Nissan Qashqai: on the road from early
15 September 2006.
Many car enthusiasts remember
the Nissan Qashqai concept car presented at the 2004
Geneva Motor Show.
Now comes the time for the
true one, the production Qashqai (pronounced
"cash - kai") which will go on sale in
Europe from the 7th of February 2007.
Presented by Carlos Ghosn, Renault and Nissan's
President and CEO, as the new compact crossover for
Europe, the Qashqai targets the growing crossover
/ SUV oriented C-segment (lower medium in Europe,
compact in North America) market.
After the introduction in
Japan of the Nissan Lafesta, Qashqai is the first
European vehicle to be built on the Nissan/Renault
Alliance C Platform.
of a dynamic passenger car,
and lower portion with SUV
The new compact crossover
category widens an already rich offer in the
lower medium size category (Toyota Corolla, VW
Golf, Peugeot 307, Renault Megane, Ford Focus, Mazda3,
Opel Astra...), with new body styles blending
passenger car comfort with some SUV capabilities and
four-wheel driving, to a certain extend.
In fact, the C-segment is
becoming one of the most diversified passenger-car
categories, with body options that usually include 3-
and 5-door hatchback, 4-door salon/ sedan, coupe /
convertible style and 5- and / or 7-passenger compact
minivans (monospace, like Renault's Megane-based
Scenic, the VW Touran, Toyota's Corolla Verso...).
So, you want to have fun in
your lower-medium car, but not in the usual coupe /
SUV-oriented design to break away
from hatchbacks or sedans.
You prefer sports with
That's what the Qashqai
category is about: fun driving in cities as well as
without Patrol ambitions of course.
In other words, Qashqai is
more about dynamic SUV-oriented design to break
away from the traditional C-segment hatchback or
sedan, rather than a more typically styled compact SUV
such as the Nissan X-Trail or the Toyota RAV-4.
Qashqai's European genes are
British. The design was led by Nissan Design Europe
(NDE) and it represents the first new production
vehicle to be designed at NDE since its move to London
in 2003. The development programme was led by Nissan
Technical Centre Europe based in Cranfield, England,
with significant input from Nissan's engineering base
And last but not least in this
lineage, Qashqai will be produced at Nissan's factory
in Sunderland, in the North East of England. Full
production is due to start towards the end of 2006.
separation with a sporty feeling from
the raised central console.
As well as European sales, Qashqai
will also be exported to Japan (to be named there
Dualis), the Middle East and other overseas markets.
As a crossover, Qashqai has to
blend passenger car attributes with 4x4 looks and
capabilities. That's why the top half of Qashqai is
reminiscent of a dynamic passenger car, with a
distinctive shoulder line which rises at the rear,
like the Murano.
On the other hand, the lower
portion of the car suggests SUV attributes with large,
pronounced wheel arches, slightly elevated ground
clearance and a purposeful stance.
Inside, the front and passenger
environments have been designed to feel airy and
relaxing, with a clear driver / passenger
separation and a sporty feeling generated by the
deeply recessed instruments, especially with the
raised central console.
expects Qashqai to achieve for Nissan
a conquest rate of 80%.
In terms of size, Qashqai fits
between C-segment hatchbacks and SUVs. It has a
wheelbase of 2630mm, it is 1610mm tall, 1780mm wide
and 4310mm long (see the preliminary Qashqai
specifications). It is about 100mm longer than
a typical hatchback but 150mm shorter than a typical
SUV. Similarly, it is taller than rival hatchbacks by
between 100-150mm yet up to 130mm lower than an SUV.
Comparatively, its two other new
competitor compact crossovers, the Suzuki
SX4 and Fiat
Sedici come in a rather smaller body size
(4.1-metre long, with a 2.50 metre wheelbase).
Ground clearance is 200mm and the
vehicle has approach and departure angles of 19.2 deg
and 30.2 deg
better than a hatchback but, of
course, short of figures set by purpose designed 4x4s.
That's not its core mission anyway.
Four engine options will be
available: two diesel and two petrol.
The 1.6-litre petrol
offers 115PS of power and 160Nm of torque (more
details in the Qashqai
specifications page or in the Qashqai
in detail), while the 2.0-litre
produces 140PS and 200Nm. The diesel engine
options 1.5- and 2.0-litre provide 106
and 150PS and 240 and 320Nm of torque respectively.
According to engine choice, gearbox
options include a five- and six-speed manual, a new
six-speed automatic and a Continuously Variable
Transmission (CVT) option with manual mode.
Drive is basically to the front
wheel, but both 2.0-litre engine options can be
specified with Nissan's All-Mode
Speaking at the launch event last
week in Paris, Mr Ghosn trusted the Qashqai to achieve
a large conquest rate: "We expect Qashqai
will sell more than 100,000 units a year on average
across Europe with 80% of those customers buying a
Nissan for the first time. Before Qashqai, they drove
a premium C-segment car (like the VW Golf-based Audi
A3, the Mercedes-Benz B-Class or the BMW 1-Series), a
compact 4x4 or a D-segment car (upper-medium category,
midsize in North American classification)".