New Nissan Qashqai: Same as the old one, only better
When you look around at all the crossover SUVs on the road it's hard to believe that the one that started it all is only in its third generation.
When Nissan introduced the
Qashqai back in 2007
, it's unlikely even the most confident would have predicted just how big an impact it would have.
But 13 years, 3 million units sold, and possibly the most popular and fastest growing new car segment ever created, there's an excellent chance that if you're not leasing one right now then somebody you know is.
For this latest generation of the Qashqai, Nissan has retained the guiding principles that have driven the concept, design and development of the two previous versions: elegant design, enhanced packaging and efficient powertrain. This time built on the brand new Alliance CMF-C platform the new Qashqai will try to raise the bar again in the crossover segment.
As with the previous generations, the design for the all-new Nissan Qashqai came out of Nissan's European Design Studio in London, UK. Still unmistakably Qashqai in its styling, this third generation is more modern with extra road presence. The wheelbase of the car has increased by 20mm with the overall length increasing 35mm. There's a slight increase in height (25mm) and width has increased by 32mm for improved presence on the road. The new Qashqai's body is much more purposeful, especially when you add the imposing 20-inch alloy wheels.
The front end of the all-new Qashqai sports a V-Motion grille, finished in chrome with a secondary pinstripe of satin chrome to emphasise its precision. Slim, full LED advanced matrix headlamps with boomerang signature daylight running lights complete the face of the car. Super tight gaps between all these details create a premium and precise impression. The new Qashqai will also be available in 11 body colours with five two-tone combinations, creating 16 variations to choose from. No shortage of personalisation here.
The additional size of the new Qashqai brings other benefits, too. Enhancements include a wider windscreen opening angle, thinner front pillar design and side mirrors mounted on the door, instead of the a-pillar, reducing zones of obscured visibility and making it easier to see and manoeuvre. As well as improving comfort and stability, the longer, wider wheelbase creates even more room for passengers and ‘driving stuff' on the inside.
On top of the extra space the new Qashqai also offers a premium cabin. New materials, new lighting, and extensive attention to designing the dials and switches gives the new model a nicely refined feel.
There's an advanced infotainment system with loads of connected services including effortless integration of smartphones, in-car Wi-Fi for up to seven devices and NissanConnect Services, a dedicated app allowing you to interact with and monitor the vehicle. The 9-inch display screen is the gateway to navigation, entertainment and vehicle settings, and is compatible with both Android and Apple smartphones, with wireless Apple CarPlay also introduced. An innovative new 10.8-inch Head-Up Display (HUD) provides the biggest-in-segment image size. Key navigation, driver assistance and road information are projected onto the windscreen within the driver's line of vision. You've even got the option of using Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa devices to remotely send destinations to the car's navigation system so it's all set up and ready to go when you climb into the driver's seat.
Engine choices and innovative hybrid option
As far as options to make the new Nissan Qashqai move are concerned you have three choices.
The 12v mild hybrid, 1.3-litre petrol engine will be offered with two power outputs – 138hp and 156hp – with either a 6-speed manual transmission, or new Xtronic gearbox (156hp only). On manual versions the gearbox has been enhanced for a quicker, more direct and sportier shift feeling. The new generation Xtronic transmission offers better fuel economy and acceleration feel thanks to improvements including a twin oil pump system with new electrical oil pump. 2WD is available on both 138hp and 156hp versions, whilst 4WD will only be available on 156hp Xtronic models. There's also a new 4WD control system and driving selection system with five driving modes – Standard, ECO, Sport, Snow and Off-Road.
But the one you want is the range topping e-Power model. Based on the drive system in the Nissan Leaf but with some updated technology and a larger engine to generate more electricity. The new Qashqai's e-Power system comprises a high-output battery and powertrain integrated with a 154hp petrol engine, power generator, inverter and 140kW electric motor of similar size and power output as found in Nissan's electric vehicles. The clever part of the e-Power is that the petrol engine is used solely to generate electricity, whilst the wheels are completely driven by the electric motor. This means the engine can always run within its optimal range, using less fuel and producing lower CO2 emissions compared with a traditional internal combustion engine and you can still enjoy the seamless, and occasionally astonishing acceleration which is characteristic of an EV. All without the need to plug it in to recharge the battery.
As a nod to how seriously Nissan wants to make this work, the system has been significantly upgraded for the new Qashqai. The Japanese market is perfectly happy with a 1.2-litre petrol engine charging the battery unit, and a final power output of 106hp. For Europe Nissan has upgraded to a 1.5-litre petrol engine to keep the batteries charged and boosted the final power output to around 187bhp. The new Qashqai should be more than capable of making the hairs on the back of your neck stand up if the mood takes you. Or if you're in a more relaxed mode the new Qashqai e-Power benefits from an entirely new ‘one pedal' driving experience allowing drivers to start, accelerate and decelerate using only the accelerator pedal.
It's not often you get to drive around in a car that started a revolution. Usually that involves spending millions of pounds on rare slices of automobile history, or at least thousands of pounds on the stuff that used to be cheap but is now appreciated, and appreciating. In the case of the Nissan Qashqai all it needs is a phone call to us and your next Qashqai lease can be arranged and parked on your drive, and it's a lot cheaper than one of those £50 million vintage Ferraris you've been dreaming about.
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