Test Drive: The New Nissan Qashqai
Ian Lamming assesses the brand new Nissan Qashqai
DO you remember life before crossovers? Me neither but then it was more than 14 years ago.
Back then we had saloons, sports cars and hatchbacks – and a smattering of 4x4s which were utilitarian and agricultural.
Then Nissan came along and invented the sports utility vehicle, or crossover, to replace the humble hatchback and we thought they had gone mad. Well, they hadn’t and every single manufacturer you can think of followed suit and made a fortune in the process.
The very first was strange for another reason namely its lack of ‘u’ following ‘q’ and to this day Qashqai continues to offend those who know their English language.
So 14 years after creating the crossover segment, third generation Qashqai continues to cock a snoop at the pedants and is back boasting a completely new design, inside and out, innovative technologies and electrified powertrains.
It’s an important vehicle on many fronts. Firstly, it is made in the UK – despite Brexit, phew that was close! – and so it keeps lovely northerners in a well-paid job and the huge supply chain going that feeds into the Nissan Sunderland factory (still the most efficient in Europe, if you are listening, Europe). Secondly, it represents a significant export for the newly pronounced independent GB. That should help Rishi balance the books then.
The market can’t fail to like the new look, even those who hate the spelling, with groovy lights at the front, funky ones at the rear, muscular proportions and massive 20-inch alloy wheels.
There are more colours than ever before, even two tone, to help new Qashqai stand out from the million other vehicles who copied its SUV mantle.
Inside is a technological feast and a lesson in luxury. There’s Nappa leather, massaging driver’s and passenger’s seats and customisable digital display with advanced connectivity. It’s also spacious and practical.
Under the bonnet Qashqai offers mild hybrids to enhance efficiency and the unmatched smoothness and quiet ride of an electric vehicle, while retaining the familiarity of a petrol engine.
New ProPILOT with Navi-Link technology doesn’t just keep you centred in your lane at a pre-set distance from the vehicle in front, it uses built-in TomTom® maps to anticipate bends, junctions, off ramps and more, and adjusts accordingly for a smarter, more relaxing drive.
The head-up display maintains your focus on the road by providing an image projection onto the windscreen, enabling drivers to access key navigation, driver assistance and road information without taking their eyes off the horizontal.
Its fully electronic 12.3 inch TFT multi-information screen offers a choice of configurable layouts to display navigation, entertainment, traffic or vehicle information.
Tech-wise it also offers effortless integration for your smartphones, in-car WiFi for up to seven devices and NissanConnect Services, a dedicated app with which to interact with and monitor the vehicle.
It is strange to think that in 2007, when the Qashqai was first introduced, there was nothing else like it on the road. Today there is, stacks of it in fact, but the latest variant should be more than up to the job of competing with them all.
Engine: 1.3 litre turbo petrol hybrid
Power: 138 or 156HP
Top speed: TBA
Combined miles per gallon: TBA
Transmission: six-speed manual or automatic 2WD and 4WD
CO2 g/km: TBA
Price: Expected to be from around £25,000