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Tuesday, 26 October 2021
THE level of sophistication achieved by this week’s drive, the all-new Nissan Qashqai, shows that an already popular model can be greatly improved.
By summer, the new Qashqai had notched up 10,000 customer orders in Europe but this best-seller’s development does not stop there.
Next year, the Qashqai’s powertrain line-up will be expanded with the addition of an e-Power system, more of which later.
What is outstanding for me about this third generation Qashqai is how “polished” the model has become: it looks and feels like a much more expensive model, especially in the smart grey/black livery of the test car.
The Qashqai is categorised as a crossover, which is a car based on a platform shared with a passenger car SUV.
Indeed, Nissan says the first generation of Qashqai, which was launched in Europe in 2007, created the crossover segment overnight.
Whatever its antecedents, no one can deny the success of the Qashqai. In total, more than three million units have been sold in Europe, and five million-plus globally.
But what’s new about the 2021 model? Well, it has been developed on an all-new platform, it has advanced electrified powertrain options, and revamped comfort, convenience and safety features.
I have to say at this point that the test car was a manual gearbox, and I think I would prefer the automatic transmission.
It may have been my driving, but too often I stalled the car from take-off in first gear, because of incredibly low revs.
The new Qashqai, which continues to be produced at Nissan’s UK manufacturing plant in Sunderland, is powered by a 1.3-litre petrol engine, equipped with mild hybrid technology that optimises the car’s efficiency.
The 1.3 engine offers two power outputs — 138hp and 156hp — with either a six-speed manual transmission or new Xtronic automatic gearbox (156hp only).
The 12V mild hybrid system available on the new Qashqai provides torque assist, extended idle stop, quick restart and coasting stop (Xtronic only), with improvements to both fuel economy and CO2 output.
The new Qashqai is equipped with the next generation of ProPILOT driver assistance. Called ProPILOT with Navi-link, the system has been designed to reduce fatigue and stress while driving (only available with Xtronic transmission).
There is increased cabin and trunk space, an elevated ambience inside the car, plus massage seats, driver head-up display, an advanced touchscreen and configurable TFT digital “combimeter” for the driver.
The presence of the excellent head-up display and navigation system alone make this Qashqai a winner.
This car is lighter and is Nissan’s first model built in Europe using a number of lightweight aluminium panels.
The bonnet, doors and front wings are stamped from aluminium alloy, which makes the Qashqai body 60kg lighter than the previous version, offering improved efficiency on emissions.
Outside, the new Qashqai has an extended wheelbase and 20in alloy wheels introduced to the model for the first time. The front end sports an enlarged Nissan V-Motion grille, finished in chrome with a secondary pinstripe of satin chrome.
The forward lighting has been enhanced from the previous model to feature a slimmer, sharper design thanks to the use of LED technology.
Aimed at creating a calming environment, new white ambient lighting is used throughout the cabin.
The new Qashqai offers an advanced infotainment system with in-car WiFi for up to seven devices and NissanConnect Services, a dedicated app with which to interact with and monitor the vehicle. The larger, higher resolution 9in NissanConnect display screen is a digital gateway to navigation, entertainment and vehicle settings, and is compatible with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, with wireless Apple CarPlay also introduced.
A new high-definition, fully electronic 12.3in TFT multi-information screen offers a choice of configurable layouts to display navigation, entertainment, traffic or vehicle information, all controlled from the steering wheel.
The 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 on to the windscreen within the driver’s line of vision.
Next year’s e-Power system comprises a high-output battery and powertrain integrated with a category-leading variable compression ratio 154hp turbocharged petrol engine, power generator, inverter and 140kW electric motor of similar size and power output as found in Nissan’s electric vehicles.
The unique element of
e-Power is that the petrol engine is used solely to generate electricity, whilst the wheels are driven by the electric motor.
This means the engine can always run within its optimal range, leading to better fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emissions compared with a traditional internal combustion engine.
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