Nissan all-new Qashqai breaks cover
Prototypes of the all-new model are racking up the testing kilometres on European roads in anticipation of it again resetting what customers can expect from a compact crossover when it goes on sale in 2021.
The all-new Qashqai will build on its position as the pioneer of and benchmark in the medium-crossover segment in Europe since 2007. Underpinning the new Qashqai is the new Alliance CMF-C platform, a showcase of advanced engineering, innovation and advanced technology.
The current Qashqai, which went on-sale in Europe in 2014, has sold over one million units since its introduction.
“The new Qashqai is going to change what customers can expect from a family car. Comfort, refinement and technology will be from higher categories of car, while the driving experience will satisfy drivers and passengers alike. With Nissan’s bold e-POWER technology, we feel that customers will fall in love with the feeling of an electric powertrain, without the range concerns,” said Gianluca de Ficchy, Chairman, Nissan Africa, Middle East, India, Europe and Oceania (AMIEO) Region.
For this new iteration, Nissan has retained the guiding principles that have driven the concept, design and development of the two previous generations of Qashqai: elegant design, enhanced packaging and efficient powertrain, combined with elevated quality and a driving experience from a higher segment. The new Qashqai will again raise the bar in the crossover segment and customers will savour those attributes.
Like its predecessors, the styling of the new Qashqai was led by the team at Nissan Design Europe, based in central London (UK), while its engineering was led by Nissan Technical Centre Europe, situated in Cranfield, Bedfordshire (UK).
The new Qashqai is the first new model in Europe to use the CMF-C platform, which represents a state-of-the-art automotive structure and technology architecture.
Central to the engineering concept was to retain the current Qashqai’s proportions, which are “just right” and key in its success, meaning it comfortably navigates urban roads and fits comfortably in parking spaces, while also giving excellent interior space.
In terms of construction, the body in white makes use of more lightweight material, as well as advanced stamping and welding techniques to increase strength but to also reduce weight. For the first time, the rear hatchback door on the Qashqai is now made of a composite material, which saves 2.6kg.
The new CMF-C platform boasts torsional rigidity of vehicles from a higher segment, allowing the suspension to remain precisely located, ensuring positive and confidence-inspiring responses to steering inputs and a more solid feel when driving on rough roads.
In 2007, when the Qashqai was introduced there was nothing else like it on the road.
Its seating position was a little higher, allowing a better view down the road, but its overall footprint was the same as its C-segment hatchback peers. Its petrol and diesel engine options were frugal and efficient, but there was an all-wheel drive version for those customers who needed the extra traction in challenging conditions. In summary, it offered an excellent balance between the compact dimensions of a hatchback, with the sense of robustness and elevated view afforded by a traditional four-wheel drive, without the size, weight or efficiency penalty. In doing so, it delivered the best of both worlds by breaking down the barriers to SUV ownership.
Forecasting sales of a new vehicle which wasn’t a direct replacement of an existing model and for which there were no direct competitors was a challenge. Overall, the internal sales estimates were in the region of 100,000 units per year in Europe.
The estimates fell short of the reality. Within months, an additional shift was added at Nissan’s factory in Sunderland, UK, to meet demand.
Its sales continued to increase year on year – and its appeal was extended when the Qashqai+2 was released in 2008, adding a foldable third row of seats in a larger trunk thanks to its longer wheelbase.
An extensive facelift took place in 2010 which upgraded the exterior, particularly from the frontal aspect, reflecting that a high proportion of Qashqai customers were coming from upper segments. By the time of its replacement in 2014 by the second generation Qashqai, 17 direct competitors had followed Nissan to market with their own crossovers.
Despite the arrival of many European competitors, the first generation Qashqai sold in excess of 200,000 units per year on average throughout its life.
The second generation Qashqai went on sale in Europe in 2014, with a more striking design and more efficient engines, more refinement and more convenient technology. The second generation Qashqai broke a UK record, being the fastest UK-produced vehicle to reach the landmark of 500,000 units produced.
To date, over 3m units of Qashqai have been sold in Europe – and over 5m globally.
There are now 26 direct competitors to the current Qashqai. Where Qashqai was the pioneer of this automotive formula, it is now a segment in its own right – a segment which continues to grow annually. When it arrives in 2021, the all-new Qashqai will elevate the bar again and set the standard in the segment with striking design, comfort, refinement, efficiency and convenient technology.