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No more diesels for Nissan's popular family SUV

Nissan Qashqai SUV Review Video
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At a glance

New price £29,055 - £31,575
Lease from new From £422 p/m View lease deals
Used price £22,515 - £26,730
Used monthly cost From £562 per month
Fuel Economy 42.9 - 43.4 mpg
New

PROS

  • Good looking
  • Much-improved tech
  • More room than old model

CONS

  • No more diesel models
  • No plug-in hybrid... yet
  • Only available with front-wheel drive

Nissan Qashqai SUV rivals

Volkswagen
Tiguan
4.4 out of 5 4.4

Written by Murray Scullion on

The 2021 Nissan Qashqai has been unveiled and under its fresh new styling is a whole host of tech to bring it bang up to-date. The big-selling family SUV now boasts an all-new e-Power hybrid system, new gearbox options and not a diesel engine in sight.

Full UK pricing and trim structures are yet to be announced, but it should kick off at around £29,000 for the Premiere edition. Nissan has revealed that there will be no diesels on offer, and it will be built in its Sunderland plant in the north east of England.

Although the original Qashqai arguably created this class of family-sized crossover SUVs, the opposition has well and truly caught up and overtaken it. So the new one has a mountain to climb if it's to beat the best of the rest including the SEAT Ateca, Renault Kadjar, Skoda Karoq, Ford Kuga and the bestselling Volkswagen Tiguan.

Upgraded looks: more of the same

Nissan Qashqai (2021) front view

Nissan is acutely aware of not changing the formula too much - it doesn't want to scare off existing buyers with something too radical looking. So, it's smart and modern, but also carries over plenty of styling cues from the outgoing model.

The front is the most heavily revised section. The lights sit much higher up and are much sharper, not dissimilar to the Nissan Juke. The side profile is much the same, with different coloured roofs on offer for more expensive cars. 20-inch alloy wheels are new for the Qashqai range, too.

Interestingly, the proportional changes aren't just for practicality-sake. Peter Brown tells us that the changes are also to make the car look lower and wider and more befitting of something a bit sportier.

What about the interior?

The interior is a step up. Behind the steering wheel will be a fully customisable TFT screen, plus, a head up display. There's a new 9.0-inch infotainment system too, with wireless Apple CarPlay, Google street view, and the option of Amazon Alexa.

Front seat passengers will also be treated to massaging seats - a first for the segment according to Nissan. The quality of the plastics, admittedly in a top-spec car we've sat in, feel much plusher than the outgoing model too.

There are some low-tech improvements in the interior too. There's now 28mm more shoulder space between the front passengers, 20mm more knee room for rear seat passengers, bigger cupholders, and bigger storage space for phones compared with the outgoing model. Physical heating controls, too.

 

Technology

An upgrade to Nissan's ProPilot semi-autonomous car tech is the biggest thing to write about here. The system can now slow down to 0mph in stop-start traffic, and resume driving once the car in front moves. Software changes mean the steering system should be smoother and less jerky.

It will also be able to adjust the car's speed based on the speed limit by reading road signs and communicating with the car's inbuilt sat-nav.

Blind-spots have been thought about too - the car can intervene and prevent you from changing lane if there is a vehicle in the blind-spot on the motorway. While there's a new 'flank protection' system, which alerts the driver of a risk of contact with something in the blind spot at low speeds - for instance, a bollard in a supermarket.

These latest systems will be available from the mid-spec N-Connecta grades. There's also an adaptive headlight system that alters the shape of its beam depending on road condition and road users. For instance, it can partially deactivate small sections of the light in order not to dazzle oncoming traffic.

All cars will get LED headlights, but only upper spec cars will get this technology. Propilot will be available on N Connecta spec models. This spec makes up around 50% of UK cars. Even base model Qashqais will get intelligent cruise control.

More practical, Nissan says

The Qashqai is Nissan's bestseller in Europe, so it's only fitting that it's the first car to receive Nissan's new platform. This new architecture allows many differences compared with the old car - one of the most important being how practical it is.

The new car is 32mm longer and 35mm wider than the old model, resulting in more room for passengers. The boot is now more than 50 litres larger too, so expect it to measure in at least 480-litres worth of space. Interestingly, both petrol and hybrid cars will have the same amount of usable space.

A powered tailgate will be available, while the popular Flexible Luggage Board System from the outgoing Qashqai remains. This means the boot floor is height adjustable - good for fitting in tall objects. While the parcel shelf can fit underneath the boot floor too.

Engine options: not a diesel in sight

There are two methods of propulsion, neither of which is a diesel. The most exciting drivetrain is Nissan's new e-Power system, which rolls out in 2022. This is essentially a range-extender hybrid, where the engine acts as a generator to charge the battery pack, which then drives an electric motor that drives the wheels.

Nissan says this is a highly efficient set-up that will offer owners a driving experience akin to that of an electric car, with instant throttle response and silent take off from rest. No official mpg figures yet, but power output is rated at 188hp and it's only available with front-wheel drive.

Until that goes on sale, the range will be exclusively powered by a 1.3-litre petrol engine with mild-hybrid assistanceVice President of Product Planning for Nissan, Marco Fioravanti says: 'We won’t be using a 48v in the mild-hybrid. A bigger battery means more weight. We’ve decided to go with very compact mild hybrid tech. Our mild hybrid tech is better than competitors with 48v technology.'

CO2 emissions haven't been published yet, but we can confirm that it'll come in the following configurations:

  • 138hp manual two-wheel drive 
  •  155hp manual two-wheel drive 
  •  155hp CVT (automatic) two-wheel drive 
  •  155hp CVT (automatic) four-wheel drive

The observant among you will have noticed that the automatic gearbox has changed. The current Qashqai uses a DCT, while the new one will use a CVT.

Nissan Europe's deputy director of passenger car vehicle evaluation, Peter Brown, says: 'We looked at customer feedback and neither the CVT or DCT was perfect. This new CVT will be the best of both worlds - offering a relaxed smooth seamless drive at low speed, but enough grunt at high speeds.

'There are variable numbers of gears with a CVT depending on speed and amount of demand, not just the standard seven or eight.'

What about other variants?

Do you remember the Qashqai +2? The seven-seat model was made between 2008 and 2014. Well, we won't be getting a repeat of that. If you want a seven-seat Nissan SUV, you'll need to go with the X-Trail.

Nissan bosses have hinted at a fast Qashqai, but we won't know further details about that for quite some time.

We'll be among the first to drive the new Qashqai, but until then, here's what we think of it so far...

Nissan Qashqai SUV rivals

Volkswagen
Tiguan
4.4 out of 5 4.4

Other Nissan Qashqai models: