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2021 Nissan Qashqai: Safer, smarter SUV set to debut next year

The Qashqai is the next Nissan SUV to get a substantial redesign, with the new model adding e-Power electric technology and more active safety equipment.

2 weeks ago
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William Stopford
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The Nissan Qashqai is about to receive a substantial redesign, adding Nissan’s new e-Power technology plus a mild-hybrid system and more active safety equipment.

It’s set to be unveiled in the Northern Hemisphere’s spring next year, and CarExpert understands it’ll debut locally late next year.

Nissan Australia is also expected to offer the brand’s new e-Power system locally.

The new Qashqai uses a new version of the Alliance CMF-C platform that underpins the outgoing model.

It’ll offer two electrified powertrains in Europe: a 1.3-litre 12V mild-hybrid petrol and a model using Nissan’s e-Power system, which uses the petrol engine to charge the battery and features an electric motor sending power directly to the wheels.

Nissan has yet to release full technical specifications but it also says the current European-market Qashqai’s 1.3-litre turbo-petrol engine will be available in two power outputs.

We don’t get the turbo 1.3-litre in the current Australian-market Qashqai, Nissan Australia instead offering only a naturally-aspirated 2.0-litre.

The new Qashqai uses MacPherson struts up front but offers two different rear suspension set-ups.

Two-wheel drive models with wheels up to 19 inches use a torsion-beam rear suspension, while all-wheel drive models and those with 20-inch wheels use a multi-link rear suspension.

In the current Qashqai, a torsion-beam rear suspension is available in European-market models but all Australian models have the multi-link set-up.

Nissan claims to have improved bump absorption and road noise suppression in new models with the torsion beam, while the multi-link set-up is now mounted to the sub-frame using bushes and promises reduced noise and viration.

The company’s engineers have also tweaked the steering to add more feel and make it more responsive.

The doors, front fenders and bonnet are now made of aluminium, shaving 21kg off the car’s weight. Nissan also says the Qashqai’s structure is 60kg lighter overall and 41 per cent stiffer, while using 50 per cent more of the company’s Ultra High Strength Steel.

New technology includes active grille shutters to maximise efficiency plus optional matrix LED headlights.

Nissan is also rolling out its ProPilot driver assistance system, which includes adaptive cruise control with stop/go, lane-centring assist, traffic sign recognition, blind-spot assist and reverse autonomous emergency braking.

Spy photos have already revealed the new Qashqai will bear a strong resemblance to the new 2021 X-Trail both inside and out, including its split-level front lighting design and dashboard layout.

Like the current Qashqai and its predecessor, called the Dualis here, the new Qashqai has been designed and engineered in the UK. It’s been benchmarked and tested against not only rival SUVs, but also small hatchbacks.

The Qashqai was a surprise hit in Europe and the UK and continues to be one of the best-selling small SUVs there.

Likewise, the Qashqai is a strong seller in Australia. Last year, Nissan sold 11,653 examples, putting it behind only the Mazda CX-3, Mitsubishi ASX, Hyundai Kona and the Honda HR-V, though the latter outsold it by only 78 units.

Rivals are catching up, however. Year-to-date, it’s now also being outsold by the Kia Seltos, Mazda CX-30, Subaru XV and Toyota C-HR.


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