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First look: Nissan vital new Qashqai

Vital addition: Nissan has already announced it will use the Qashqai badge in Australia from next year, and here’s the car that will wear it.

Nissan premieres new Qashqai crossover, will replace Dualis in Oz from Q3, 2014


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8 Nov 2013

THE countdown is over for the reveal of Nissan’s second-generation Qashqai (née Dualis) crossover, a car the company calls the “most significant” in its modern history.

Launched overnight in London where it was designed, and in relative proximity to the Sunderland plant that produces it, the new model longer and lower than before and features similar curvaceous styling to its recently-revealed new-generation X-Trail big brother.

It will arrive in Australia around mid-2014, sporting the global Qashqai moniker this time rather than the axed Dualis badge worn by the current model, and armed with a range of new, small-capacity turbocharged engines matched to either six-speed manual or CVT auto transmissions, and a more upmarket cabin design.

These new powertrains include an 85kW/190Nm 1.2-litre turbo-petrol (used by Renault in the Captur) with fuel consumption of 5.6 litres per 100km. The top petrol unit is now a 110kW/240Nm DIG-T 1.6 turbo, with the same fuel economy figure as the 1.2.

On the diesel front, there’s an 81kW 1.5-litre dCi unit that uses just 3.8L/100km (or 99 grams of CO2 per kilometre) and a 96kW 1.6 dCi engine that uses as little as 4.4L/100km. Nissan Australia has not yet announced which engines we will get, though expect both 1.6-litre engines to make the cut, and perhaps the 1.2 petrol as well.

In seven years of sale, the outgoing Qashqai/Dualis model became something of a trendsetter in the burgeoning small crossover SUV segment, with more than 2 million sold worldwide. Since 2012, the UK plant has been running 24 hours per day, seven days a week to keep up.

It has also been one of Nissan Australia’s most popular models for the past few years, topping its segment in 2012 and running second this year behind the Hyundai ix35. Until the arrival of the Pulsar this year, it also served as Nissan’s best C-segment small-car option in lieu of any real sales success from the defunct Tiida.

It’s Nissan’s first European model to be based on the firm's Common Alliance Platform (shared with Renault). By 2020, 11 Renault and 3 Nissan cars will be based on the platform produced across 10 countries.

The second-generation model is 20mm wider, 49mm longer and 15mm lower than the current car, yet front and rear headroom levels have increased by 10mm and (crucially), Nissan says the raised driving position remains.

The Qashqai’s new look is defined by “powerful curves, clean lines and intricate details”, with a raised bonnet line and muscular wheel arches.

Premium LED headlights are available (not just the daytime runners, but the entire headlight). The curvy design and features such as active grille shutters cut the aero rating to 0.32 Cd.

The new five-seat cabin (the seven-seater Dualis + 2 has been axed, with the larger X-Trail to become the new family choice) features a more premium feel, with a large central interface dominating the fascia.

The new model also premieres the latest ‘NissanConnect’ system, with a seven-inch touchscreen synced with a range of apps covering music, social networking, entertainment and travel. The new NissanConnect builds upon the recently introduced Google search and Send To Car functions, which allow drivers to plan a trip at home.

The system includes Bluetooth audio streaming and mobile phone integration as well as Aux-in and USB slots along with DAB digital radio. There’s also a five-inch TFT display in the instrument panel between the gauges.

Nissan says it’s also more versatile than before, with 20 litres of extra luggage capacity (now 430L), more head, shoulder and leg-room, wider door apertures, a 150mm higher-opening tailgate, a dual-floor storage system, fully flat-folding seats with reversible floor panels (one side wipes clean) and seats supposedly developed ‘inspired’ by NASA to be as comfortable as possible on long trips.

Safety equipment includes a number of active and preventative systems such as autonomous city brakes, a system that chimes if it senses you getting tired, lane-departure warning, a blind-spot monitor, high-beam assist, robotised parking and a birds-eye camera.

Under the body, there are MacPherson struts at the front and one of two different designs at the rear. Two-wheel-drive models are equipped with a ‘twist beam’ design, while models fitted with ALL-MODE 4x4-i feature a more sophisticated multi-link system.

There are also double-piston shocks and a new variable electric power steering system with a reduced ratio (and which can be given extra weight via a new Sport mode).

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