“Caution! Road with restricted access.” That warning has been coming out of the Qashqai’s speakers far too frequently. It has been telling me each time I turn into my estate or enter the office car park or shop at a certain supermarket.
At first, there was no apparent way to silence it – even with the sat-nav and infotainment system turned off. But, thankfully, I have now found an option buried in the guidance settings which does the trick.
The sat-nav is otherwise reliable and its predicted times of arrival has proved spot on thanks to TomTom Premium Traffic, which is a feature of the new NissanConnect system.
Despite the upgraded system, the interface looks dated, especially compared with rival models from the Volkswagen Group.
The Qashqai has a wealth of standard technology that includes two safety packs: safety shield plus (Acenta grade and above), which gives intelligent driver alert (detects driver fatigue), blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert and moving object detection; and smart vision (N-Connecta grade and above), which includes anti-dazzle rear view mirror, traffic sign recognition, high beam assist, lane departure warning, intelligent emergency braking with pedestrian recognition and front and rear parking sensors.
The 360-degree camera and intelligent park assist (automated parking) are separate features.
The Nissan Qashqai is one of the most popular SUVs, but it faces fierce competition from a host of rivals when looking at wholelife costs.
Comparing our 1.3-litre petrol Qashqai N-Connecta (P11D of £24,375) with the 1.0 TSi Škoda Karoq SE Technology (P11D of £21,720), the 1.2 T Vauxhall Grandland X Business Edition (P11D of £23,690) and the 1.5 TSi Volkswagen Tiguan Match (P11D of £27,105) over four years and 80,000 miles, the Qashqai is the second most expensive for benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax. It costs the 20% taxpayer in England £1,463 per year, £184 more than the Grandland X (£1,279) and £247 more than the Karoq (£1,216). However, the Tiguan is the most expensive at £1,626.
For the employer, the Karoq has the lowest Class 1A NIC (£839), £170 less than the Qashqai (£1,009). However, the Qashqai is £113 cheaper than the Tiguan (£1,122). The Grandland X is the closest to the Karoq (£883).
There is one area where the Qashqai comes out top – SMR. It costs 3.76p per mile compared with the Karoq’s 3.90ppm, Tiguan’s 4.30ppm and Grandland X’s 4.64ppm.
Overall, the Karoq is the cheapest to run at 34.37ppm; the Grandland X is 38.02ppm, the Qashqai 39.35ppm and Tiguan 41.54ppm.
For fuel, it’s the Grandland X which has the highest combined mpg on paper (44.8) meaning a ppm figure of 12.99 while the Karoq is next best with 13.38 (43.5mpg), followed by the Qashqai (14.06ppm and 41.4mpg) and the Tiguan (14.23ppm and 40.9mpg).
The Karoq holds its value the best (37%), followed by the Tiguan (32%), Grandland X (31%) and Qashqai (29%). However, per mile, the Tiguan costs the most in terms of depreciation (23.01p), followed by the Qashqai (21.53p), the Grandland X (20.39p) and the Karoq (17.09p).
So, on paper, the Karoq is the best bet. But what is it like to live with? Read our long-term review.
This is my second stint in a Nissan Qashqai. The first was back in 2008 when I joined the Fleet News editorial team. The Qashqai had launched the year before and it was an interesting car to have on long-term test as there was nothing else quite like it – it was the car that spawned the crossover sector.
Some road testers at the time were critical as they felt it wasn’t an MPV and it wasn’t quite an SUV and therefore it ‘didn’t know what it was’. But the judges of the Fleet News Awards were impressed with its distinctiveness, running costs and technology, and voted it the best small family car that year.
Today, the Qashqai is firmly established as one of the best selling cars in the UK (with total year to date sales of 29,180 in June, two-thirds of which were true fleet).
But because so many are sold now and there are so many other crossover/compact SUV cars on the market the Qashqai has lost its distinctiveness. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the latest version we’re testing (which was facelifted in 2017) is ‘run of the mill’.
What’s most interesting now is not its looks but what’s under the bonnet – a 1.3-litre petrol engine which has been developed under the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler partnership and became available on the Qashqai last year.
Its CO2 emissions are 121g/km while the official combined mpg is 53.2. Our test car is averaging 40.3mpg, with the best figure to date 48.8.
Back in 2008, it was the 1.5-litre diesel I tested and the fact we’re now in a petrol is another sign of how things have moved on in the market.