- Europe’s best-selling crossover gets a fresh new look
- Upgrades lead by feedback from over 2 million customers
- New range topping Tekna+ trim level
- Available to order from July 2017
- ProPILOT autonomous driving technology will follow later in the year
THE Nissan Qashqai is immensely popular for a few excellent reasons – for a start it pioneered the crossover segment of the market and the first one in usually proves popular.
But the main appeal has always been the combination of SUV practicality with the driving characteristics and running costs of a regular hatchback. Always a winning combination for tax conscious company car drivers.
That must be why Nissan has paid special attention to the thoughts of the 2.3 million Qashqai drivers across Europe when it came time to update their best-selling urban crossover. Geese and golden eggs spring to mind.
This latest version of the Qashqai goes on sale from next month and Nissan has been inspired by the insight of existing drivers to focus the upgrades in four areas; design, quality, technology, and performance.
So, that will be the whole car then?
The most dramatic change is the contemporary new look Nissan has chosen to name “Premium Dynamism”. No, we don’t know either but the name is less important than the end result. The end result being different but still recognisably Qashqai.
The front has been completely revised with a new bumper and grille configuration, new headlamps, and new bonnet. The rear also sports a new bumper design with a more contemporary shape and premium feel.
Lots of the new design touches are smaller but add to the overall impression of quality. Little things, like ensuring the parking sensors sit flush with the bumpers rather than being slightly raised, don’t sound like much on their own but taken as a whole they make a difference.
Nissan engineers have also been fettling away beneath the car to improve ride quality, reduce body motion, and improve the steering. Tweaks to the dampers and thicker steering shafts are rarely interesting but if they do the job it is time well spent.
The Qashqai range has also been extended with a new flagship grade, Tekna+, sitting above the existing trim levels. Opt for this version and you get new premium electric seats in black nappa leather, a BOSE eight-speaker audio system, and satin silver trim finishes.
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If not, even the entry-level Visia comes with air-conditioning, DAB radio, Bluetooth, and cruise control as standard. Move up through the trim levels and you add automatic lights – an LED option is also available – and windscreen wipers, privacy glass, and the like.
Nissan will also introduce ProPILOT to the new Qashqai, a system described as the ‘first stage of the brand’s journey to autonomous driving’.
It uses the Lane Keep Assist, Intelligent Cruise Control, and Traffic Jam Pilot systems to monitor the position of the car, allowing the ProPILOT to control steering, acceleration, and braking in a single lane in both heavy traffic and high-speed cruising. More details are due when the system goes live later this year.
All these improvements to the design and quality are great but the real selling point will still be economy. Nissan has updated the look and feel without losing sight of the reason why the Qashqai is so popular in the first place. Under the shiny new bonnet very little has changed.
There is a choice of four engines, two transmissions, and either two or four wheel drive.
The most economical combination is the 110bhp 1.5-litre diesel engine with six-speed manual transmission and two wheel drive. Drivers can expect to see around 74mpg and emissions of just 99g/km which will make sure the Qashqai remains a very tempting proposition for company car drivers.
There is a more powerful 130bhp diesel engine that can be combined with either the manual transmission in two or four wheel mode, or the automatic CVT transmission in two wheel drive. There are also two petrol options in the shape of a 115bhp 1.2-litre unit or a 1.6-litre option with 163bhp.
Just to put that into some kind of context. While the most economical option is the one we mentioned above, even if you go completely nuts and choose the least economical 1.6-litre petrol engine you will still get around 48mpg and 134g/km. Yes, it will cost more in terms of company car tax and running costs but by no stretch of the imagination are these unacceptable figures.
The Nissan Qashqai is popular because it gives people what they want in an affordable package. The new version hasn’t changed this one iota, it has just been wrapped in prettier paper and tied with a ribbon rather than sticky tape.
Now, if only we could get Nissan to change the name to something that is easier to type…