Nissan Qashqai J11 (2013-present): Review, Problems, and Specs

Its name may be hard to pronounce, but the Qashqai is by far Nissan's best-selling vehicle in Europe. The original model (2006-2013), which combined the acquisition and running costs of a compact hatchback with the looks of an SUV, evolved into a bigger crossover with the looks to match. An improvement over its predecessor in almost every area (minus the lack of a seven-seat option), the J11 Nissan Qashqai is a worthy successor, offering a roomier interior, better fuel efficiency (particularly with the diesel engines), and a smooth ride. In fact, it's so good that Nissan has decided to offer it in the United States too, where it is sold as the Rogue Sport from spring 2017.


Pros & Cons
Strong Points

Pros


Strong Points
  • Big on space and practicality
  • Frugal diesel engines
  • Quiet, smooth ride
  • Great family car
  • Attractive exterior and interior design

Recommended Versions
Strong Points

Cons


Weak Points
  • Not very capable off-road
  • Not that exciting to drive on the road either
  • The cabin feels a bit cheap
  • Rear legroom is rather tight
  • Upper trim levels too expensive

Stay Away From
  • 1.2 DIG-T (underpowered, reliability issues)
Strong Points

Attention


Known Problems & Recalls
  • In December 2014, Nissan recalled Qashqai models built from July 2013 to October 2014 to inspect and rework the towbar kit whose joints might loosen, leading to the detachment of the towbar kit from the vehicle
  • Some models built from April 2015 to June 2016 were recalled in July 2016 to reprogram the ECU to display a warning if the rear oxygen sensor fails
  • Some 1.2 DIG-T models have been known to experience problems with the stop/start system and power loss
Car Details
Powertrain

The Nissan Qashqai offers four engine choices in Europe, two diesel and two gasoline four-cylinder units. The diesels make up the vast majority of sales, especially the more affordable and fuel-efficient 1.5 dCi unit that delivers 109 hp (110 PS) and 260 Nm (192 lb-ft) of torque. There's also a more refined 1.6 dCi engine rated at 128 hp (130 PS) and 320 Nm (236 lb-ft) which offers the best balance between performance and fuel economy. It's also the only engine you can have if you want a four-wheel-drive Qashqai. Gasoline engines include the 1.2 DIG-T and 1.6 DIG-T, with 114 hp (115 PS) and 161 hp (163 PS), respectively. The smaller one is underpowered, so we'd recommend the 1.6-liter unit if you must have a gasoline engine. Transmission options include a six-speed manual and a CVT.


Handling

The second-generation Qashqai is not as exciting to drive as some rivals, but to its credit, it handles more like a hatchback than an SUV. There's less body roll than one would expect from a high-riding vehicle, and the steering offers good feedback on B-roads, despite being light enough during city maneuvers. Unfortunately, the Qashqai is not as fun to drive in corners as its predecessor, offering a more neutral experience. All-wheel-drive models feature torque vectoring, but don't be fooled into thinking the Qashqai is an off-roader — going for the AWD model doesn't mean you will be able to tackle off-road trails, it only means you'll be safer on slippery roads.


Safety

Euro NCAP tested the Qashqai for crashworthiness in 2014, and the results were excellent. Nissan's compact crossover gained the maximum five-star overall rating and the "Best in Class" distinction, thanks to high scores in each area. The Qashqai got an 88 percent rating for adult occupant protection, 83 percent for child occupant (significantly higher than average), 69 percent for pedestrian, and 79 percent for safety assist systems. Standard safety features include six airbags, ABS, electronic stability control, speed assistance, and seat belt reminders.

Comfort

Ride quality is one of the Qashqai's biggest assets: this car is remarkably comfortable, soaking up bumps like few other similar crossovers can. That's because Nissan's SUV has a trick up its sleeve: the Chassis Control system which uses an electronic brain to adjust ride comfort and handling. Just avoid the 19-inch wheels as they spoil the ride quality. Another thing worth mentioning is the quiet cabin: all engines remain silent and smooth, even at high revs. In addition, road and wind noise at high speeds are well suppressed. The seats are comfortable (particularly in the front), and finding a good driving position is easy.


Quality

The cabin has evolved tremendously compared to the previous model, both from a design and quality point of view. The Qashqai is way more appealing inside, thanks to better fit and finish as well as nicer materials. All the areas passengers are likely to touch feature soft, dense materials, but some plastics in less accessible zones feel cheap, particularly on lower trim levels. The controls have a more premium feel than before, with higher-end models getting a glossy "piano black" trim around the center console.


Practicality

The Qashqai shines when it comes to practicality: it may not have the roomiest cabin in its segment, but it makes good use of the available space. Five passengers can travel in normal conditions, although on long trips four adults will be more comfortable than five. Headroom and legroom are generous at the front and good at the rear. Boot volume is slightly bigger than before (430 liters), and the tailgate is wider to facilitate the loading of bulky items. The Qashqai even has an adaptable split level floor, while many other storage areas are found around the cabin.


Infotainment

Base models get a five-inch touchscreen-operated infotainment system, while higher trims get a seven-inch display. Regardless of the screen size, the interface is easy to use, with essential functions doubled by physical buttons positioned around it. However, the infotainment system is a bit slower than what other competitors offer, and the graphics are a bit outdated. For less distraction, some functions can be accessed via a new five-inch screen placed between the rev counter and speedometer. Bluetooth connectivity is standard on all models.

Efficiency

The economy champion is the 1.5-liter turbodiesel engine mated as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox, which averages 3.8 l/100 km (74.3 mpg UK) and emits just 99 g/km CO2. The 1.6-liter turbodiesel is frugal too, even in 4WD configuration: combined fuel economy is 4.9 l/100 km (57.6 mpg UK), with CO2 emissions of 129 g/km. The most economical of the gasoline units is the 1.2-liter unit with a claimed combined fuel consumption of 5.6 l/100 km (50.4 mpg UK) and CO2 emissions of 129 g/km. The 1.6-liter turbo is not far off, though, with 6 l/100 km (47.1 mpg UK) and 138 g/km CO2.


Equipment

The base trim level (called Visia in most European markets) offers decent equipment including air-conditioning, Bluetooth, cruise control, stop/start system, hill start assist, and electric parking brake. The following Acenta grade adds almost all the features a typical user may need, such as dual-zone climate control, a better sound system, leather-wrapped steering wheel, automatic lights and wipers, and alloy wheels, among other things. For those who want a packed Qashqai, though, the N-Connecta throws in more goodies including heated windscreen, leather upholstery, panoramic sunroof, Nissan Safety Shield, 18-inch alloys, and more. Everything else comes on the range-topping Tekna.


Acquisition

An entry-level Nissan Qashqai Visia equipped with the 1.2 DIG-T engine and manual transmission is priced from €19,990 in Germany (including VAT). If you want the 1.5 dCi, the cheapest one starts at €21,890 (also with the Visia grade). The 1.6 DIG-T engine is only available from the Acenta trim upwards and is priced from €26,090, while the 1.6 dCi 2WD starts at €27,890 (Acenta). Finally, the cheapest 4WD model is the 1.6 dCi in Acenta trim — €29,890. Our ideal combination would be the 1.5 dCi engine in the Acenta or N-Connecta trim level. Either way, the Qashqai remains the default choice in the segment.

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