2023 Nissan Qashqai review: does bigger mean better?

A red Nissan Qashqai driving along a highway

Toby Hagon

Posted February 06, 2023

It’s got a bigger body, a new turbocharger, and hosts a bunch of new equipment. You’d think that all of those upgrades would help raise the bar.

The new Nissan Qashqai is still a small SUV, but it’s bigger than ever.

Stretched in every direction, the new Qashqai now offers more interior space, but is still categorised as a small SUV. Riding on a bigger body with a new turbocharged engine, the five-seater now also comes with more equipment than ever before.  

The 2023 model instantly feels more athletic and alert than the previous edition - something that adds to its driving enjoyment and liveability. Steering is crisp and is surefooted through corners, but it’s also light and relaxed, making for easy everyday running.

The new Qashqai is a more compelling small SUV proposition – and one that is no longer that small.

Indeed, its additional dimensions will suffice for some small families, but it’s playing in a competitive sector of the market, so adds to the ‘better options’ shortlist rather than setting a new benchmark.

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Nissan's small SUV is no longer quite so small but still makes for an easy everyday car.
There are four Qashqai models, starting at $33,890 plus on-road costs.

Nissan Qashqai pricing and models

The new Qashqai comes with more gear, but it comes at a higher price. 

Starting at $33,890 plus on-road costs, the new Qashqai at least 15 per cent more expensive than the previous model. 

Price rises have been common among rivals, which include the Mazda CX-30, Toyota C-HR, Kia Seltos, and Volkswagen T-Roc. 


The entry Qashqai is the ST, which gets 17-inch alloys, smart key entry, adaptive cruise control and an 8.0-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.  

Like all Qashqais it drives only the front wheels. 


The ST+ is an extra $4,000 and while you still get the same plastic steering wheel, there are significant additions, including 18-inch alloys, a 12.3-inch central touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay functionality, inbuilt sat-nav, and an overhead camera view to make parking easier. 


The $42,190 ST-L picks up 19-inch wheels, wireless phone charging, tinted windows, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats and steering wheel and an electrically adjusted driver’s seat. There’s also some fake leather seat trim and ambient lighting to lift the cabin ambience. 


At $47,390 the Ti adds splashes of luxury with a panoramic sunroof, quilted leather, digital instrument cluster, Bose sound system, power tailgate, head-up display, powered passenger seat, front seat massagers and various trim changes for a classier look. 

Buyers can also choose a different roof colour (black or grey) on all but the ST, which comes with an additional cost of $500. 


The vehicle features a suite of active safety systems including blind spot and lane departure warning.
Opt for the Ti model to get a clever split boot floor that can create two sections in the boot.

Nissan Qashqai safety

Airbag protection includes a centre-front airbag to complement the dual-front, front side and side curtains surrounding occupants.

There’s also a suite of active safety systems that includes blind spot warning, lane departure warning, speed sign recognition, rear cross traffic alert, driver monitoring, rear auto braking and autonomous forward emergency braking with pedestrian, cyclist and junction detection.

Tyre pressure sensors are a bonus to provide early alerts to deflation.

The combination adds up to a five-star ANCAP safety rating tested to the 2021 criteria.

ST-L and Ti models also get more advanced lane keep assist, which can be used when on cruise control to help keep the vehicle in its lane.

Nissan Qashqai interiors

Up front it’s very accommodating with nicely supportive seats and a clean centre console they incorporates a couple of cupholders. 

Those in the rear are also well looked after with air vents keeping things cool and USB-A and USB-C charge ports to match those up front. 

In the Ti, there are high quality finishes - including stitched leather on the dash and doors - that at least partially reinforce the premium price tag. 

The large infotainment screen sits close to the driver’s line of sight and is easy to navigate. Some separate fixed buttons and a traditional volume dial are good for quick changes. 

The boot will easily take a large suitcase and some extras, plus that rear seat split-folds 60/40 to take larger items. 

The Ti also gets a clever split boot floor that allows one section to be placed vertically to create two sections in the boot; it’s handy for those days when you do a larger shop. 



A red Nissan Qashqai

The engine might have been downsized but the Qashqai is still peppy - and uses 11 per cent less fuel.

Nissan Qashqai engine and specs 

The Qashqai’s engine has been downsized from 2.0 litres to 1.3. It’s all about efficiency and driving improvements, the latter helped by the addition of a turbocharger with the new model - something that boosts pull and makes that pull easier to access. 

The additional thrust makes for peppy acceleration. 

A standard CVT automatic transmission varies its ratio depending on what the driver calls for with their right foot. 

It generally works well but can be caught short on moderate take-offs, especially if you push the pedal harder. The CVT auto seems to adjust its ratio quickly but then the turbo takes a moment to spin up to pace, in turn leading to some occasional inconsistencies. 

A drive mode selector allows the choice of Sport or Eco modes, each adjusting the responses of the transmissions, although we found the Normal mode best for most situations. 

Nissan Qashqai fuel efficiency

The official figures tell a compelling story with the new Qashqai. Claimed average fuel use has dropped 11 per cent, in turn dropping CO2 emissions by the same amount. 

But there’s a hip pocket sting in the fuel efficiency tail. 
Whereas the previous model used the cheapest regular unleaded, the new Qashqai requires more expensive premium unleaded. 

So while you may be looking after the environment more, there’s not likely to be much in the way of monetary savings. 


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