In the space of just two generations and a relatively short 14 years on sale, the Nissan Qashqai has managed to establish itself as one of the most important cars in the entire automotive world. So news of an all-new, third-generation model is certainly of the 'big' variety - and we've got the rundown on the latest version of Nissan's pioneering crossover, right here.
More than three million Qashqais have been sold in Europe since 2007 and in Ireland 50,000 motorists drive Nissan's C-segment crossover challenger. The Mk3 Qashqai will therefore be a key model in the Japanese company's drive to achieve 50 per cent electrified sales across Europe by 2024, as it will come with not only the 1.3-litre 'DIG-T' turbocharged petrol engine, which found its way into later Mk2 models from 2018 onwards, but also a new hybrid powertrain called the e-Power, in which an onboard petrol engine only generates electricity for the electric propulsion motor - the combustion unit doesn't actually drive the wheels at all.
With even the 1.3-litre DIG-T featuring 12-volt mild-hybrid architecture, this provides customers with more hybrid choice than ever before in the Qashqai range, something that Seamus Morgan, the managing director of Nissan Ireland, referenced when he said: "The new Nissan Qashqai combines the best of Nissan's pioneering crossover and EV expertise. It allows new and existing Qashqai drivers to experience hybrid and electric driving without range or charging concerns in an unmistakably stylish crossover that continues to deliver everything they would expect from a family car."
The 1.3-litre mild-hybrid will be offered in 138hp/240Nm and 156hp/260Nm states of tune. Both come with a six-speed manual gearbox, but the higher-powered derivative can also be paired to an Xtronic CVT automatic, which allows an increase in the torque of the 156hp engine to 270Nm. The Mk3 Qashqai will also come with the option of four-wheel drive, but that is reserved for the 156hp Xtronic version; if fitted, it will offer five driving modes, which are Standard, Eco, Sport, Snow and Off-Road.
For the e-Power model, a 1.5-litre petrol engine with a variable compression ratio delivers 154hp, but it sends all of its exertions to a power generator, inverter and 140kW (187hp) electric motor that's similar to the one found in the likes of the Nissan Leaf. And, like the company's full electric vehicle (EV), the Qashqai e-Power can be driven in a one-pedal fashion, with enough regenerative braking effect when lifting off the throttle to bring the vehicle to a swift and complete halt. Peak outputs for this system are 187hp and 330Nm, so this is the de facto range-topper for the updated Qashqai line-up.
Inspired by the Juke
Visually, the Qashqai Mk3 has some obvious influences. From the rear three-quarters, it looks very much like the old Mk2 model, only slightly smoothed-off and more creased in places. This is not a bad thing, because the new Nissan crossover is very stylish as a result. It is therefore up front where the major change has taken place, as the Qashqai now adopts the sleeker family face premiered by the smaller Juke Mk2, which gives it real purpose and presence. There's also, for the first time, the choice of having 20-inch alloy wheels fitted to the crossover. Overall, the third-gen Qashqai is not going to put buyers off in the showroom, that's for sure.
Inside, visibility is said to be improved and the Mk3 Qashqai has a longer wheelbase than the Mk2, which means there's more room for passengers in the rear - with the back doors opening by up to 90 degrees to make ingress and egress as simple as possible - and the boot space has gone up by 50 litres compared to the old model, too. This is accessed by a powered tailgate as standard. Up front, there's an updated and significantly sharper infotainment system plus heavily digital interface. So, besides the nine-inch touchscreen, which contains the navigation, onboard entertainment and more, there's a 12.3-inch TFT instrument cluster on the Qashqai, while a 10.8-inch head-up display is the biggest in this segment.
Irish pricing for the new Qashqai will be confirmed in the summer, though apparently the order book is open now for a special Premiere Edition with a high specification and two-tone paint finish. Go to www.nissan.ie for more.