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Expert Review

Nissan Qashqai SUV (2006 - 2011) MK 1 review

Read the Nissan Qashqai hatchback (2007 - ) car review by Auto Trader's motoring experts, covering price, specification, running costs, practicality, safety and how it drives.

The Auto Trader expert verdict:


The Nissan Qashqai smart styling, refined ride and impressive specification means it continues to set the benchmark in the crossover market.

Reasons to buy:

  • tickRefined
  • tickImpressive specification
  • tickSmart styling

At a glance:

How good does it look?

A refreshed Nissan Qashqai brings a new nose, with a sharp bumper, gloss black or silver grille and fresh new headlamps. At the rear, semi-opaque LED tail lights bring it up to date and all versions ride on 16, 17 or 18-inch alloy wheels for an aggressive, sporty stance.
Expert rating: 4/5

What's the interior like?

Inside, things have taken a step up. While the materials and switches look a little dated, everything feels sturdy and well built. Changes include new dials, mood lighting and improved sound-proofing for a more refined experience.
Expert rating: 4/5

How practical is it?

The new model is generally very well thought-out. Storage and cubby holes are plentiful and positioned logically around the car. Particularly impressive is the cavernous compartment in the centre console. There is plenty of room for four adults and luggage. Rear headroom is good but not class-leading, and it’s a shame the seats don’t fold flat. There’s 410-litres of boot space, which increases to 1,513-litres with the seats folded – marginally less than the Peugeot 3008 and 250 litres less than the Skoda Yeti.
Expert rating: 4/5

What's it like to drive?

The Qashqai is big on refinement. Wind and road noise are minimal, the suspension is on the firm side, but not jarring, and the chunky tyres help ensure a smooth ride. The 2-litre diesel is a little loud on engine noise, which is disappointing. Behind the wheel you quickly get the impression of a much larger vehicle: it feels more like driving an SUV than its Volkswagen Golf-sized platform suggests. The height gives commanding visibility but the ride can feel slightly compromised if the larger wheel options are specified. There is some evidence of body lean through corners, though the responsive steering helps to counteract this.
Expert rating: 3/5

How powerful is it?

Power is provided by a range of five engines, including a 113bhp 1.6-litre and 138bhp 2-litre petrol. The latter is available as a front- or four-wheel drive and with a six-speed manual or CVT automatic transmission. The entry-level diesel is the 105bhp 1.5-litre dCi, which is capable of going from 0-62mph in 12.2 seconds while returning 55.3mpg. The range-topping 148bhp 2-litre diesel we drove is the quickest, and can sprint to 62mph in 9.5 seconds and manages 44.1mpg in front-wheel drive, six-speed manual form.
Expert rating: 4/5

How much will it cost me?

The pre-facelift model has kept its value well and the new version has improved fuel-efficiency and lower emissions for better running costs. The 1.6-litre and 2-litre petrol units return 42.8 and 36.2mpg respectively, while the entry-level diesel option achieves 55.3 mpg. An ultra-efficient 1.5-litre diesel Pure Drive model will join the line-up later, which Nissan claims will be capable of 0-62mph in 12.8 seconds, emitting just 129g/km of CO2 and returning an impressive 57.6mpg.
Expert rating: 4/5

How reliable is it?

As before, the Qashqai is built at Nissan’s plant in Sunderland which has a reputation for quality. The previous generation model has proved to be reasonably reliable, but some were recalled to fix a steering issue. There were also reports of rear shock absorbers failing, which were usually fixed under warranty. The new model should prove reliable as the changes are mostly cosmetic and the engines have been used to power many other Nissan and Renault vehicles, meaning any issues should have been ironed out.
Expert rating: 4/5

How safe is it?

The original Qashqai scored a five-star Euro NCAP rating during crash testing – including the best result ever for adult occupant protection. Safety is still a priority, with Nissan making ESP standard across the range. All models also get ABS with brake assist and driver, passenger, side and curtain airbags.
Expert rating: 5/5

How much equipment do I get?

Every Qashqai comes with a wealth of equipment. Trim levels are broken down into Visia, Acenta, N-tec and Tekna. Standard equipment includes 16-inch alloys, all-round electric windows and Bluetooth telephone connectivity. Acenta gets 17-inch alloys, rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, front fog lamps and a speed limiter, while N-tec adds Nissan Connect navigation, rear privacy glass and a panoramic glass roof. Tekna models come with a Bose seven-speaker stereo system, 18-inch alloys, Intelligent key, heated seats and leather upholstery. The model we tested came with a colour reversing camera (standard on N-tec level and upwards) which proved remarkably useful.
Expert rating: 4/5

Why buy?

The pre-facelift Nissan Qashqai set the benchmark for crossovers, and the new version is more polished, stylish and desirable than ever. But this mix of equipment and performance does come at a premium. The Qashqai is more expensive than rivals the Peugeot 3008 and Skoda Yeti, and is only slightly cheaper than the more premium Volkswagen Tiguan. Traditionally good residuals will go some way to alleviating this. The high-set driving position, aggressive looks and sensible running costs mean the new Qashqai looks set to be another winner.
Expert rating: 4/5

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