Nissan has finally peeled back the camouflage on its all-new Qashqai, debuting the small SUV to the world with official details on its new third generation.
Completely redesigned on a new platform dubbed CMF-C, the Qashqai’s underpinnings increase the wheelbase by 20mm and overall length by 35mm. It is also 32mm wider, to help visually balance a 25mm height increase.
Its look is familiar. Even Nissan says the new Qashqai is a more muscular, sharp and modern take on “unmistakable” styling, which it developed in its UK design studio.
As such, its signature chrome V-motion grille returns, the beltline still climbs towards the rear, the head- and tail-lights wrap around like before, while plastic wheel arches return under a similar rear-raked silhouette.
Now, however, a larger V-motion grille features a secondary chrome pinstripe. And as we’ve already seen, the new Qashqai features LED headlights split in a V-style with boomerang-style daytime running lights. Higher grades also score LED turn signalling.
Another first for the Qashqai includes optional 20-inch wheels finished in a diamond-cut design, complementing more angular character lines.
More rounded surfaces also feature on both front and rear bumpers, while there’s also a ‘floating’ roof design above black-finished body pillars.
A black roof is available with four of the 11 body colours, alongside a gun metal roof on black cars.
Stepping up, inside
Like its stablemates, the Qashqai sports a standalone tablet-style infotainment screen, measuring 9.0 inches, loaded with smartphone mirroring and in-car Wi-Fi.
A new 12.3-inch LCD cluster debuts behind a new steering wheel, capable of displaying all driving information on top of a “Kiriko” cut glass background graphic.
Other technology includes a new 10.8-inch head-up display that can shows navigation and road information, while USB-A and USB-C charging ports are placed within the centre console box.
Nissan says rear occupants now enjoy 28mm extra knee room while headroom has grown 15mm. Drivers, meanwhile, are claimed to look through a wider opening angle on the windscreen.
Safety has been overhauled with the new Qashqai finally welcoming AEB, smart cruise control and autonomous stop-start driving, all within ProPilot driver assistance which adds a full suite of active safety technology.
There’s also a central airbag upfront to keep front occupants apart during a crash.
Performance and handling
Driving the new Qashqai are a range of electrified powertrains, kicking off with a 12-volt mild-hybrid system complementing a carried over – and updated – 1.3-litre petrol engine offered with a six-speed manual.
Depending on the model, front-wheel-drive Qashqai variants can have the 1.3-litre petrol engine with either a 103kW/240Nm or 116kW/260Nm tune.
Four-wheel drive or CVT automatic-equipped variants are only available with a higher 116kW/270Nm output grade.
Above this is Nissan’s range-extender hybrid variant, using what it calls E-Power technology. Based on a 1.5-litre petrol engine, it exclusively charges a battery which then powers a 140kW/330Nm electric motor providing drive.
To balance the added weight from these new battery-based powertrains, Nissan has invested heavily into light-weighting its platform and has shaved 60kg from the Qashqai's body-in-white.
Nissan’s previously outlined front-wheel-drive cars will score MacPherson strut front suspension and a torsion beam rear.
Meanwhile, all-wheel-drive cars score a more advanced multi-link setup up back, promising better handling and improved ride.
When is it coming here?
It's too early for Nissan to share Australian market details, with the car debuting only in Europe for now.
However, given deliveries in Europe are slated for mid-2021, we understand Australia might not receive the updated Qashqai until next year in 2022.