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Nissan Qashqai compact crossover
Hatchback? SUV? A blend of both (2)

Nissan Qashqai compact crossover: front side view.

Urban Nomad... Nissan Qashqai is named after an Iranian tribe.

15 September 2006.

Named after a desert-dwelling nomadic tribe living near the Zagros mountains in South Western Iran, Nissan’s new Qashqai (pronounced Kash-Kai) is meant to combine two entities: ‘Urban Nomad’. Urban during the week, and nomad in week-end adventure.

Work on Qashqai began in 2003, with the development of a show car that broke cover at the 2004 Geneva Motor Show. Although different from the concept in a number of areas, the production version of Qashqai retains its core crossover rationale.

Nissan Qashqai compact crossover: top view of all seats.

Seats are sculpted in both front and rear.

Inside, Qashqai’s major and minor controls have been wrapped around the driver, who is separated from the front seat passenger by an unusually high centre console. Incorporating a cutaway section on the driver’s side for the handbrake, the centre console also houses twin cup holders and a storage box with integrated sliding armrest. Just behind the short-throw gear lever comes the All-Mode four-wheel drive switch.

Seats are sculpted in both front and rear. The front ones have side bolsters with a high foam density. The rear ones, which fold on a 60/40 split, offer optimum comfort for two, although Qashqai is a full five seater with three point safety belts for all occupants.

Nissan Qashqai compact crossover: driver position.

Electric power steering checks speed inputs every 40 milliseconds.

With the rear seats folded, the load floor is flat from tailgate to the back of the front seats (in cars with a full size spare wheel) or virtually flat when a space saver spare is specified. 

With minimal intrusion from the fully independent multi-link rear suspension components, the maximum width in the trunk is 1100mm while the loading height is 778mm.

There is no need to remove the head restraints before folding the rear seat.

The cargo space with the rear tonneau cover in place is 387 litres (306 litres with a full size spare).

Available as an option for the four-wheel drive versions, the panoramic glass roof  is1037mm by 880mm, covering both rows of seats. It is made from laminated privacy glass, which filters out damaging UV rays and reduce sunlight heat in the cabin. A one-touch electrically operated sunshade can add further protection from the sun.

Suspension - The front suspension features a sub-frame mounted strut-type system with combined coil-over-strut assemblies and a forward lower link. The sub-frame has compliant rubber mounts to isolate road noise and vibration from the platform. A front anti-roll bar is attached directly to the strut assembly for more effective control of body roll under cornering, while high performance Sachs shock absorbers maintain road-manners.

Nissan Qashqai compact crossover: centre console.

The sat nav package includes a colour rear parking camera.

At the rear, a fully independent multi-link suspension is adopted for precise handling and high-speed stability. Attached to the vehicle via a rigid rear subframe to keep unwanted noise and vibrations to a minimum, the compact assembly features an aluminium rear upper link to reduce weight: the saving is in the region of 4kg. The rear shock absorbers are tilted to minimise intrusion into the trunk area.

Wheels and tyres - Depending on the version, Qashqai is equipped with 16 inch steel or alloy wheels shod with 215/65R16 tyres or 17 inch broad spoke alloys with unusual ball shaped bolt surrounds. The 17 inch wheel has 215/60R 17 tyres.

Electric power steering -An electric power steering (EPS) system offers greater assistance at lower speeds with more steering feel provided as speeds rise. It checks speed inputs every 40 milliseconds and is speed sensitive to 0.01 km/h. It is tuned specifically for European tastes to give a strong self-centering action at lower engine speeds for easier town driving and greater feel at higher speeds.

Braking - Standard all round discs brakes come with anti-lock (ABS), Brake Assist (maintains maximum deceleration during an emergency stop) and Electronic Brake Force Distribution. EBD constantly alters the front - rear balance to achieve optimum brake performance, automatically compensating for differing load conditions.

All-Mode 4x4 - Developed by Nissan, Qashqai’s four-wheel drive system - the All-Mode 4x4 - uses electronics to handle all traction needs.

Unlike some automatic four-wheel drive systems with dual hydraulic pumps, All-Mode uses advanced electronics to transfer drive between wheels and axles the instant a problem arises.

Under normal conditions, Qashqai operates in front-wheel drive to reduce energy losses and save on fuel. As soon as wheel slippage is detected, a centre clutch in the rear final drive is electronically activated and drive is correctly apportioned between front and rear axles.

Nissan Qashqai compact crossover: all-wheel-drive button.

All-Mode four-wheel drive switch: 2WD (front-wheels), Auto and Lock.

