Ah, the Nissan Qashqai. Arguably, it’s the car that kicked off the SUV/Crossover and whether you think that’s a good thing or not, is up to you. Like it or not, Nissan has offered up third servings of its ever-popular SUV in what looks to be a complete overhaul. The number of changes for the third generation are substantial to say the least. Not only is it larger, but it offers more tech and it also welcomes the European debut of Nissan’s e-POWER.
Bigger than ever
Built on the CMF-C platform, the new Nissan Qashqai sees an increase in size in all areas. The wheelbase is 20mm longer, with the overall length of the car extended by 35mm. The height has also grown by 25mm and it’s also 32mm wider to help give the car greater presence. This also means occupants can enjoy headroom that’s improved by 15mm whilst those in the rear benefit from 28mm extra knee room.
Because Nissan has been able to revise the rear suspension setup, this has allowed the boot floor to drop by 20mm. This, coupled with the larger exterior dimensions, also allows for a boot that is 50 litres larger – making it 480 in total. Visibility has also been improved thanks to a redesign of the front windscreen, thinner A pillars and revised door mirrors.
Let’s hear more about that CMF-C platform…
As well as marking the European debut for e-POWER (I’ll get on to that later) the new Nissan Qashqai also represents a European debut for the CMF-C platform. One of the main focus points for the platform is making the car’s ‘body in white’ – basically the car’s bare frame – lighter. For the first time, the tailgate has been made using composite material, making it 2.6kg lighter than before.
The front wings, bonnet and doors are all made using aluminium, which has given a further weight saving of 21kg. Overall, the new Qashqai is 60kg lighter than the outgoing model but more importantly, it’s 41% stiffer. That’s thanks to advance stamping and welding techniques.
And what about that e-POWER?
It’s easy to read e-POWER and assume that this is an all-electric powertrain, but in fact it isn’t, confusingly. Yes, it does use electrification, but there’s still a 1.5 litre fossil burner petrol engine fitted under the sleek – and lighter – new bonnet. It doesn’t provide any power to wheels, however. No, instead it powers an on-board generator, which charges the battery. Think of it as Top Gear’s famous Hammerhead Eagle i-Thrust, only without the dangerous fumes and painfully low top speed.
What is providing the power to the front wheels is a 187hp electric motor which also offers 330Nm of torque. Performance/economy stats are yet to be revealed, but Nissan has stated the system will use the innovative e-Pedal. First seen on the Nissan Leaf, this enables drivers to drive the car just using the accelerator pedal as the car’s regenerative braking will kick in when you lift off.
Are there other engine choices?
Yes, but much like the new Juke, the range of engines is far from endless. The only other powertrain on offer is a 1.3 litre turbocharged petrol engine offering either 138 or 156hp. Both setups come with a 12v mild hybrid system, but only the latter can me be mated to Nissan’s Xtronic gearbox.
Those that are looking for four wheel drive will only have the choice of the 156hp unit as the the 138hp is front wheel drive only. In case you’re wondering, the other choice of gearbox is a 6-speed manual but that can only be mated to front wheel drive versions. It is available for both power outputs, though.
What else is new?
As well as a fancy new look and bigger dimensions, the new Nissan Qashqai comes with an option for 20″ alloys, which is a first – and probably needless if you ask me. There’s also more tech a revised power steering set up as well as improved interior quality. The ProPILOT system has been improved plus there’s intelligent LED headlights.
Prices and release date for the new Nissan Qashqai are yet to be revealed.