This is a heavily camouflaged second-gen Nissan Qashqai caught testing in the UK.
The new Qashqai will be revealed in late 2013, and then be built at Nissan’s Sunderland plant from early 2014, offering higher quality and better efficiency than the popular but ageing current model.
What do we know about the new Nissan Qashqai’s styling?
Despite the heavy cladding on this test mule, you only have to look at Nissan’s recent SUV concept cars to get a flavour of what to expect for the new Qashqai. The Resonance concept from the 2013 Detroit motor show previewed a sporty-stanced crossover with angular, banana-shapedlight clusters front and rear.
Expect a few cues from the quirky Nissan Juke to migrate onto the larger Qashqai, too. Bulbous wheelarches, a prominent front grille with prominent Nissan badging and sharply defining creases down the flanks will give the new Qashqai a dash more showroom appeal versus the inoffensive but fairly bland look of the first-gen car.
Any surprises inside the 2014 Nissan Qashqai?
Work is needed in the cabin to bring the materials up to scratch with what buyers expect from even non-premium marques these days. From our spy pictures, it’s clear that dashes of chrome around the climate control knobs and instrument dial rings will lift the ambience, and the centre touchscreen interface looks as if it’ll grow in size from the five-inch screen offered in the outgoing car. The infotainment system will be based around smartphone-like downloadable apps stored in the car’s on-board memory.
When’s the long-wheelbase Qashqai+2 coming?
Don’t hold your breath. Nissan reputedly isn’t planning to replace the stretched seven-seater Qashqai+2, instead only offering the next version as a five-seater. Madness? Probably not. Only tooling the factory for one bodystyle cuts production cuts massively, and it means Nissan can cajole buyers into opting for the larger, pricier seven-seater X-Trail SUV (itself due to be replaced in the next 12 months).
Meanwhile, there’s the possibility that Nissan could offer a tuned, high-performance Nismo version of the next Qashqai, in the same bodykitted vein as the 197bhp Juke Nismo. Click here for CAR’s review of Nissan’s £20k oddball hot hatch.