Nissan has revealed the awaited hybrid version of the latest Qashqai: the Qashqai e-power, which will arrive on sale in the UK this summer.
The Qashqai e-power is the brand’s first model in Europe to use the firm’s e-power hybrid technology, previously equipped on several models in Japan. It makes use of a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine developing 156bhp, which works in series with an electric motor system for a total power output of 188bhp and 330Nm torque. Nissan claims up to 53.3mpg and CO2 emissions from 119g/km.
As in other hybrid SUV rivals, such as the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, the engine acts as an electricity generator, sending charge to either the compact battery pack, directly to the electric motor, or to both simultaneously.
The sole source of drive for the wheels is the electric motor system – the engine does not have a gear that locks and drives the wheels directly.
New technologies for the Qashqai e-power include a system called ‘Linear Tune’, which closely governs engine speed so that the revolutions per second does not sound out of sync with the speed the car is travelling. The Qashqai e-power also features partial one pedal driving, capable of reducing the speed of the car to a slow creep, not a full stop.
Nissan Qashqai pricing and specifications
Prices and trim levels for the new third-generation Qashqai family SUV are out now, kicking off at £23,535 – prices for the e-Power hybrid models are not yet available.
The range opens with the Visia grade car, which is powered by Nissan’s new 138bhp 1.3-litre DIG-T mild-hybrid turbocharged petrol engine in conjunction with a manual gearbox. Stepping up to the Acenta Premium model sees the price rise to £26,135 with the same engine and gearbox combination, though the more powerful version 156bhp 1.3-litre petrol unit is priced from £26,855 – a £720 premium. This model is also available with an automatic gearbox, taking the price up to £28,455.
N-Connecta and Tekna trims are available with every powertrain offered on the new Qashqai, starting from £28,305 and £30,845 respectively. These grades also offer the option of four-wheel drive, but this set-up is only available in conjunction with Nissan’s more powerful 156bhp 1.3 DIG-T engine and CVT automatic transmission, with prices starting from £32,335 in N-Connecta trim.
There’s a range-topping Tekna+ trim too. It’s not offered with the entry level 138bhp engine and manual gearbox, and is only available with the more powerful 156bhp engine, either with front-wheel drive (manual or CVT automatic) or four-wheel-drive. It’s priced from £34,175.
The £29,270 launch-spec Premiere Edition trim remains available in limited numbers.
It is powered by Nissan’s new 138bhp 1.3-litre DIG-T mild-hybrid turbocharged petrol engine in conjunction with a manual gearbox, while an automatic Xtronic option is offered when paired with Nissan’s more powerful DIG-T mild-hybrid engine. This powertrain costs from £31,790 in Premiere Edition trim.
This high-spec model comes loaded with kit, including a nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system with sat-nav and wireless Apple CarPlay, a 12.3-inch digital dash and a 10.8-inch head-up display.
On top of this buyers also benefit from a wireless phone charging pad, which Nissan claims is the fastest in the segment. Four wired USB charging ports are also standard.
Matrix LED lights are included, along with Nissan’s new ProPilot with Navi Link semi-autonomous driving system, which uses data from the sat-nav to help adjust certain elements of the car’s set-up depending on the road you’re on. This is only available on automatic models; ProPilot with Drive Assist is standard on manual-equipped Premiere Edition cars.
This trim level also gets a two-tone colour choice and matt silver roof rails, plus 18-inch diamond cut alloy wheels, as well as different interior trim.
New Nissan Qashqai in detail
The all-new 2021 Nissan Qashqai is the third generation of the best-selling family SUV in the UK. The new model gets a complete ground-up overhaul, which includes new styling, better practicality, upgraded in-car and safety tech, plus more efficient engines – including an all-new hybrid powertrain.
The 2021 Qashqai comes following Nissan’s recent announcement that it has sold over one million crossovers in the UK alone since the first generation Qashqai launched back in 2007. That model set the template for family cars over the next decade, making SUVs more popular and influencing buyers, tempting them away from conventional family hatchbacks like the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf.
