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Nissan Qashqai 2021: range-extender EV powers Nissan’s all-new small SUV

John Law

Nissan has unveiled an all-new Qashqai, which boasts attractive styling with renewed substance to back up the sharp looks.

The 2022 Nissan Qashqai may look familiar, but it’s all-new underneath and sits on a Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance developed CMF-C platform.

When the Qashqai arrives in Australia, it will land in a hotly-contested marketplace featuring the Skoda Kamiq, Hyundai Kona and Toyota C-HR.

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The new Qashqai is longer, taller and wider to keep occupants happy.

The new small SUV has grown, with the Qashqai now 20mm longer in the wheelbase and 35mm overall, measuring 4,425mm. The Qashqai sits at 1,635mm tall (up 10mm) and is wider by 32mm (now 1,838mm).

That should improve rear-seat knee-room by 28mm, says Nissan, with headroom growing by 15mm courtesy of the higher roof.

For the calendar year of 2019, the Nissan Qashqai accounted for nearly 12 per cent of small SUV sales in Australia, while in 2020 that dropped to 7.3 per cent. The new car will be hoping to get a bigger slice of the growing segment back when it arrives.

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The Qashqai will pack two electrified powertrains in 2022.

What will power the new Nissan Qashqai?

The big news is that the new Qashqai will now be sold with two electrified powertrains. The more conventional is the 1.3-litre turbo four-cylinder which has been updated from the outgoing Qashqai with a 12-volt mild-hybrid system to meet Euro 6 emissions standards.

This engine will be offered in two states of tune in Europe, but Australia will likely only receive the more powerful. That sees 116kW of power 270Nm of torque paired with a CVT transmission sending power to either the front or all four wheels.

Nissan’s new engine will spell the end of the naturally-aspirated 106kW/200Nm two-litre engine currently powering all Australian Qashqais.

Nissan Qashqai 2022
One traditional MHEV powertrain with 116kW of power will be offered.

More adventurous buyers will be offered the choice of a range-extender style EV with Nissan’s E-Power drivetrain. 

Similar to that found in the new Honda HR-V or a Holden Volt, this powertrain employs a 1.5-litre petrol engine as a generator to keep a small lithium-ion battery charged. Nissan quotes power at 140kW, making this the quicker of the two powertrains for the all-new Qashqai.

This means owners won’t need to take lengthy stops to top-up the battery but can benefit from consistently low fuel consumption figures. Nissan has not claimed a consumption figure for the Qashqai E-Power yet, however.

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Nissan is also offering a range-extender style EV powertrain.

Gianluca De Ficchy, chairman of Nissan in the Europe and Oceania region, said of the new powertrain, “We feel that customers will fall in love with the feeling of an electric powertrain, without the range concerns“. 

How has Nissan updated the Qashqai’s design? 

Nissan has re-styled the Qashqai with a new ‘V-motion’ grille reminiscent of the updated Rogue/X-Trail. There are new matrix LED headlights, which look very sharp.

At the rear, the Qashqai sits squatter than before and looks notably less awkward, no doubt helped by the large 20-inch alloys that fill out the wheel arches.

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A new ‘V motion’ grille features, but this is still a Qashqai in proportion.

However, in proportion, the new car is still very much a Qashqai, retaining its predecessor’s rounded shapes, but the detailing is nearly sharp enough to be a concept car.

As you would expect in this segment, customisation is present with a contrast roof offered to customers, with 16 exterior colour combinations possible.

Nissan says the cabin of the Qashqai has moved upmarket, and the up-spec model pictured boasts quilted leather seats and more contemporary design.

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Comfortable quilted leather seats will feature in upper-spec grades, a highlight in any Nissan SUV.

Practicality should still be a strong point with a European eye cast over the boot details. Nissan will incorporate clever boot storage and modularity into the new Qashqai, similar to the outgoing Ti grade’s divider system.

What kind of technology is the Qashqai packing?

Tech has been brought up to date inside the Qashqai with a nine-inch touchscreen featuring alongside a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display, 10.8-inch head-up display and navigation with 3D satellite mapping.

More clever features including in-car wifi for up to seven devices, Google assistant/Alexa compatibility with end-of-trip services, wired Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay, remote horn and light operation and a find-my-car function which will be handy in multi-storey carparks.

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Inside the new Qashqai is much more contemporary with clever technology.

With the new platform comes updated safety features, including the new Propilot system, which uses the navigation software to smooth out adaptive cruise control functionality. This includes slowing down for bends on the highway and automatically adjusting the speed for hazards like roadworks and dangerous sections.

The usual safety systems including blind-spot monitoring, AEB with side and reverse functionality, rear cross-traffic alert and central airbag feature.

Underpinned by a new alliance-sourced CMF-C platform, the new Qashqai ditches the old torsion beam rear axle favouring a more sophisticated McPherson strut setup. There is also a whole new steering system that is said to be sharper and more natural in feel.

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A heavily reworked ProPilot system will make highway driving easier than in Qashqais gone before.

Australian details of the new Qashqai will be revealed closer to the car’s launch.