The third-generation Nissan Qashqai has been revealed, ahead of going on sale in international markets. The all-new SUV marks a radical departure in all measures from its predecessors, ushering in a new platform, a bold new look and hybrid-only powertrains.
New Qashqai based on updated Renault-Nissan CMF-C platform
1.5-litre petrol ePower hybrid pairs the engine with 145kW electric motor
Also available with 1.3-litre turbo-petrol mild-hybrid in two states of tune
New Nissan Qashqai: exterior
Designed, engineered and produced in the UK, the new Qashqai sits atop an updated version of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance’s CMF-C platform. The company says the SUV has been completely redesigned, with a “more purposeful” stance and “athletic and dynamic” styling cues. The front end is dominated by Nissan’s new V-Motion chrome grille surround, while the headlights – now LED matrix items – have been slimmed down and given a new ‘boomerang’ shape. The SUV has grown in size, too, being 35mm longer, 25mm taller and 32mm wider than before. Wheelbase too is up by 20mm.
Designer Matt Weaver said the shift to electrified-only powertrains influenced the new Qashqai’s styling because it necessitated a heightened focus on aerodynamics. The body shell is lighter as well, with new composite and aluminium panels contributing to an overall 60kg body-in-white weight loss. New welding and stamping techniques have improved overall stiffness by 41 percent, improving refinement, safety and responsiveness.
New Nissan Qashqai: interior
The interior has been subject to equally substantial revisions. A new free-standing 9.0-inch high-definition touchscreen replaces the outgoing car’s 7.0-inch unit. Behind the steering sits a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, while a 10.8-inch head-up display is said to be the largest in its segment. Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa bring voice control functionality, and the Nissan Connect smartphone app allows remote control of certain functions, including the horn, lights and central locking.
Forward visibility has been improved, with repositioned door mirrors, thinner A-pillars and a wider windscreen opening angle. In the rear, there’s an additional 28mm of knee room for passengers, thanks largely in part to the longer wheelbase. The rear doors now open to 85degree for easier ingress and egress. Boot capacity is also up by 50 litres over that of the current model, courtesy of a revised rear suspension layout that allows for a lower cargo floor.
New Nissan Qashqai: engines
The Qashqai will be available with a choice of two electrified petrol powertrains, the more conventional of which pairs a 1.3-litre turbo-petrol engine with a 12V mild-hybrid system. The 12V setup recovers energy under deceleration to power on-board systems when the engine is stopped, and also provides a small torque boost when accelerating.
The petrol unit can be specified with 140hp or 156hp and paired to either a 6-speed manual gearbox or, on the more powerful car, a new Xtronic CVT. The 156hp engine makes 270Nm of torque and is optionally available with four-wheel drive.
Also available is the company’s unconventional ePower powertrain, which is described as “a unique approach to electrification” that can make “everyday driving exciting.” Like a traditional full-hybrid, the 190hp ePower drivetrain mates a 156hp, 1.5-litre petrol engine to a 140kW electric motor for ‘self-charging’ functionality but differs in that the petrol engine is not connected to the driven wheels and is instead used exclusively to power the electric motor.
The Qashqai ePower also follows the all-electric Leaf in gaining an ‘e-Pedal’, which can be used for both acceleration and deceleration, and can drive for limited distances (less than 3km) with the engine off.
New Nissan Qashqai: underpinnings
The revised CMF-C platform incorporates a new MacPherson strut suspension setup at both ends. The two-wheel-drive car is equipped with a beam axle at the rear, while the four-wheel-drive variant adopts a more advanced multi-link setup. The Qashqai also receives a more responsive power steering setup, which, Nissan says, will “continue to offer a rewarding driving experience”, and also “be enjoyable when the road turns twisty.”
Coming to the Indian market, Nissan currently only has two models in the market, the midsize Kicks SUV and the still fresh Magnite compact SUV. The Magnite has proven to be popular in the segment, with the brand already ramping up production after receiving over 32,000 bookings within the first month of its launch.
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