Concept points to Qashqai's baby brother, destined for Sunderland
3 March 2009

This is the Nissan Qazana, a concept crossover that is likely to influence the smaller brother to the Qashqai when it's turned into a production car at the firm's Sunderland factory in late 2010.

The Qazana is relatively compact; at 4060mm in length, it's around 30cm shorter than a Ford Focus hatchback, but 8cm taller. Its styling is dominated by a four-headlamp set-up at the front (including daytime running lights that are flared into the top of the front wings), a high waistline and a stubby tail that takes cues from the recently launched 370Z, in particular its L-shaped tail-lights.

The concept features plenty of tricks that are unlikely to make it into production - it lacks B-pillars, for example, while all of its doors are electrically operated and it sits on 20in wheels that wouldn't do much for ride quality on urban roads - but Nissan says that its design ethos of 'SUV meets sports coupe' will influence the production crossover, a key car for the Sunderland plant.

The Qazana concept does have four-wheel drive, and it's possible that the production car will be offered with it as an option. It also has a torque vectoring system to split torque between individual wheels, and unusually generous ground clearance for a car in its class.

To improve airflow over and through the car, the main air intake for the engine is not through the upper grille, but through the lower black plastic insert which has large round holes in it.

Alfonso Albaisa, vice-president of Nissan Design Europe, said, “Qazana might seem a radical solution but important elements of the concept do point to a future Nissan production vehicle."

Matt Weaver, the car's project lead designer at NDE in London, said, "Qazana is a hugely optimistic car, which is no bad thing in these difficult times. Had it been created in the 1960s it would have counted camper vans, bikes and buggies as its rivals. Infused with that same spirit, there’s nothing quite like it available today.”

Our Verdict

Nissan Qashqai 2007-2014

The Nissan Qashqai is short on cabin flexibility next to newer rivals but offers a comfortable, fuss-free drive

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