The new Qashqai’s exterior design evolves its predecessor’s styling with a look that’s more solid and substantial despite growing by just 35mm in length and 32mm in width. There’s also a longer wheelbase to create an extra 28mm of legroom in the rear.
The front gets an updated interpretation of Nissan’s ‘V-Motion’ grille, and it’s flanked by slim LED headlights which cut a C-shaped slash into the fascia. The refreshed look is helped by a floating roof effect, made possible by a contrasting paint finish for the top. There are 11 exterior colour options available, five of which can be chosen with a contrasting roof for a total of 16 combinations. Wheel sizes range from 17-20 inches – that maximum is one inch larger than what was offered on the second-generation Qashqai.
Inside, the Qashqai’s cabin is a great leap forward in both design and finish. A horizontal dash architecture sees the infotainment screen positioned on top of the dash, with the vents and physical air-conditioning controls moved below.
Nissan Qashqai: new infotainment and connectivity
The infotainment system now uses a nine-inch touchscreen with a much sharper resolution than before, plus online services that include fuel prices, Google street view and speed camera information. Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay are offered too.
While the previous Qashqai’s traditional analogue dials and low-resolution, slow infotainment system meant it lagged behind the best in the class for tech, the new model is brought right up to date thanks to a new digital instrument cluster.
The customisable 12.3-inch screen allows the driver to prioritise driving data, sat-nav, entertainment or vehicle information, all via controls on the new steering wheel. That new panel is backed up by a 10.8-inch head-up display – the largest of its type in this segment – on the highest trim levels.
There’s also more connectivity, as the NissanConnect smartphone app allows owners to remotely control the car’s locks, lights and horn, plus send destinations to the car’s navigation system.
Nissan Qashqai: hybrid engines and chassis
Another huge change for the Qashqai comes underneath the bonnet. The Japanese brand has dropped diesel engines from the line-up, so the bulk of the range is filled by an evolution of the old car’s 1.3-litre DIG-T turbo petrol unit, now with mild-hybrid tech. It adds 22kg in weight, but reduces CO2 output by up to 4g/km, Nissan claims.
The engine is available with either 138bhp or 156bhp and up to 270Nm of torque. Front-wheel drive is standard on base models, while four-wheel drive is optional for the most powerful mild-hybrid. A CVT automatic with artificially stepped ratios is also on offer.
The biggest change, though, comes in the form of an all new hybrid unit, called ‘e-Power’. It uses a variable compression ratio 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine with an electric motor that delivers a total o
f 184bhp and 330Nm of torque. The new system is front-wheel-drive only.
However, it differs from hybrid systems used in cars like the Toyota Prius because the combustion unit never drives the wheels directly. Instead, it acts as a generator, providing charge to a small battery, which then sends energy to the electric motor.
According to Nissan, this gives the e-Power unit characteristics we’ve come to expect from fully electric vehicles, such as instant torque delivery and seamless acceleration. Official emissions and economy figures are to be confirmed, but it should make this variant the most fuel-efficient model in the lineup.
Just like the Nissan Leaf, the Qashqai e-Power will be capable of one pedal driving. However, all-electric zero emissions running will be limited to around one mile only.
The latest Qashqai rides on an updated version of its predecessor’s CMF-C architecture. Nissan has used more high-strength steel, optimised the chassis’s bonding techniques and designed a reshaped floor structure to make the platform stronger and more rigid than ever.
Despite this, the body-in-white is 60kg lighter than before, while further weight has been saved thanks to an aluminium bonnet, doors and front wings, plus a composite boot lid. The wheelbase has grown by 20mm, helping boost room inside, while Nissan says that the suspension layout has also been redesigned.
At the front there’s an updated MacPherson strut set-up, while models equipped with four-wheel drive or those that ride on 20-inch wheels get a multi-link set up at the back. The rest of the range uses a torsion beam arrangement. Revisions to the steering setup aim to improve precision and increase feel around the straight-ahead.
Nissan Qashqai: improved practicality and safety
The growth in size of the platform has helped boost the level of flexibility on offer – all-important for a family SUV. Focus has gone into increasing the impression of width inside, helped by the way the dash cuts into the door trim. However, that feeling is also thanks to a physically wider cabin, which has given front occupants an extra 28mm of shoulder room.
