How old is it? This second-generation Nissan Qashqai was sold in the UK from 2014 onwards
How much does it cost? Prices start from £5,000*
What’s good about it? Quiet and comfortable, classy interior, easy to find a good one
What’s not so good? Question marks over reliability, could be more spacious, not as versatile as some rivals
What’s the Nissan Qashqai like?
The first Nissan Qashqai was a revelation, blurring the lines between a traditional family hatchback and a small SUV, and while the second-generation version continued in much the same vein it improved on the original in many areas.
Not least of which was the ride quality. This Qashqai is far more comfortable than earlier versions, smoothing out bumps and riding along in a quiet and composed way at motorway speeds.
It’s a very nice place to be, too; the interior is built from durable-feeling plastics and high-quality fabrics, and the driving position is just high enough to make visibility better than a normal family hatchback.
A range of good engines adds to the Qashqai’s appeal; we reckon the petrol turbos are the best, but the diesels are worth a look too if you do high miles. The CVT automatic gearbox is probably best avoided, though – it causes quite a lot of engine noise.
Granted, if you’re buying an SUV like this, driving excitement won’t be top of your list of priorities, but the Qashqai holds its own in this regard. It’s true that newer rivals like the Seat Ateca are a little crisper, but the Qashqai is still very easy and confidence-inspiring to drive.
Is it big enough for my family?
You get five seats in the Qashqai, and there are Isofix fittings on the two outer rear seats of every version. There’s no seven-seat variant, so if you need such a thing, you’ll have to upgrade to the Nissan X-Trail or a similar seven-seat SUV.
The rear seats aren’t quite as spacious as some SUVs’, and you don’t get a flat floor in the back, which means your middle-seat passenger won’t have quite as much leg room.
Meanwhile, the boot is about the same size as a normal family hatchback’s, but SUV rivals like the Peugeot 3008 offer more space. Many offer more versatility, too; while the Qashqai’s rear seats can be folded down individually, they don’t tumble or slide forward, and the clever variable boot floor only came as standard on the most expensive models.
How safe is the Nissan Qashqai?
In the industry benchmark Euro NCAP crash tests, the Qashqai scored 88 per cent for adult occupant protection and 83 per cent for child protection. Those are respectable scores, meaning the Qashqai should be pretty safe, but newer rivals have done better.
It’s also worth pointing out that not every model of Qashqai got emergency automatic braking as standard; Visia and Acenta versions did without it, though buyers could add it to both models as part of an optional safety package.
Which is the best version?
Performance is not what the Qashqai is about, and the lower-powered petrol versions are plenty punchy enough for most buyers, which is why they’re our favourites – look for the 1.2 DiG-T in earlier cars, or the 1.3-litre DiG-T 140 in later models.
If you’re a high-mileage driver, we recommend the 1.5-litre diesel instead of the 1.6 – it’s more efficient, a little quieter, and its power deficit isn’t really noticeable.
The Visia trim level is a little under-equipped, so we’d recommend upgrading at least to the Acenta, though if you can stretch your budget a little further, the Acenta Premium and N-Connecta versions look like the best blend of value and equipment.
Is the Nissan Qashqai reliable?
Nissan has a good reputation for reliability, with a fourth-place showing in the 2019 JD Power Vehicle Dependability Study, but there are a few signs the Qashqai hasn’t lived up to that. While owners are generally complimentary, they aren’t overwhelmingly positive, citing the car’s electrics as a weak point, and in particular, issues with the stop-start, heating and air conditioning systems.
From new, the Qashqai came with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty, which is about the minimum you’d expect these days; some rivals will be warranted for longer. If you buy a Qashqai from Nissan’s approved used car scheme, you’ll get an industry-standard year’s warranty and two years’ free servicing thrown in.
What do I need to look out for?
As we’ve already mentioned, the electrics in the Qashqai are somewhat suspect, with owners reporting quite a few different faults. You’ll want to check all of the electrics very carefully, and make sure they do what they’re supposed to; on your test-drive make sure the engine stops and re-starts as it should when you come to a stop, take the car out of gear, and take your foot off the clutch.
We’ve also heard of quite a few premature clutch failures on manual Qashqais, so check that the clutch bite point is low, that it doesn’t stick or judder, and that it’s easy to change gear.
How much should I pay for a Nissan Qashqai?*
£5,000 will get you behind the wheel of a second-generation Qashqai, but it’ll be a fairly tired one with a high mileage, so you’d be better off upping your budget to around £7,000 or so, which is where cars with average miles and decent service histories start. There are plenty around, so you can afford to be picky; it shouldn’t be too hard to find a well cared-for example.
If you’re after one of the facelifted cars, which were introduced in 2017 with updated styling, more equipment, better-quality materials and more sound deadening, you’ll need to pay at least £11,000 for a good one.
We found: 2014 1.2 DiG-T Acenta Premium, 50,000 miles, full service history, £8,150
Why should I buy one?
The Qashqai is one of the most comfortable and quiet small SUVs around, and with its relatively compact dimensions and easy-going driving experience, its hassle-free nature is its biggest selling point.
However, don’t assume the Nissan badge buys you exemplary reliability, and keep in mind that some SUVs out there offer more space, more versatility, and a more exciting driving experience.
What alternatives to the Nissan Qashqai should I consider?
At the bottom end of the Qashqai price range, the Skoda Yeti offers similarly compact dimensions and an easy driving experience, but it’s much more versatile than the Qashqai, with clever rear seats that fold and tumble individually.
If it’s a newer Qashqai you’re looking at, the Seat Ateca is not only more fun to drive but also more spacious, while the Toyota C-HR has a longer warranty and a better reputation for reliability.
* Prices correct at time of writing (March 2020)
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