Nissan Qashqai review - Engines, performance and drive
Nissan has added some dynamic polish to the Qashqai, but performance remains average at best
One particular complaint thrown at the second-generation Qasqai was that it didn’t offer up much in the way of driving enjoyment. Nissan has responded by engineering in a host of dynamic tweaks for the latest model: a 60kg weight saving has been made possible with extended use of aluminium and composite materials, while the car’s structure is 48 per cent stiffer than before, helping to give a more agile feel through B-road bends. The steering has also been modified, with the electric assistance motor moved closer to the rack, which is claimed to reduce friction and provide a more natural feel.
Most cars in the Qashqai lineup use a torsion-beam rear suspension layout, although a more up-to-date multi-link set-up is available for top-spec models equipped with 20-inch alloy wheels or four-wheel drive. It fidgets a little over smaller bumps, not helped by the large rims, but does offer better body control when travelling at speed.
The new 1.3-litre mild-hybrid petrol engine includes a Lithium-ion battery which stores energy recovered under braking. The stored power is then used to feed the vehicle’s electrical systems. But, from 2022, buyers will be able to opt for models fitted with Nissan’s clever e-Power tech. The innovative system employs a 1.5-litre petrol engine, acting solely as a generator to charge the car’s Lithium-Ion battery, which then powers the electric motor to drive the wheels.
There is a choice of either a six-speed manual or CVT automatic transmission, but we think the manual is the better option - it’s around £1,600 cheaper and is reasonably slick, while the CVT doesn’t feel as capable as a regular auto.
Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed
The Qashqai’s 1.3-litre engine is reasonably refined, and only becomes a little coarse under hard acceleration, although it’s not a particularly noisy unit. The 138bhp version offers passable performance, with 0-62mph taking 10.2 seconds and a 122mph maximum.
Moving up to the 156bhp car improves things a little, with the quickest version being the front-wheel drive auto which takes 9.2 seconds to reach 62mph from a standstill. The six-speed manual variant is a touch slower, needing 9.5 seconds to reach the sprint benchmark.
In this review
- 1Nissan Qashqai reviewThe new Nissan Qashqai moves forward in a few key areas, but ultimately can’t compete with the best in the crossover class
- 2Engines, performance and drive - currently readingNissan has added some dynamic polish to the Qashqai, but performance remains average at best
- 3MPG, CO2 and running costsQashqai buyers seeking lower running costs may want to hold out for the more efficient e-power versions
- 4Interior, design and technologyNissan has sharpened up the Qashqai’s looks, with top-end versions featuring plenty of luxury kit
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThere’s a lot to like about the Qashqai’s practicality, but it lags behind some rivals for interior space
- 6Reliability and safetyStandard safety kit is excellent, and it's helped the Qashqai achieve a five-star Euro NCAP rating