Practicality has improved elsewhere, too. The Qashqai’s boot space has grown to 504 litres, which is 74 litres more than the previous model offered, and close to the 520-litre Skoda Karoq. The two-piece false floor is reversible with a wipe clean side, while extra lighting and a 12-volt socket make the space more usable than on the outgoing car.
The door cubbies are larger than with its predecessor, the cup-holders have been repositioned so that they don’t get in the way of gearchanges, and Nissan says that a new wireless charging pad can charge a smartphone device faster than similar setups in any of its rivals. Access to the back seats is made easier thanks to doors that now open up to 85 degrees, which could prove useful if you’ll be strapping children into their child seats.
The latest Qashqai benefits from a range of new and updated driver assistance systems. Nissan’s ProPilot semi-autonomous adaptive cruise control has been enhanced for the latest Qashqai and can adapt to road conditions, such as speed limit data provided through a link to the sat-nav.
The blind spot warning system can now intervene and make a steering input so you don’t move into traffic in an adjacent lane, while the car can automatically brake if the driver reverses towards oncoming vehicles. There’s also the usual level of tech when it comes to autonomous emergency braking.
Q&A with Matthew Weaver
Vice President, Nissan Design Europe
Q: It must be tricky designing a car that’s as popular as the Qashqai. How do you decide what must change and what details should be carried over?
A: I think we’ve hit on a golden zone with the new Qashqai. People need to recognise that it’s a Qashqai straight away, as Qashqai has become a household name. But at Nissan we try to push quite hard and evolve the segment. We have 20 competitors in Europe in this segment, so for the design we wanted quite a big jump from the current generation – I think we’ve done that, yet we’ve kept that DNA.
We have certain things around the car so that you can identify; the V-Motion grille, which from the first model to now has slowly become more of a priority. With the Qashqai it’s always the silhouette that is key. The previous car was just the right size so we didn’t completely change that for this car, it didn’t grow massively or become a much harder outline. Particularly the rear screen and the A pillars are very ‘Qashqai.’
The package is very similar so we’ve got a good stance.
Q: You’ve changed the C-pillar design quite a bit from previous models. What was the aim there?
A: We’ve got a two-tone roof, firstly, and the thing with a two-tone is that you don’t want masking lines. So we use the quarterlights or the panel splits, and we’ve gone super flush with really tight panel gaps. The two-tone is good for lowering the gravity of a car [making it look lower], so it takes a sporty shape and lowers the gravity a bit more without compromising head room.
Q: From side-on the boot lid looks almost like it’s angled backwards. Is that to boost boot space?
A: It’s a few things. The sloping window detail is very much Qashqai, as is the angle to the screen to the badge. It’s also good for aerodynamics, and of course we wanted to increase boot capacity.
So overall, without expanding the car too much we’ve found space. And it actually stretches the cabin, so if you look from the side, the car looks a bit faster, so we’re trying to get this very dynamic look to the car.
Q: It’s obvious that the interior is completely different from the previous one. What was your aim inside?
A: We wanted to give an uplifting feeling to the interior. It is wider overall, but actually with the new instrument panel we wanted to emphasise this width, so the chrome strip you see across the dash really pulls your eyes out to the door. We wanted to pull it super wide.
The heating controls are quite slim, and you’ve got the nine-inch screen on the top. And we’ve tried to use more wrapping on the doors, so everything feels like it’s upshifted in spec.
We’ve got the 12-inch TFT digital display as well. We’ve also got ambient lighting, around the gearshift there’s a chrome trim and there’s ambient lighting through there. There’s a precision to it – rather than just having loads of light flooding in, it’s just these really nice pin stripes – I really like that because it’s subtle.
Q: And there’s been a focus on improving practicality, too…
Nissan is always right on that, we have to make things look as good as we can make it, but it also has to all work.
The steering wheel is new to Qashqai, and it will be going across the Nissan range, so that will be rolled out onto other models at life cycle updates.
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