Nissan takes wraps off all-new Qashqai, which boasts a more premium feel, improved efficiency and a sportier silhouette
Mark Tisshaw
7 November 2013

The second-generation Nissan Qashqai, the model that defined the family crossover segment in its best-selling first-generation, has been officially revealed.

Designed in London, engineered in Cranfield and Barcelona and built in Sunderland, the new Qashqai will reach UK showrooms in February armed with a smart new exterior look, more fuel-efficient engines, and, perhaps most significantly, a much higher quality, more premium interior.

Despite the significant increase in quality and equipment levels, prices are set to start from only marginally above the £16,895 of today’s base model. Plush range-topping versions are set to cost around £27,000.

The first-generation Qashqai, built in Nissan’s Sunderland plant in the north east of England, has been the most successful model in Nissan Europe’s history, selling around 1.5m units in Europe since 2007 and 2m units worldwide.

“The first car had to make a real ‘wow’ when people saw it,” said Stewart Callegari, Nissan Europe’s product planning chief. “It needed a big impact, and it has done that. With the second generation, we’ve already made the segment and are the market leader. So rather than make one big wow with the car, we took a more mature approach and made a lot of improvements in small areas to appeal to a wider range of European customers.”

With the new Qashqai, Nissan’s main areas of focus were “enhancing the level of technology and design” and “improving the dynamic performance, while maintaining the package, price and size of the current car”, according to Callegari.

The new Qashqai broadly shares its proportions with its predecessor, growing slightly in length and width, but dropping slightly in height. The new car has a much sportier silhouette, but interior space is improved over the previous model. 

“We were tempted to do radical again but more sensible to do what we’ve done,” said Darryl Scriven, the lead exterior designer of the car. “We have a huge customer base and have a responsibility to them - if we did radical we’d leave other brands to collect the successful elements we leave behind and our customers.”

More distinctive front and rear ends feature on the evolved look of the new car, along with more sculpted body sides. Front-end features include Nissan’s latest V-shaped grille, wraparound front headlights and a clamshell bonnet, while at the rear there’s an evolved version of Nissan’s ‘Boomerang’ rear lights.

It’s inside where the biggest improvement over the previous Qashqai lies. Higher quality, more premium materials are used in an interior that gets a completely new look.

“We had to improve on the premium element,” said Paul Ray, the interior design leader on the project. “Understanding all the products out there, they’ve caught us up and we want to lead again.”

The new Qashqai is the first European model to be based on the firm's Common Alliance Platform. By 2020, 11 Renault and 3 Nissan cars will be based on platform which will be produced in factories in 10 countries.

Top-spec models get leather and Alcantara trim to emphasise this premium feel of the new crossover, but the improvements extend to a greater use of soft-touch materials right down to the bottom of the range. The five-seat interior is also made more functional, with improved storage space and room for passengers, plus a bigger, more accessible boot.

Among the standard specification is expected to be air-conditioning, 16in alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, and stop-start on all the engines.

The launch engine range includes a base 113bhp 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol with 50.4mpg economy and CO2 emissions of 129g/km, a 108bhp 1.5-litre dCi turbodiesel returning 74.3mpg and 99g/km, and a 128bhp 1.6-litre dCi turbodiesel rated at 64.2mpg and 115g/km.

Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive offered on the 1.6 dCi. All-wheel drive models also get multi-link rear suspension, front-drivers get twist beam rear suspension. MacPherson struts are used for the front suspension.

A six-speed manual gearbox is standard on all engines, with a CVT auto’ offered on the 1.6 dCi. Nissan is calling this CVT Xtronic.

“The new CVT gearbox aims to mix CVT smoothness with DCT connection,” according to Nissan engineer Mark Fowler. “We want to eliminate the rubber band feeling and noise under heavier throttle load, deliver a more connected feel, while maintaining the smoothness. There’s a ‘step shift’ feel to the shifts, like a normal auto’. We think we’ve really moved on the technology here.”

On the dynamic front, Nissan claims agility has been improved, while comfort has been retained. “We don’t want to make the best-handling car, we want to make one that appeals to the widest demographic by feeling more secure, more comfortable and more confident,” said Callegari.

A new Chassis Control system features, derived from the GT-R and said to give the function of a limited-slip differential. An Active Ride Control system is said to boost ride comfort. The equipment and technology levels on the Qashqai have also been significantly increased.

