Slotting in as a compact SUV, or increasingly as a crossover, the Qashqai has proved popular in providing a best-of-both worlds product for drivers. Even in the previous generation the ride and quality were excellent and the new version carries on that tradition.
There is a five-model range supported by three engine variants and two trim lines and greatly improved aesthetics.
The all-new interior approaches premium car standards. A Drive-Assist Display brings increased interaction with high-definition graphics. The design of the five seats was inspired by Nasa and takes into account blood flow and pressure in the lower backs of passengers.
The engineers used advanced medical scanning techniques to design brand-new seats that offer even support. Improved leg, head and shoulder room are combined with larger door openings.
The 430-litre boot is 20 litres bigger and is fronted by a tailgate which now opens 150mm higher than before. Cargo capacity is extendable to 1 585 litres.
Suspension in the new Qashqai is a MacPherson strut design with a rigid-mounting mini sub-frame up front and an independent multilink design at the rear. The Electronic Power Assisted Steering (EPAS) system is adjustable according to driver preference, allowing for lighter or heavier feel depending on the driving environment and the driver’s mood. In Normal mode, EPAS offers light responses perfectly suited to low-speed manoeuvring and effortless cruising, while in sport mode, a heavier feel requiring more effort to turn the wheel and increased steering feel enhances sportiness.
As is the fashion these days, the engines have been downsized to lower fuel consumption and reduce carbon emissions. The single petrol engine offering comes in the form of an all-new 1.2-litre direct injection turbocharged unit producing 85kW at 4 500 rpm and 190Nm at just 2 000rpm, the two new Qashqai 1.2T models – available in Visia and Acenta trim levels – are mated to a six-speed manual gearbox in both derivatives, powering the front wheels.
Diesel engines make up the rest of the line-up. The new Qashqai 1.5dCi Acenta model features the latest evolution of the world-class 1.5-litre common rail turbocharged diesel engine, which produces 81kW at 4 000rpm and torque of 260Nm between 1 750 and 2 500rpm. Quieter and with reduced vibration, the motor is also lighter than before. It is also paired with a six-speed manual gearbox driving the front wheels.
Topping the range are two more diesel models – the Qashqai 1.6dCi Acenta Xtronic CVT and 1.6dCi Acenta AWD. Powered by a new-generation 1.6-litre common rail turbocharged diesel engine, mated to either Nissan’s Xtronic CVT (which is much better than the average CVT), or a six-speed manual gearbox with All Mode 4×4-i, these derivatives also carry heightened specification levels to match their superior engine characteristics. Power output is 96kW at 4 000rpm and 320Nm peaking as low as 1 750rpm.
Both diesel engines require 50ppm diesel or better and feature start/stop technology, along with Active Engine Brake on the CVT model, which replicates the natural braking force of the engine while cornering, the benefits of which include greater braking control and enhanced feel with less pedal effort and less brake application required when cornering, along with greater braking feel when stopping. The Xtronic CVT has stepped changes to mimic conventional multiratio automatic gearboxes during hard acceleration. Both manual diesel derivatives go even further in the aerodynamics stakes, featuring an intelligent new Active Grille Shutter system to maximise aerodynamic efficiency by closing off air flow through the radiator above 30km/h.
All models have a four-disc ABS with EBD (Electronic Brake-force Distribution) and BAS (Brake Assist System), six airbags, Vehicle Dynamic Control, which incorporates traction control, hill start assistance, an electric parking brake, three-point seat belts for all five seats and Isofix child seat anchor points. There is also Chassis Control, comprising Active Trace Control and Active Ride Control.
Nissan Around View Monitor is an option on all derivatives except the 1.2T Visia. This incorporates four exterior cameras to create a “helicopter view” of the vehicle via a seven-inch LCD display, which is included in the optional Techno Pack.
An optional Design Pack consists of smart silver roof rails, privacy glass and 19-inch V-design alloy wheels, while the Techno Pack includes Around View Monitor, heated door mirrors and the new NissanConnect system. This latest version of NissanConnect is a fully fledged infotainment system operated via a stylish seven-inch touch screen interface.