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.

Category Winners
2014 Up to 1400kg

Skoda Octavia

2.0 TDI CR 150PS Elegance

2014 1400-1549kg

Nissan Qashqai

1.6 dCi (130PS) Stop/Start System Acenta Premium

2014 1550-1699kg

Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI Bluemotion Technology 177PS Executive Style

2014 1700-1899kg

Jaguar XF Sportbrake

3.0 V6 Diesel S 275PS Portfolio

2014 1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery

3.0 SDV6 XS

2014 Best MPV

Citroën Grand C4 Picasso

Blue HDi 150 Exclusive+

2014 Best Petrol Tow Car

Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer

1.6i 16v Direct Injection Turbo (170PS) Start/Stop

2014 Best Ultralight Tow Car

Renault Captur

1.5 dCi 90 Dynamique MediaNav

2014 Green Award

Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid

D6 AWD Geartronic SE Lux Nav

2014 Money No Object Tow Car

Range Rover Sport

3.0 SDV6 Autobiography Dynamic

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