What Car? editor-in-chief Chas Hallett said: "The all-new Nissan Qashqai brings excellence and polish to a class of cars that is brimming with talent and tempting buys. The Qashqai delivers low costs and first-class levels of comfort, refinement, space and safety.
"Nissan has thought of every last detail, and this complete approach is why the Qashqai is What Car?'s Car of the Year. The Nissan team should be justifiably proud of their achievement."
Nissan Motor GB managing director Jim Wright said: "We're thrilled that What Car? has named the new Qashqai as its 2014 Car of the Year. A huge amount of effort has gone into the design and engineering of the new car, and we're all extremely excited about creating the template for the second-generation crossover.
"As the What Car? judges discovered for themselves, the new Qashqai is an unbeatable package with high equipment levels, great refinement and comfort and incredible attention to detail."
BMW collected two trophies; the 435i won best coupé and the new i3 was named best green car. Audi also had a double victory, with the A3 Saloon winning the best executive car and the A3 Cabriolet the best open-top car.
Two awards were presented to Ford for the Fiesta; the 1.0T 100 EcoBoost Zetec 5dr was declared the best small car and the ST-2 the best hot hatch.
Sports car of the year went to the Porsche Boxster 2.7, while the MPV award went to the Citroën Grand C4 Picasso.
The British-built Range Rover Sport was named best large SUV and the luxury car award went to Mercedes-Benz for the S350 Bluetec L SE Line.
The Skoda Octavia was given the family car award and the estate car trophy went to Volkswagen for the VW Golf Estate 1.6 TDI SE Bluemotion Tech.
The all-new Nissan X-Trail, which goes on sale this summer, was awarded the most exciting car 2014 by What Car?readers; Nissan says the new Nissan X-Trail will be muscular, modern and packed with technology.