Nissan Qashqai: which version is best?

  • Are you confused by the list of Nissan Qashqai engine, trim and drivetrain options?
  • We pick out the important details to help choose which is right for you
  • Click links to our full review and individual road tests for more info
  • Are you confused by the list of Nissan Qashqai engine, trim and drivetrain options?
  • We pick out the important details to help choose which is right for you
  • Click links to our full review and individual road tests for more info

One of the originators of the crossover genre, the Nissan Qashqai has attracted more than two million buyers with its blend of SUV practicality and hatchback-style drive.

But there’s a huge number of engine, equipment grade and gearbox combinations to choose from, plus two- or four-wheel-drive options.

We’ve cut through the waffle to work out which specifications deliver the best value for money and which engines give you the best performance and economy.

For more information read our full review of the Nissan Qashqai and also check out our Cars for Sale section for deals in your area.

Nissan Qashqai - which version is best?

Qashqai Equipment line up

Stick with two-wheel drive and there are six equipment grades to choose from; called Visia, Acenta, Acenta Premium, n-tec, n-tec+ and Tekna. We’ve calculated the comparative cost of each based on an entry-level petrol or diesel engine.

To start off Visia is well-equipped with gadgets like cruise control and speed limiter, hill start assist, manual air conditioning, LED daytime running lights, and a Bluetooth CD radio.

You also get 16-inch steel wheels, remote central locking, alarm/immobiliser, cloth trim, electric windows front and rear, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, front armrest, and a stop/start system.

Nissan Qashqai - which version is best?

I want: alloys and climate control

Upgrade to Acenta for £1,585 and you get 17-inch alloys, dual zone climate control, a USB port and six speakers for the stereo, power folding door mirrors, auto lights and wipers and front fog lamps.

Inside you get leather for the wheel and gear knob (manual only), ambient lighting, rear seat armrest with cupholders, luggage board system, height adjustable passenger seat, and lumbar support for driver and passenger.

Nissan Qashqai - which version should I buy?

I want: sat nav and parking sensors

The next two trims, Acenta Premium and n-tec, costs an additional £1,850 (plus £130 for the base petrol n-tec).

You get some big ticket items like seven-inch touch-screen sat nav, DAB radio and an intelligent key with push button start.

You also get the Smart Vision Pack which includes an anti-dazzle rear view mirror, traffic sign recognition, high beam assist, lane departure warning, forward emergency braking and front and rear parking sensors.

However, while the Acenta Premium trim comes with a panoramic roof and a rear view camera, n-tec has front, side and rear view cameras, 18-inch alloys, and automatic folding mirrors instead.

For an additional £550 you can basically combine Acenta Premium and n-tec trims by adding a panoramic roof and satin silver roof rails to the n-tec equipment. This grade is called n-tec+ .

Nissan Qashqai - which version should I buy?

I want: heated leather seats and LED headlamps

Finally the top trim is called Tekna and costs about £1,500 more than n-tec+ depending on whether you pick 17 or 19-inch alloys. 

You get leather trim, an electrically adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats and windscreen, parking assist, LED headlamps, and the Safety Shield which includes blind spot warning, moving object detection and driver attention alert.

The satin silver roof rails are carried over from n-tec+ but the panoramic glass roof is an option.

Nissan Qashqai - which version should I buy?

Engine range

If you’ve got your head around the slightly confusing trim choices then brace yourself for the engine options.

In essence there are four to choose from - two petrols and two diesels. The economy figures below are based on two-wheel drive, manual transmission, and the smallest wheels available for comparison.


Engine      Size      Power      MPG       Annual tax       0-60mph      Which trim?  
DIG-T 115    1.2-litres     113bhp    50.4mpg    129g/km (£110)         10.6        all trims  
DIG-T 163    1.6-litres     161bhp    47.1mpg    138g/km (£130)          8.8    n-tec, n-tec+, Tekna  


Engine       Size      Power      MPG       Annual tax       0-60mph      Which trim?  
dCi 110
    1.5-litres      108bhp    74.3mpg       99g/km (free)         11.5        all trims  
dCi 130
    1.6-litres      128bhp    64.2mpg       116g/km (£30)          9.6    Acenta Premium, n-tec, n-tec+, Tekna  

For economy we'd pick the 1.5-litre diesel, while the performance choice is the 1.6-litre petrol. Sitting in the middle of these two is the 1.6-litre diesel which offers a good balance of pace and economy. The 1.2-litre petrol costs a bit more to run but is a good option for a low-mileage driver.

Automatic gearbox

An automatic transmission is available on the 1.2-litre petrol, offering identical economy to the manual, and can be had on all grades except base spec Visia. It cracks 0-60mph in 12.5 seconds.

On the 1.6-litre diesel you’ll do slightly worse than the manual with 60.1mpg and 122g/km of CO2, meaning £110 in tax. It takes 10.7 seconds in the benchmark sprint, and is not available on the bottom two grades Visia and Acenta.

In both instances it costs an additional £1,350.

Nissan Qashqai - which version is best?

Four-wheel drive

This is only available with a manual gearbox and dCi 130 diesel engine, in Acenta Premium, n-tec, n-tec+ and Tekna trims, and costs between £1,700 and £1,850 extra.

This means that while a two-wheel drive can be had for £18,545, a four-wheel drive will cost at least £26,680.

You get worse economy figures with 55.4mpg and 129g/km of CO2, meaning a VED bill of £110. It's 64.2mpg, 116g/km and £30 in two-wheel drive. Plus it’ll take longer to get from 0-60mph, at 10.2 seconds.

These cars come with a 65-litre fuel tank rather than a 55-litre one and more sophisticated independent multi-link rear suspension.

Towing capacity is 1,800kg regardless and although the Qashqai looks rugged, it’s not a true off-roader. While four-wheel drive is a nice security if you regularly visit boggy campsites, less demanding drivers may be better off by adding a set of winter tyres when it gets cold.

Nissan Qashqai - which version is best?

Which Nissan Qashqai should I buy?

As you’ve probably judged by now, there is a huge number of combinations of trims, engines and drivetrains to choose from and it comes down to quite a personal choice.

If you do a lot of miles the manual, two-wheel drive, 1.6-litre diesel engine in Acenta Premium trim is your best balance of kit, performance and economy. It costs £24,980.

However, if you only do short journeys then choose the 1.2-litre petrol engine. It return slightly worse fuel economy but you’ll save £3,000 on the list price.

Nissan Qashqai - which version is best?

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