Nissan Qashqai review 2024

Quick overview

  • Cabin space and wide-opening doors
  • High level of finish inside
  • Comfortable ride on bumpy roads
  • Low running costs
  • Why pay more for the higher power engine?
  • Delay in engine’s power delivery at low revs
  • Middle rear seat is a bit cramped on space
  • Large head-up display is distracting

If the previous Nissan Qashqai was an evolution of the original car, this third-generation model is much more revolutionary. It seeks to address all of the criticisms made against its predecessor while also moving the Qashqai back to the top of its class, where it once resided with little opposition.

Unlike when it first arrived in 2007, the latest Qashqai has a great deal of competition from family SUVs like the Kia Sportage, Peugeot 3008 and Skoda Karoq. That’s some very talented company to be keeping, but the Nissan does it by offering mild hybrid power with both of its 1.3-litre DIG-T turbo petrol engines. There’s no diesel anymore, but you can have the 140- and 158hp petrols with a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox.

Nissan has also sought to offer much more cabin space than before. By extending the distance between the front and rear wheels it’s freed up more cabin room and the new Qashqai also offers a much larger boot than the car it replaces, though it’s still not as big as some in the family SUV sector.

Other changes inside the Qashqai are a big step up in material quality and a classier look to the style and finish. A much improved infotainment system is easy to pair with a smartphone and offers interaction through Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. As with the Qashqais that have preceded this car, there are several trim options to help you choose the right car for you budget with all of the kit you need. That’s key to the Qashqai’s appeal as it goes up against many of the most popular and able cars on sale today.


Starting price for the Nissan Qashqai is £24,555 for the 1.3 DIG-T 140 in Visia trim. This engine is offered in all but the most expensive Tekna+ specification, while conversely the more powerful 158hp 1.3-litre motor is not available in Visia spec. Choose the 140hp motor and you are also limited to the six-speed manual gearbox rather than given the option of the automatic.

The N-Connecta trim is a popular choice and, with the 140hp engine and manual ’box, costs from £29,190. If you’re happy to pick a nearly new version, there are savings of around £1500 from Nissan dealers, though most drivers will opt for a lease deal that sidesteps any haggling in the showroom.

Infotainment, comfort and practicality

In reassessing the Qashqai for this new generation, Nissan has made great strides with the cabin of its family SUV. The first thing you’ll notice is the big uptick in quality thanks to better materials, a classier finish, and a cleaner look to the style. While it may not worry the likes of Audi or Mercedes in these stakes, it certainly gives Honda and Mazda a run for their money with a soft-touch dash, well padded seats, and controls that work with a fluid action. There are some areas where compromise has crept in, such as the dials for the infotainment, but this is more nit-picking than any real downside to the Nissan.

Mention of the infotainment system brings us on to another area where Nissan has hauled itself right into contention with the best in this sector. The entry-level trims have a smaller 7-inch screen, so it’s a good move to aim for an N-Connecta model and above for their 9-inch touchscreen. While the look of the screen’s graphics might not be as slick as a Volkswagen Tiguan’s, there’s no doubting how easy the Qashqai’s monitor is to use. It hooks up to your smartphone through Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and the on-screen icons are bold so they are easy to select on the move. The response from the system is also quick and there are physical shortcut buttons to make life easy.

Nissan, thankfully, also provides proper button and dials for the heater controls. You also have a 10-8-inch head-up display in the Tekna models as standard, though this is not the great boon it sounds like and can be distracting as you drive. However, the 12-3-inch digital dash on upper trim models is good looking and can be easily configure to your preferences.

When it comes to space for people, the Qashqai is back to being one of the best in the sector. The doors open wide to allow easy access to the cabin, and the seats are at just the right height to step straight into or for loading a child seat. Plenty of head, leg and shoulder room is provided for the driver, and you get lots of adjustment in the seat and steering wheel to tweak the driving position. All-round vision is reasonable, but not quite as good as a Ford Kuga’s. However, the Qashqai does deliver an air feel in its cabin.

For those in the back, the three individual seats have good leg and headroom, but the centre seat is a bit narrower and more cramped to the outer pair. There’s no seven-seat option with the Qashqai, but this does mean the boot is a generous 504-litres in size with the rear seats occupied. It might not be the biggest boot in the class, but it’s uncluttered and makes full use of the space. There’s also a false floor that allows you to store valuables underneath.

Which 2021 Nissan Qashqai model should you buy?

Nissan offers five trim levels with the Qashqai, starting with its familiar Visia name. On top of the long list of safety kit that all Qashqais come with, the Visia has rear parking sensors, automatic headlights, heated door mirrors, and air conditioning. The Acenta Premium has 17-inch alloy wheels, reversing camera, dual-zone air con, an 8-inch infotainment screen, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

The N-Connecta is the trim that strikes the best value for money balance, offering 18-inch alloys, a 9-inch infotainment screen, bird’s eye parking view, front parking sensors, and rear privacy glass. If you want more kit, the Tekna adds even bigger 19-inch wheels, head-up display, 12.3-inch digital dash, powered tailgate, and a glass roof. Top of the pile is the Tekna+ with its 20-inch alloys, leather seats with massage function for the front pair, and Bose stereo. On top of this lot, you might consider two-tone paint or a boot matt if you routinely carry heavier loads.

A nearly new Qashqai is a good way to save some money as cars with delivery mileage only can be found for £1500 less than list price.


Value for money: how much does a 2021 Nissan Qashqai cost to buy and run?

Qashqai buyers have a choice of two versions of the 1.3-litre DIG-T turbo petrol engine, either with 140- or 158hp. Both have mild hybrid technology to help save fuel, though neither can drive on battery power alone. With the lower power engine, you are restricted to the six-speed manual gearbox as your only transmission choice. Opt for the 158hp version and you can pick between the manual and the Xtronic auto. In almost every circumstance, the manual gearbox is the better choice as the CVT auto is noisy when asked to accelerate with any verve.

There’s little difference between the two engines for fuel economy and emissions. Choose either with the manual gearbox and the official combined carbon dioxide output is the same at 144g/km in N-Connecta trim. In this spec, the two engines also match each other on 43.7mpg average fuel consumption. That means a first-year road tax payment of £220 for both models and then £155 for the following years.

One of the few ways to split the two is when it comes to insurance costs as, in N-Connecta trim, the less powerful engine sits in group 12 compared to group 18 for the more powerful version. 

Verdict: Should I buy a 2021 Nissan Qashqai?

Nissan is right back in the hunt with this third-generation Qashqai where its predecessor was a bit of an also-ran. Big improvements to cabin space and quality, specification, and the looks inside and out are very welcome. There’s also a long list of standard safety equipment that impresses with the Nissan, while practicality is another strong suit.

Where the Qashqai lets itself down is the delay in power delivery from its engines at low revs, which can make smooth progress in town harder than it should be. It’s something you can learn to live with, even if you shouldn’t have to, and doesn’t prevent the Qashqai being an impressive overall contender in the family SUV sector.