Say hello to the striking new Nissan Qashqai - which has not only had a design overhaul, it now comes as a fuel-saving petrol-electric hybrid.
The much-loved Qashqai helped to kick-start the whole SUV revolution in the UK when it was released back in 2008. And it’s still one of the most popular cars among lease customers.
So, how do you improve on a vehicle that’s now heading into its third generation with an army of fans following in its wake? Well, Nissan has decided that bigger, and bolder, is better.
The new Qashqai, due to arrive in dealerships before the summer, is 35mm longer, 25mm taller, and 32mm wider than the previous model.
That, according to Nissan, gives it a ‘more purposeful body stance’ with ‘prominent shoulder lines’, that makes it look altogether more commanding than the outgoing model.
Knee room for rear occupants has grown by 28mm to 608mm, with more distance created between driver and front passenger, while front and rear headroom has also been boosted by 15mm.
The front end now sports an eye-catching new ‘V-Motion grille’, flanked by slim, full LED advanced matrix headlamps with ‘boomerang signature’ daylight running lights.
It’s altogether sharper, more muscular.
And for the first time ever the Qashqai can also be equipped with larger 20-inch alloy wheels, which ‘contribute to the robustness of the car on the road’, says Nissan.
The ‘bigger’ theme extends to the cabin, too.
Because of the way the rear end has been resculpted, the boot has grown by 50 litres - up from the outgoing model’s 430 litres - to appeal even more to families. The doors are also more practical, the rears opening to 85 degrees, allowing easier access to babies and toddlers in child-seats.
And then there’s the new powertrains.
The Qashqai will be offered as either a petrol-electric mild hybrid or clever self-charging hybrid - neither of which needs to be plugged in but offer a reduction in petrol consumption and lower CO2 emissions.
The ‘1.3 DiG-T’ system marries a 1.3 litre petrol motor with a 12V mild-hybrid system, which recovers energy under deceleration to provide torque assist, extended idle stop and quick restart. This DiG-T engine will be offered with two power outputs – 138hp and 156hp - and can be had with a six-speed manual gearbox or an ‘Xtronic’ auto box.
The self-charging hybrid Qashqai, however, is something different entirely.
Called ‘e-POWER’, Nissan has borrowed bits of tech from its LEAF full-electric vehicle to create a unique way of doing things.
Here a 1.5-litre petrol engine is mated to a 145kW electric motor. But rather than the petrol engine being connected to the driven wheels - as you get with most full hybrids - the petrol engine is used to power the electric motor instead.
Nissan says that this provides all the trademark acceleration you get with a typical EV, but without the need for charging.
A Nissan spokesperson explains: “This means the engine can always run within its optimal range, leading to superior fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emissions compared with a traditional internal combustion engine. The e-POWER system offers the best transition technology between ICE and EV, allowing users to enjoy exhilarating EV driving sensations and impressive efficiency at an affordable price point.”
Inside the cabin Nissan has promised ‘elevated interior ambience’, with new mood lighting and uprated switchgear, while there’s also now a larger 9 inch NissanConnect infotainment display screen
Full details of the new Qashqai, including price and fuel economy, will be released in the coming weeks, so we’ll keep you posted