Nissan Qashqai (2010-2013) review | Carbuyer (2024)

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The Nissan Qashqai comes in four main model specifications that follow Nissan's standard pattern – entry-level Visia, then the Acenta, followed by the Qashqai 360 and top-of-the-range Tekna. Nissan has a strong reputation for reliability that isn’t quite what it was but still better than most, and the Qashqai rarely suffers from any electrical or mechanical problems as a result.

The Qashqai follows the usual pattern for most modern cars – for efficiency and economy, you have to choose a diesel engine. We recommend the 1.6-litre dCi, which is the cleanest and most efficient engine on offer, coming fitted with stop-start technology to further boost fuel economy. It claims to return 62.8mpg in combined fuel economy and emit 119g/km of CO2, putting it tax band C, which will cost you about £30 a year. Not far behind is the 1.5-litre dCi Pure Drive, which returns 57.6mpg and emits 129g/km of CO2 (band D, £105 a year), but you do have to pay quite a lot more to buy this model in the first place. The standard Qashqai still manages to return a respectable 55.3mpg, however, and the least-efficient 2.0-litre petrol also claims to return economy in the high 30s with CO2 emissions of 177g/km (band I, £220 a year). Just be aware of the quite brief 12,500-mile service gaps and the three-year/60,000-mile warranty, both of which will probably increase costs if you intend to keep the car for a long time and clock up a lot of miles.

Engines, drive & performance

The Qashqai’s supple suspension and light steering offers a soft ride

Given that the Qashqai has been set up to give the most comfortable ride it can, so has soft suspension and big, chunky tyres designed to soak up any major bumps that it encounters on the UK’s rough roads, and it’s surprising how good it still is to drive. Let’s be clear, the steering really doesn’t compare to many of its hatchback rivals, the class-leading Ford Focus in particular, because of its lack of accuracy, but it is easier than many of them to drive around the city and is very easy to park, thanks to all its sensors and rear-view cameras. It also surprises by having very little body roll when driving through corners – which you don’t expect from a car with such soft suspension.

You can get a four-wheel-drive option on the 2.0-litre diesel and petrol models that easily handles any light off-roading that you might need the Qashqai to perform – as it should, considering that it will cost you an extra £1,500 to get it. Note - it's not designed for mountainous terrain, so if you think you expect to really encounter some genuinely rough conditions, then the larger Nissan Pathfinder is the car you should really be looking at. We’d recommend the 1.6-litre dCi diesel for the best balance of performance and running costs, with the 1.5-litre dCi feeling too underpowered and proving to be less efficient overall. All models come with a six-speed manual gearbox fitted as standard, but some models can be equipped with a six-speed automatic or a slightly noisy CVTautomatic gearbox if you truly wish.

Interior & comfort

The car is very easy to get in and out of thanks to its raised ride height

The Qashqai remains one of the most comfortable family cars on the road. Inside it offers a lot of space, with well-designed and supportive seats for all occupants, and giving the driver a good, high driving position that gives great visibility of the road ahead (but not out of the back – see Practicality, below).

The raised suspension also makes it a doddle to get in and out of, and you can just slip behind the steering wheel without any stooping or bending to get in. There’s hardly any road, wind or tyre noise inside the car, even when you’re driving at motorway speeds, while the Acenta models also have the option of a panoramic glass roof that floods the interior with light, making the Qashqai a really enjoyable place to spend long journeys – even rain is interesting splashing on it. The sunroof is equipped as standard on higher-spec Tekna and n-tec models.

Practicality & boot space

The boot is wide and long, so loading bulky items is easy

The Qashqai’s interior is nicely laid out, spacious, easy to use and offers lots of storage options, with cubbies dotted about and a large centre console compartment for front stowage. Because of its large exterior dimensions, it also offers loads of legroom for anyone travelling in the back and gives the driver plenty of excellent visibility. But those passengers in the back may have to duck their head down a little if they’re six foot or above, because the sloping roof does cut into headroom quite a bit.

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Nissan Qashqai (2010-2013) review | Carbuyer (2024)
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