2021 Nissan Qashqai teased, big tech leap detailed

Nissan's small SUV set to leap several rungs when it lobs halfway through 2021

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UPDATE, February 15, 2021: We're mere days away from a full reveal of the 2021 Nissan Qashqai but that hasn't stopped the Japanese car maker from releasing yet another teaser of the new small SUV.

The short clip uploaded to YouTube reveals the front and rear light clusters, shows off the 'floating' C pillar roof design and confirms that a two-tone black roof colour scheme will be available. 

This latest teaser is likely the last ahead of a global unveiling set for February 18, 2021. 

Nissan Australia is staying quiet on local timing for the new-generation Qashqai, which suggests it could be as far off as late 2021 or early 2022 – and the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic could contribute to the delay. 

As for styling, there are few surprises to be found here, thanks to clear hints that the new Qashqai’s look will follow the themes set out in 2020 with the new-gen X-Trail reveal and the worldwide debut of the new 2021 Nissan Pathfinder.

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Sharp new V-shape headlights will feature up front, styled as something of an extreme tribute to the hooked lights of the outgoing 370Z sports car.

A sharply creased character line draws down from the lights into an intake duct (which may or may not be functional) and, while not visible in these latest images, Nissan’s broad ‘V-Motion’ grille will likely dominate the front end. 

Inside, the new Qashqai will again take its cues from the bigger X-Trail and Pathfinder SUVs, with a new steering wheel, digital driver display, a short shift-by-wire gear lever set next to a drive-mode selector dial, and a large tablet-like main display in the centre of the dash.

Click our gallery at the top of this story to see more images. 

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Watch for more to come when the new Qashqai is revealed on February 18, and catch a detailed rundown of its technologies in our earlier story, below.

The story up to here

  • Full debrief on new Nissan Qashqai
  • Hybrids only - no diesel
  • Hot one may be on the way

December 18, 2020: Nissan has teased the new Qashqai ahead of its full reveal before the halfway point of 2021.

Sensibleness in the form of a new platform (CMF-C), the latest driver safety systems and hybrid engines are the big announcements for the five-seat, five-door Qashqai, which competes with cars like the Mitsubishi ASX, Hyundai Kona and Toyota CH-R.

Nissan has revealed it's attempting to cash-in on buyers who are looking for a smaller, more environmentally friendly car.

Pricing and trim levels are yet to be announced, but we can confirm that Nissan will be keeping the car's price 'competitive within the segment.'

Hybrids, no diesels

Nissan is following the likes of pretty much every manufacturer around at the moment by not offering a diesel engine.

Instead, buyers can choose from a 1.3-litre mild-hybrid and a range-extender hybrid called e-Power.

Though nothing is yet confirmed for the Aussie market, the 1.3-litre comes with two power outputs, front- or four-wheel drive, and with a CVT auto or a manual.

  •  103kW manual two-wheel drive 
  •  115kW manual two-wheel drive 
  •  115kW CVT (automatic) two-wheel drive 
  •  115kW CVT (automatic) four-wheel drive

2021 Nissan Qashqai front dynamic camouflage

We'd bet against the manuals making the trip down under, but watch this space.

The anally retentive will have noticed the auto is a CVT, whereas the current Qashqai uses a DCT in other markets.

Nissan Europe's deputy director of passenger car vehicle evaluation, Peter Brown, tells us that's because CVTs are increasingly getting better and less elastic-band like.

"We looked at customer feedback and neither the CVT or DCT was perfect. This new CVT will be the best of both worlds - offering a relaxed smooth seamless drive at low speed, but enough grunt at high speeds," he said.

"There are variable numbers of gears with a CVT depending on speed and amount of demand, not just the standard seven or eight."

The more interesting method of propulsion is Nissan's e-Power system.

Nissan remains cagey about the full details, but did say power output is rated at 115kW. It'll only be available with front-wheel drive.

Nissan's e-Power system is essentially a range-extender hybrid, meaning it offers electric driving without range anxiety.

The wheels are driven by an electric motor, while the petrol engine simply charges the battery.

Upgraded tech

Most of the Qashqai's tech upgrades are to do with safety and convenience. The most convenient of which is Nissan's semi-autonomous ProPilot system.

Improvements include: slowing down to 0km/h in stop/start traffic and resuming once traffic moves again, a smoother steering system, automatic speed limit adjustments, and intervention if the driver is about to hit something in the blind spot.

2021 Nissan Qashqai side camouflage

There's also a new intelligent headlight system that can turn off small sections of the LED headlights in order not to dazzle oncoming traffic.

Even base-spec cars will get intelligent cruise control.

Will it fit the kids?

The new architecture means the car is 32mm longer and 35mm wider than the current Qashqai. This means more room for passengers and stuff.

The boot will usefully hold another 50 litres over the current model too.

Interestingly, the proportional changes aren't just for practicality. Brown tells us that the changes are also to make the car look lower and wider, giving it a better stance.

Nissan will keep its boot floor configuration system that allows drivers to alter the boot's height and keep the parcel shelf under the boot.

Any insights on the exterior?

It's a bit sportier according to Nissan bosses. Not that you can really tell from those images.

The front looks decidedly different from the current model thanks to different lights.

To us, it looks like it's going in the same design direction of Nissan's latest Rogue (X-Trail in Australia) with its separated front light clusters.

But the rear and side profile looks very similar to the outgoing model.

Didn't you mention a hot version?

Yes, we did. Nissan Europe's vice president for product planning, Marco Fioravanti was coy but didn't shut the door.

"This is our key model in Europe and we aren't closing any doors for now," he said.

"(The car's) life cycle is long and full of surprises - we're pretty sure we'll surprise you in the future."

2021 Nissan Qashqai rear camouflage

How about the interior?

There’s a fully customisable TFT screen on offer, plus a heads-up display that’s projected onto the windscreen.

And of course, there’s a new 9.0-inch infotainment system with a list of services as long as your arm.

Biggest of the new features are wireless Apple CarPlay, Google street view, and the option of Amazon Alexa.

There is a raft of small, but important practical improvements, including 28mm more shoulder room for front seaters, 20mm more knee room for rear seaters, bigger cupholders, and a larger space for phones.

Here’s something for stat fans. Nissan reckons it’s the first in the segment to offer massage seats, while it also offers the most powerful wireless charging pads. 

Oh, and Nissan is continuing with physical heating controls.

Anything else you couldn't shoehorn into a subheading?

In order to make the car sound more premium, Nissan has teamed up with famed video game brand Bandai Namco to create the car's internal noises.

A seven-seat Qashqai has been ruled out, though, because it would interfere with the X-Trail.

While a Bose sound-system is available, it won't come with speakers in the headrests.


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Murray Scullion
Publishing Director

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