The new Nissan Qashqai has already impressed What Car? enough to be named the 2014 Car of the Year. It didn’t take long behind the wheel to discover that the Qashqai has what it takes as a tow car, too.
Stability at speed is excellent. We found the Qashqai towed straight and true up to 70mph in still air, with only slight steering corrections needed in crosswinds.
The Qashqai goes and stops well, too. The 1.6-litre engine is strong enough to pull car and caravan from 30-60mph in 14.6 seconds, so the Nissan will have no trouble pulling up to motorway speeds. The emergency stop from 30mph took 10.5m in dry conditions, and the brakes were easy to apply smoothly in regular towing.
Hill starts are usually easier when a car is fitted with an electronic parking brake, and that proved to be the case with the Qashqai. One flick of the switch and car and caravan held still on the 1-in-6 slope, and with 236lb ft of torque the hard work of pulling to the top of the slope didn’t seem too hard at all. Our drivers did notice some smell from the clutch after reversing uphill, though.
As an everyday car, the Qashqai offers a smooth, comfortable ride, especially at high speeds. The cabin is quiet, except for some noise from the engine when accelerating. There’s also plenty of space and a quality of finish that is a significant step up compared with the old Qashqai.
If the handbook contained more info on towing and the car’s weight limits, the practicality score would have been higher. Our practicality team found space for all but one item of luggage in the 430-litre boot, and were impressed with the unusually high 100kg noseweight limit.