Being first to the market with this ground-breaking new type of car has been good for Nissan.
Despite more than 30 similar models now being on sale in the UK, the Qashqai is still ahead of the pack sales-wise and was the UK’s fifth best-selling car in 2016.
Buyers seem to love its high-riding nature, rugged styling and flexibility.
Nissan has revised the latest Qashqai in an attempt to stay ahead of the game
Nissan has now revised the latest Qashqai, first introduced in 2013, in an attempt to stay ahead of the game.
The second-generation Qashqai has a sharper, more sophisticated and mature exterior design, which has been enhanced with a series of changes.
There’s a new front bumper that blends more with the car’s colour; a new grille with a new, flatter badge design on models fitted with autonomous emergency braking, because it conceals the radar system behind; and the grille’s chrome surround also houses a front camera that is used as part of the 360-degree parking camera system.
Also new are headlight units, with the halogen and LED variants (depending on the trim level) looking different.
Other exterior changes include a redesigned clamshell bonnet, with new creases on the surface; a new range of alloy wheels; a redesigned rear bumper (with some versions also featuring silver inserts in the lower apron, for a more rugged, off-roading look) and new rear LED lights.
The range of engines has continued as before, so there is 1.2 and 1.6-litre petrols and 1.5 and 1.6-litre diesels, all of which are turbo-charged. The 1.5-litre diesel has 109bhp and an 11.7-second 0-to-60mph time.
However, its real attraction is its 74.3mpg average fuel economy and 99g/km emissions.
Admittedly, that latter figure isn’t as important as it was before the changes in road tax in April but it will save a few pounds in the first year. The ever-so-slightly larger and more powerful 1.6 turbo-diesel produces 128bhp – which reduces the 0-to-60mph time to 9.8 seconds in two-wheel drive guise, 10.4 seconds with four-wheel drive and 11.0 seconds when fitted with a CVT automatic gearbox.
The new Nissan Qashqai has a sharper, more sophisticated and mature exterior design
Indeed, these different versions also have an effect on economy, with the standard (and most popular) two-wheel drive manual gearbox variant returning 64.2pmpg and 116g/km, while the four-wheel drive version has figures of 57.6mpg and 129g/km, and the auto 60.1mpg and 122g/km.
Engine refinement is good, with very little intrusive noise permeating the cabin, especially at cruising speeds.
While the manual gearbox is the more popular option among buyers, the CVT is surprisingly good for an automatic of this kind, without the usual loud, revvy nature.
For those after a petrol, the entry-level car is the 113bhp 1.2 with 50.4mpg and 129g/km in both six-speed manual and automatic versions. Above it in the line-up is the 1.6-litre with 161bhp and economy figures of 48.7mpg and 134g/km.
This latter engine is a smooth-running unit that will have a lot of appeal to drivers who don’t necessarily cover huge mileages or spend much of their driving life in urban areas. A significant portion of the Qashqai’s popularity can probably be attributed to how it drives.
There’s nothing outstanding about it, but it delivers the kind of consistent and stable driving experience that most buyers are looking for. It can feel a tad wallowy in the corners, with some noticeable body roll at speed but otherwise it fits the bill for most drivers, especially with a new steering system, which Nissan says has been improved in response to feedback from owners.
There is plenty of space for five occupants in the cabin
The ride has also been improved, with changes to the suspension and Active Ride Control systems, making the Qashqai more compliant and comfortable and reducing jarring in the cabin when tackling any rougher roads and potholes.
The Qashqai’s cabin has also improved, with a new flatbottomed steering wheel and upgraded, more supportive seats being the stand-out features.
There is still plenty of space for five occupants in the cabin, with the rear offering increased legroom (thanks to slimmer front seats) and sufficient headroom for most adults. Boot space has also been increased, when the rear seats are down, to 1,598 litres (up from 1,585 litres).
With the rear seats in place, that remains at 430 litres though. The number of trims has been increased to five, with a better-specified Tekna + added at the top of the range (in addition to the existing Visia, Acenta, N-Connecta and Tekna).
One of the most interesting new features of this revised Qashqai, however, isn’t yet ready as Nissan will add the option of its ProPILOT semi-autonomous driving features at the end of next year.
Nissan has made changes to the suspension and Active Ride Control systems
They should be an interesting insight into the future of self-driving cars, without quite being the finished article. Nissan is clearly fully acquainted with the adage: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
Everything that has been revised in the Qashqai has been done in a considered way and all the changes are positive ones that will enhance the car’s appeal.
There’s a lot more competition than there was when the car was first launched, with the Renault Kadjar, Peugeot 3008, Ford Kuga, Hyundai Tuscon and Kia Sportage the nearest rivals. The Qashqai is better is some departments and worse in others but it’s still among the best in its class.
As British drivers show no sign of turning away from crossovers, the Qashqai is unlikely to lose its high status in the popularity stakes.
Nissan has made improvements to the Qashqai in response to feedback from owners
Model: Nissan Qashqai
Price range: £19,295 – £32,530
Engine range: Turbo-petrol – 1.2, 1.6-litre; Turbo-diesel – 1.5, 1.6-litre
Power: 0-60mph in 8.7 seconds, 124mph top speed (1.6 DIG-T)
Average fuel economy: 743mpg (1.5TD)
CO2 emissions range: 99-134g/ km
Rivals: Ford Kuga, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Peugeot 3008, Renault Kadjar