It is hard to believe that the most popular segment in South Africa’s automotive market (and many other countries for that matter) is only 14 years old. With abundant offerings in luxurious and affordable packages, the compact crossover SUV market is a booming industry that all brands want a piece of. However, it wouldn’t be in its existing form if it wasn’t for the pioneering first generation Nissan Qashqai, credited to have created this segment when its blueprint was originally drawn up in 2006.
Now, Nissan has unveiled the third iteration of the original trendsetter to a global audience. The new generation is claimed to be an evolution of both of its predecessors, building on what Nissan’s customers claimed they loved most about the popular SUV.
Its exterior is bold with a visually striking front grille tying in the ‘boomerang headlamps’ which wrap slightly around the top corners of the bonnet to create an illusion of added width. Its prominent shoulder lines conjoin the front to the rear, while the rear retains a familiar Qashqai design language. It is also now available in 20” alloy wheels while the bodywork can be finished-off in a selection of two tone colour combinations.
The interior appears to be a massive improvement over its predecessor, through the simplification of tools and a particular emphasis placed on the drivers ease of use. The clean, minimal interior has focused on presenting a driver with the least distraction during driving as possible. Filled with other tech, the Qashqai features a modifiable 10.8” adaptive display (HUD), 12” configurable drivers screen and 9” infotainment display in the center console. In car wifi, multi-USB charging and wireless charging are other available options.
One of the key features Nissan has incorporated into the new Qashqai is spaciousness, and while the boot will have a volumetric capacity of 504 liters, they claim that there is more head, knee and shoulder space available for occupants. This may be due to the fact that all overall dimensions of this car have increased, with an extended wheelbase of 20mm and a 25mm height raise.
Nissans newly developed e-Power powertrain system will feature in the Qashqai – which incorporates constant electric motor drive for instantaneous acceleration while being connected to an evolved 1.3 liter turbo-petrol motor offering 103kW and 240Nm mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. There is also another option with increased power ratings at 116kW and 260Nm which is coupled to Nissan’s Xtronic CVT gearbox.
While the order books for the new Qashqai have opened across Europe, South Africa can anticipate the arrival of the trailblazing SUV towards the final quarter of 2021, with the local specification and pricing to follow in due course. With 3 million car sales since its inception in Europe alone, it is likely the new Qashqai will follow suit!
Nissan’s new Qashqai has big shoes to fill!