqai was always pleasant to drive, but I wouldn’t say the latest version was any better than before in this respect. Its steering can feel a bit slow and the over-chatty sat-nav annoyed driver and passengers alike by giving too many unnecessary instructions, which made listening to the radio a tortuous business.
This is a very well equipped, roomy and fuel efficient car, and as Nissan UK’s MD Alex Smith said, “From pencil line to production line it is British”. But unlike Nissan’s vastly improved new Micra, the Qashqai doesn’t feel much better than it was before.
Nissan Qashqai dCi 130 Tekna +
Top speed: 118mph
CO2 emissions: 116g/km
Combined mpg: 64.2
Price: £32,025 as tested