Back in 2007 the original Qashqai pleasantly surprised the UK audience with its ambiguous styling: was it a 4×4 or a family hatchback? It managed to be both, and was a huge success because of it; selling 1.5 million units in Europe.
With such a huge success on its hands it was clear that Nissan wasn’t going to let the Qashqai’s pedigree diminish, and the latest model has already won the What Car? Car of the Year Award for 2014 as the best value small SUV or crossover.
But taking off the rose-tinted spectacles for a moment here’s our breakdown of the Qashqai and whether it lives up to the hype.
From a personal standpoint I think the original Qashqai was a fairly ugly looking vehicle, and whilst the 2014 model will hardly turn heads, it has seen a slight aesthetic upgrade.
It’s a larger, more aggressive looking vehicle than earlier incarnations, with a longer bonnet and sharper headlights greatly improving on the previously bug-eyed models.
It also rides considerably lower than before, making for a smoother ride.
Other tweaks to the suspension and handling are welcome, but hardly revolutionary. After all, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
If you’re looking for economy you’ll want to opt for the diesel model, and the Qashqai’s 1.5-litre excels, getting an average of 74.3mpg. If you’re environmentally conscious (but not enough so to go hybrid) the Qashqai puts out a respectable 99g/km of carbon emissions.
One failings of the Qashqai was its tacky looking basic interior. Plastic. Plastic everywhere. Of course you’re still welcome to upgrade for some wood and metal trim as you see fit, but the standard interior has some nice little accoutrements and feels more solid than in years past.
Above all the Qashqai is a family car, and it doesn’t disappoint in terms of space. Unless you’re a family of NBA players you’ll find considerable head and legroom in this slightly larger model.
A huge boot capacity of 430 litres and a myriad of smart hidey-hole storage areas throughout the interior ensure that there’s enough space for the weekly shop, a few kids and whatever else you plan on carting about.
The boot’s capacity is 430 litres, and a flat-loading lip makes it easy to load bigger objects. Moreover, it is very practical, with plenty of compartments scattered around the cabin.
Like most manufacturers today, safety is of utmost importance to Nissan, and its Safety Shield technology packs even the basic model to the brim with safety features that you may not ever even use!
Higher end models take this “better safe than sorry” ethos even further, adding lane departure warning, blind spot warning and traffic sign recognition. But if it ends up saving lives than one can hardly complain about it.
It’s a comfortable ride and the aforementioned suspension upgrades make for a more comfortable ride. Acceleration also seems improved, and the six-speed gearbox makes this a country and city suitable car.
If it’s not already been made clear you get a lot of bang-for-your-buck with the Nissan Qashqai 2014. Starting out at £17,995 (the same as the old model) this really is a great choice for a family with limited budget.
The more expensive models (Acenta, Acenta Premium and Tekna) add some welcome gadgetry and extra frills for a modest price increase, but personally I think the basic model is good enough quality that the additions are unnecessary.
All in all the Nissan Qashqai 2014 builds beautifully on its seven year legacy. Nissan have played to their strengths and ultimately played it safe, but if you’re after a good value, good quality family car then you really not look any further