Classy crossover kicks off a new generation as buzz still growing for Qashqai
Nissan’s family favourite goes electric with roomier, high-tech version
AROUND 50,000 Irish people own or have owned a Nissan Qashqai. Indeed, it can be said the compact crossover/ SUV has become a byword for family motoring since its mould-breaking arrival 13 years ago – when it had no rivals.
Now comes a new generation, and it’s electrified.
Due here in July (but the order books are open) it’s still unmistakably a Qashqai in styling and looks.
Current owners will notice there is more muscularity to it with sharper lines (and 20in alloys), but you’d still instantly recognise it as a Qashqai.
It’s got a longer wheelbase, too, which means more space for users big and small, while overall luggage capacity is well up.
An electric, hands-free rear tailgate makes getting stuff into the boot a lot easier when your arms are laden with the grocery shopping or a toddler in tow.
Where space allows, parents will also be glad to know the rear doors now open to 90 degrees, making it easier to access babies and toddlers in child seats.
One of the main attractions of the car was the high driving position.
Survey after survey finds people want these crossovers because the high seated position helps them feel more secure and aware of what’s going on around them.
They’ve also made it easier to get in or out of as well, thanks to the re-designed doorways.
As you’d expect, there is a new infotainment system which includes the integration of smartphones, in-car wifi (up to seven devices) as well as Nissan-Connect Services, an app to interact with, and monitor, the vehicle.
Also debuting will be a new 10.8in Head-Up Display (HUD) which projects key navigation, driver assistance and road information on the windscreen, right in the line of the driver’s sight.
Driving the new version of the Qashqai are two different power sources.
Expect a lot of attention to focus on the e-Power ‘hybrid’ model (coming later on).
This is different to the conventional hybrid system because the wheels are always driven by the 100pc electric motor – the engine works to generate power to the motor.
The wheels are never powered by the engine; you are always driving in electric mode. That means you get all the torque and acceleration of an electric car.
They claim the e-Power system emits lower amounts of CO2 than a mild or conventional hybrid set-up.
In a way it is similar to an electric vehicle with a petrol range extender but it has a bigger generator, smaller battery and no electric plug.
The system makes its European debut in the Qashqai and uses elements of the technology in the all-electric Nissan LEAF.
Basically the e-Power package comprises a high-output battery and powertrain, 154hp 1.5litre petrol engine, power generator, inverter and 140kW electric motor.
There will also be a 1.3 litre petrol engine that has 12-volt mild hybrid technology.
A more affordable but more basic system, mild hybrid helps provide torque assist, extended idle stop, quick restart and coasting stop, with claimed improvements to both fuel economy and CO2 emissions.
The 1.3-petrol motor will come with two power levels – 138hp and 156hp – with either a 6spd manual , or new Xtronic gearbox (156hp version only); 4WD will only be on 156hp Xtronic models.