The Nissan Connect 2 infotainment system is offered, which includes sat-nav and a full suite of connectivity options. A whole host of safety technology is offered under the Nissan Safety Shield banner, including traffic sign recognition, automatic braking, moving object detection for parking, and park assist.

The seven-seat Qashqai +2 has been dropped from the range, effectively replaced by the new X-Trail, but Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn confirmed Nissan plans to launch a further five crossovers in the next 18 months.

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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Comments
28

7 November 2013
should have been a bit more forward looking , think they played the safe card looks too similar to the ix35

7 November 2013
[quote=Ski Kid]should have been a bit more forward looking , think they played the safe card looks too similar to the ix35[/quote] +1

7 November 2013
Cannot imagine a 1.2 in this car at all. Think this is downsizing taken too far. Yes it has similar power to the current 1.6 petrol but I honestly think the 1.6 would be more economical. Looks like my wife will get a last of the line old model as we only do 6k miles a year so a diesel is pointless. This is a nice car - and liek the look of it inside and out - but will have to wait and see what the 1.2 turbo is like.

7 November 2013
...if it goes as well as the 1.2 TSI in the Skoda Yeti. I owned one for two years and it had plenty of pull and still averaged 42mpg. I have been looking forward to the launch of the new Qashqai. Not initially overwhelmed although I may get more enthusiastic the more I see and read. Not altogether sure that it looks better than the quite stylish model it is replacing. Disappointed to read that it is a little lower; people often buy these cars for the higher driving position. We'll see...

7 November 2013
What other engine options are coming? None of those mentioned look remotely appealing in something this size. And even if the UK fleet buyer is happy, overseas where they sell most of these, places like Russia, they want Petrol power. I cant see them buying a 1.2 even with a turbo

7 November 2013
A 1.6 DIG-T turbo with 150hp will be joining the range in Summer 2014, to replace the old 2.0 petrol unit

7 November 2013
No mention of 4 wheel drives? Its looks more compact, the boot was always a bit small for my needs and other peoples The +2 solved this as it wasn't the extra seats people wanted just the boot space. I even tried to source one of these once but a 4 wheel drive +2 was clearly so desirable they usually sold before you could get barely a sniff of one. Gave up as it would have required too much running around. I don't think Nissan's assumption that buyers will just go for an X-Trial which is likely to be considerably more expensive. More likely they will just go for an IX35/Sportage or such.

7 November 2013
[quote=The Apprentice]No mention of 4 wheel drives?[/quote] If you read the above it does state: [quote=Autocar]Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive offered on the 1.6 dCi. All-wheel drive models also get multi-link rear suspension, front-drivers get twist beam rear suspension.[/quote] Hardly a big deal made about it in the Autocar article though. The ALL-MODE 4x4-i versions will be available with either manual or CVT gearboxes; something Autocar fail to mention also. Nissan have played it safe with the new Qashqai, but the sheer number of them sold suggests they'd be wise to rock the boat too much. Hopefully the new 'premium' feel will help improve the residual values on the used market; something the first-gen has struggled with.

7 November 2013
[quote=EngageSportMode][quote=The Apprentice]No mention of 4 wheel drives?[/quote] If you read the above it does state: [quote=Autocar]Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive offered on the 1.6 dCi. All-wheel drive models also get multi-link rear suspension, front-drivers get twist beam rear suspension.[/quote] Hardly a big deal made about it in the Autocar article though. The ALL-MODE 4x4-i versions will be available with either manual or CVT gearboxes; something Autocar fail to mention also. Nissan have played it safe with the new Qashqai, but the sheer number of them sold suggests they'd be wise to rock the boat too much. Hopefully the new 'premium' feel will help improve the residual values on the used market; something the first-gen has struggled with.[/quote] Doubt whether a so-called premium feel will do much for residuals, the fact that you could buy or lease the old one for pennies did the damage.

7 November 2013
This is a very safe offering from Nissan, they've lost their nerve in a range that offers the Juke - like it or love it, at least it's different. Some of the bodywork looks surprisingly like Japanese manufacturing of old, like Subaru have loaned Nissan their body presses! The back end looks like the Mitsubishi ASX which is more common here on Irish soil. At least Renault might be able to knock something more interesting our of their equivalent Megane SUV.

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