Nissan Qashqai SUV - Interior & comfort
The latest Qashqai’s interior feels much more modern than its predecessor
The last-generation Qashqai was only on sale for seven years but in that time its interior design had become quite dated. The touchscreen was one of the most noticeably outdated aspects, as it was small and had rather basic graphics.
As is the current fashion, the touchscreen now sits proud of the dashboard. It’s bigger and is joined by a fully digital instrument cluster on most models.
There are extra soft-touch materials on show and double-stitching, giving the Qashqai an uplift in quality. You won’t feel like you’re in a Mercedes or a BMW but the freshness and slightly upmarket interior will impress current Qashqai drivers.
Nissan Qashqai dashboard
The infotainment touchscreen is not only more expansive, but where it’s located on top of the dashboard is likely to be closer to the driver’s eye-line. That should mean your eyes are away from the road for less time, while information can also be displayed on the digital dial cluster and, on Tekna versions, a large head-up display in the windscreen.
Nissan has chosen to keep physical dials and buttons for the climate control panel; we’re pleased the designers took this approach, rather than burying the climate settings in the touchscreen. You’ll find that physical controls are much easier to use while driving. In fact, proper buttons still have a place throughout the Qashqai’s cabin – haptic touch panels like those found in a Volkswagen Golf are few and far between. It’s not a bad place to spend time, but the Renault Austral (that shares some parts with the Qashqai) is even better finished.
The Nissan Qashqai lineup currently includes five trim levels, with the Premiere Edition launch model no longer available. Visia is first and serves up LED lights, auto headlights, DAB radio, Bluetooth and parking sensors, plus a very impressive array of safety kit. Adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, high-beam assist and traffic sign recognition all come as standard.
Acenta Premium adds alloy wheels, two-zone air conditioning, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, keyless entry and start, plus an eight-inch touchscreen with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. N-Connecta is the first model to get the digital instrument cluster, plus ambient lighting, an around-view monitor, front parking sensors and online features for the touchscreen, which gets a size increase to 12.3-inches. It’s an okay system, but we’d like it to be more responsive, and the software isn’t quite as slick as you’ll find in the Kia Sportage. We also found the Google-based software in the Renault Austral more intuitive, with better voice activation.
Tekna features upgraded headlights and a powered tailgate, along with a head-up display, wireless smartphone charging pad and 19-inch alloy wheels, while top-spec Tekna+ has massaging front seats, Nappa leather upholstery and a Bose audio system, but also pushes the price above £37,000, so doesn’t represent the best value in the range.
Nissan has divided most of the available options into packs, including the Heat Pack (heated seats, steering wheel and windscreen) for around £400 and the Glass Roof pack (fixed sunroof and roof rails) for £650. You can also pick a pack with wireless charging capability, a Tech Pack featuring some of the tech of higher versions and another Tech Pack adding Nissan’s ProPilot semi-autonomous driver assistance. A spare wheel is £130, while speccing a two-tone roof will cost around £1,000 on versions where it’s not standard.
The new 12.3-inch touchscreen fitted to higher-spec cars is a real improvement over the system in the last Qashqai; both faster to respond and a little easier to use. It’s not class-leading, however, with Kia and Hyundai’s infotainment setup being even slicker in its operation. The Renault Austral has adopted Google-based software for its ‘OpenR’ infotainment, and this proved intuitive, with excellent voice control.
You can configure the Qashqai’s digital instrument cluster to your preferences too, but both screens could do with crisper graphics. Similarly, the head-up display is said to be the largest of any mid-size SUV at 10.8 inches but we worry that it may be too big and too distracting.