This is the new Nissan Qashqai, which will be built in Sunderland, UK, and goes on sale in January 2014. It's priced slightly higher than the outgoing Qashqai: the range will cover a £17-28k price range.
To justify the price increase, the new Qashqai wears a sharper, more stylish body, and boasts more generous on-board kit levels across the line-up. With two million Qashqais sold worldwide since 2006, it is, in Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn's own words, ‘The most important Nissan of the decade’. No offence, GT-R.
The new Nissan Qashqai looks like a Nissan X-Trail!
Yes, and that’s no bad thing. The trademark Nissan grille with extra-large badging and lights defined by sharp LED details give the car’s nose a touch more aggressive look, emphasised by bolstered wheelarches for that critical bold SUV stance. It’s sleeker body is 49mm longer than before, plus it’s slightly wider and lower too. This isn’t a mere vanity makeover though; the new Qashqai boasts a class-best figure of 0.32Cd, thanks to active grille shutters and more sculpted rear quarters designed to smooth airflow. At the same time, more high-tensile steel has been used for the body which, combined with aluminium suspension parts, helps make the new Qashqai up to 40kg lighter than its predecessor. Result!
What's new inside the 2014 Qashqai?
As we reported in our spy shots scoop, Nissan’s mainly worked on improving perceived quality, and has done so with a larger touchscreen and more dashes of chrome rather than trying to reinvent the (steering) wheel. The cabin’s more spacious both in the front and rear, though, and extra sound deadening will bring the Qashqai's on-road refinement up to scratch, Nissan claims.
Having had our mits all over the new model already, CAR can report the interior is a big improvement versus the dowdy old cabin. Clever design touches include notches in the cubbyholes to run charging cables though, and greater centre console storage space thanks to a standard-fit electronic parking brake.
New on-board toys include moving object detection, which displays hazards near the car by highlighting them on the 360-degree round-view display. There's also collision prevention braking, which uses a radar in the nose to spot stationary traffic ahead and pull up the Qashqai, avoiding a collision. There’s tech to improve the driving experience, too, including a new dynamic chassis control set-up that brakes the Nissan’s wheels independently, even before skidding is detected. Nissan engineers claim this makes the new Qashqai not just safer, but more fun to drive.
What's under the bonnet?
It’s an all turbo, all four-cylinder line-up, with a choice of six-speed manual gearbox or CVT. The only petrol model at launch is a new 1.2-litre unit with 112bhp. A new 1.5-litre diesel is joined by a revised 1.6-litre with all-wheel drive: the former sneaks under the 99g/km CO2 barrier in manual guise. A 1.6-litre petrol engine will arrive in summer 2014.
There’s a new take on drowsiness sensors, in the form of the new Qashqai's 'driver assistance alert'. Instead of simply chiming a warning when the sensors detect tiredness, the car begins monitoring the driver from the moment the engine is started, displaying an eight-segment bar in the new 5in instrument display. As your concentration wanes, the bars start to fill, before the main alarm sounds at ‘maximum tiredness’.
Meanwhile, Nissan insiders have conformed to CAR that a hot Qashqai Nismo is in the pipeline. Stay tuned to CAR Online for details.
>> Is the new Nissan Qashqai a sure-fire cash cow, or not radical enough? Add your thoughts in the comments section below