The second-generation Nissan Qashqai has been unveiled at last – detailing a new crossover that promises a higher-quality cabin, expanded practicality and a more efficient, all-turbocharged engine line-up.
Qashqai has been a hugely popular model for the Japanese brand, especially in Europe that accounted for 1.5 of its 2 million global sales. And Nissan Australia has already confirmed it will use that name rather than the Dualis nameplate it has been using for the original when the Qashqai arrives in the third quarter of 2014.
The new Nissan Qashqai sits on a new platform shared with Renault and is 49mm longer, 20mm wider and 15mm lower than the outgoing model. It features a similar shape but there's a sharper and more stylish execution of the details, including the wraparound headlight and grille section, creased sides, and clamshell bonnet.
Nissan says it has freed up more cabin space, including an extra 10mm of head room. SUV-like elevated seating has also been retained.
Cabin design and quality is more significant, however, for a vehicle that has been lacklustre in this department. Nissan says it has invested in higher-grade materials and the photos certainly suggest a more premium look for the Qashqai's interior.
Boot space increases by 20 litres to 450L, the tailgate opens higher, the parcel shelf can be stored, and the Nissan Qashqai also features reversible cargo floors.
Useful technology available includes front collision avoidance, driver attention support, traffic sign recognition, and semi-automatic parking system.
The Nissan Qashqai also features the NissanConnect smartphone connectivity set-up for various audio, phone and social media uses.
The more affordable models are front-wheel drive, and only the all-wheel-drive models - called All-Mode 4x4-i - feature a multi-link rear suspension instead of the cheaper, less sophisticated torsion beam arrangements of the standard Qashqais.
Transmissions are again a choice of six-speed manual or X-tronic continuously variable auto. These mate to a selection of four Renault-Nissan alliance engines comprising two turbo petrols and two turbo diesels.
The most noteworthy for fuel consumption is the 1.5-litre diesel that has an official figure of 3.8 litres per 100km, emitting less than 100 grams of CO2 per kilometre (99g/km). Nissan says it has refined the carry-over engine and boosted torque by 20Nm.
A 96kW 1.6-litre turbo diesel uses 4.4L/100km in 2WD form or 4.6L/100km with AWD.
The entry-level petrol is a 1.2-litre turbo known from models such as the Renault Clio. It replaces the outgoing model's 1.6-litre and produces 85kW of power and 190Nm of torque. Fuel use is rated at 5.6L/100km.
The most powerful engine that will become available for the Nissan Qashqai has the same official fuel consumption as the 1.2-litre, though the 1.6-litre turbo has outputs of 110kW and 240Nm that Nissan says delivers excellent in-gear acceleration.
Nissan says performance and fuel economy are also helped by the shedding of up to 40kg on some models.
The Nissan Qashqai +2 has been dropped from the line-up, with the twinned next-generation Nissan X-Trail taking up the seven-seater role in the family.