New Nissan Qashqai for 2021: The SUV which is much beloved by the European market and is one of the most popular vehicles in the UK is to return later this year, in the form of a mild-hybrid that completely abandons the conventional diesel combustion engine, with a menagerie of changes to design, the powertrain, and the vehicle’s various systems in order to provide a more fuel efficient and environmental, yet simultaneously more comfortable and practical package. Shortly after revealing specifications, Nissan announced that it would be ceasing production of the second generation Qashqai to focus primarily on its new, third generation model, soon to be introduced onto the global stage.
In order to compete with the general trend in the SUV segment, which is developing an increasing bias towards hybrid and semi-electric vehicles, Nissan have equipped the new Qashqai, across all variants, with a 12V mild-hybrid system situated atop the CMF-C platform produced by the cooperative alliance between Nissan, Renault, and Mitsubishi. This combination is said to foster a vehicle that is lighter and stiffer, which improves both fuel efficiency and handling/dynamics, whilst enabling a more economical alternative that is further able to detach itself from traditional combustion engine vehicles, with an alleged 4 g/km deduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
The Qashqai is available with a 1.3 litre, turbo-charged, four-cylinder petrol engine that produces 138 brake horsepower, married to a lithium ion battery and a 6 speed, manual transmission gearbox. A 156 brake horsepower version is also offered that allows an optional upgrade to a four wheel drive system that is supposedly capable of directing torque to any of the rear wheels at a rate 5 times faster than its predecessor, and an automatic CVT (continuously variable transmission) gearbox that replaces the dual clutch transmission gearbox for more consistent and congruous transmission between gear ratios.
Nissan have also imported the ePower hybrid system from the Note, which has been immensely successful in the Japanese market, yet have made the electric motor and petrol engine significantly larger and more powerful than their counterparts in the Note. In the ePower system, the 1.5 litre petrol engine works in concert with the electric battery, in which its 156 bhp is used to charge said battery (meaning the ePower alternative is not a plug-in hybrid) that powers the 187 bhp electric motor that thus turns the wheels and generates 243 lb feet of torque. Not only enhance performance, as suggested by Marco Fiorvanti, Nissan’s vice president for product planning for the European market, but it will also simulate the electric vehicle driving experience that has surged in popularity in recent months.
The new Qashqai also incorporates a few other significant technological upgrades that reflect Nissan’s aspirations to ensure that the third generation boasts the latest advancements in technology to ensure it is one of the most secure and environmental SUVs on the market.
For one, it has acquired the e-Pedal system initially exclusive to the Nissan Leaf that allows the battery to be regenerated when braking during one-pedal driving. Additionally, the ProPilot system has been refined: the new Qashqai is able to automatically decelerate to 0 mph and then reaccelerate during periods of traffic that is continuously stopping and starting. The ProPilot system is also capable of autonomously maintaining lanes, reducing speed when necessary, steering the vehicle in some cases, and transitioning control to the driver when a manual reaction is required, all of which have been polished. As well as the autonomous, ProPilot software, the sensors implanted in the vehicle have also been improved and are now capable of detecting a potential collision from up to two vehicles away.
Various changes have also been made to both the interior and the exterior of the vehicle, with approximately 60 kg of weight being shed due to the more widespread use of lighter, composite materials. To maximise safety, Nissan have strived to improve the stiffness of the vehicle and thus its resistance to collisions by using 10% more high-strength steel in the CMF-C platform, in which these changes have caused a 41% increase in overall rigidity.
In terms of dimensions, the vehicle has also been noticeably enlarged, although Nissan have been determined to conserve the compact physique synonymous with a Qashqai, in which it is 32 mm longer, 35 mm wider, and 25 mm taller than the second generation Qashqai. This has had the supposed effect of significantly increasing interior room to improve mobility and comfort, whilst the boot now has a capacity of 500 litres, all with the aim of making the vehicle more practical and pleasant to be in. Furthermore, Nissan have installed a 9 inch infotainment screen as well as 12.3 inch instrument display, with more space being reserved for storage purposes and mobile devices. The car itself is compatible with Apple CarPlay and, according to Nissan, several application services one might need, and has a 15W wireless phone charger to accommodate this. There are also ambient lighting and massaging seat functions that can be applied via the infotainment screen, alongside more comfortable seats.
Therefore, the third-generation Qashqai has been produced with the intention to appeal to the masses, particularly in Europe, not only through its new mild-hybrid system, but also the notable safety and technological improvements that should make it a strong competitor on the SUV market, with speculation and possible hints that a hot version may even be a possibility.
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