Three drive mode settings - The All-Mode 4x4 system has three modes, selected via a switch on the centre console. In 2WD, the system is permanently set in front-wheel drive, for fine weather on-road use. With the Lock position, the system switches to permanent four-wheel drive mode with drive split 57:43 front to rear.

Auto is normally the most often used mode: the system is left to its own devices. Sensors linking the engine’s ECU with the four-wheel drive and ABS controller constantly monitor wheel slippage and automatically send signals to the electromagnetic centre clutch mounted just ahead of the rear axle to apportion torque correctly.

Left in Auto, the system will automatically compensate for unexpected slippery conditions on-road.

Electronic systems - The All-Mode 4x4 is linked to Bosch’s 8th generation Electronic Stability Programme (ESP). Using sensors linked to the brakes, steering, wheels and the body itself, ESP constantly monitors the way the car is being driven.

Nissan Qashqai compact crossover: front seats.

A high centre console between the driver and the front passenger.

From the steering angle and wheel speeds, ESP calculates what manoeuvres the driver intends to perform and, with signals sent from the yaw-rate and lateral acceleration sensors, it recognises whether the vehicle might skid off course. In an emergency, ESP reacts by selectively applying the brakes at each wheel, helping to bring the vehicle back to the desired direction.

Among the other electronic control systems in the Qashqai are cornering brake control (CBC) and EUC, which stands for enhanced understeer control. In the latter case, the system applies the brakes to all four wheels to reduce excessive understeer. Finally, hydraulic fade compensation (HFC) prevents brake fade after a period of heavy brake usage.

Engines - Of the four engines available to power Qashqai, the two petrol units are Nissan designs while both common rail diesels have been developed by Alliance partner Renault.

1.6 Petrol Engine - The entry-level petrol engine was originally developed for the recently released Micra SR and Note. An all-aluminium unit displacing 1598cc, power and torque have increased slightly for its new application to 115PS (84kW) and 160Nm of torque, with an improvement of 5PS and 7Nm.

Some 25kg lighter than Nissan’s previous 1.6-litre petrol unit, this engine has four valves per cylinder, variable valve timing, multi-point port injection and vane-type continuous intake cam phasing.

Nissan Qashqai compact crossover: rear seat.

The optional panoramic glass roof  covers both rows of seats.

2.0 Petrol Engine - Almost as compact as the 1.6 engine, the 2.0-litre petrol unit is a new lightweight engine that currently powers the Japanese market Lafesta. All-aluminium with 16 valves, it displaces 1997cc and develops 140PS (103kW) and 200Nm of torque. Some 90 per cent of that torque is available from 2000rpm.

1.5 Diesel Engine  - Since diesel is accounting for a growing proportion of sales in the C-segment, Qashqai has two diesel offerings. Both dCi units have second-generation common rail direct injection for improved performance, refinement and emissions.

The entry-level diesel uses the most powerful version of Renault’s 16 valve 1.5 dCi (K9K) engine developing 106PS (78kW) and 240Nm of torque. It features a flexible flywheel to filter out the effects of acyclic movements. Specifically developed to comply with Euro 4 legislation the engine has a lowered compression ratio (16:1) and a variable geometry, multi-blade turbocharger.

2.0-litre Diesel Engine - The 2.0 dCi is a brand new engine fitted with a Bosch piezoelectric-controlled injection system to develop 150PS (110kW) and 320Nm of torque. Piezoelectric technology gives very precise and fast control allowing a ‘five squirt’ injection cycle: two pre-squirts, one main squirt and two post-squirts.

Nissan Qashqai compact crossover: boot / trunk view.

Cargo space of 387 litres before folding the 60/40 split rear seats.

The pre-squirts improve engine acoustics by minimizing the characteristic diesel clatter. The post-squirts sustain the main injection combustion, to burn off soot and thus bring down pollutant emissions before the exhaust gases have even left the combustion chamber.

Exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) produces a controlled temperature rise in the combustion chamber to reduce pollutant emission levels (NOx) and thus enhance the engine’s overall environment performance, ensuring its compliance with Euro 4 legislation.

The 2.0 dCi is equipped as standard with a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) with a periodic regeneration system. When the particulates that have been collected from the engine emissions reach a specified level, the engine runs a process called thermal regeneration, performing a second post-injection to overheat the exhaust gas. Above a certain temperature, the soot in the filter oxidizes off, and the filter can continue trapping particulates.

With its aluminium bedplate, the bottom of the engine is designed for higher efficiency and improved vibration absorption, with twin counter rotating balancer shafts to cancel crankshaft rotary vibration.

Gearboxes - The 1.5 dCi drives the front wheels through a new six-speed manual transmission. Two-wheel drive versions of the 2.0dCi also use the six-speed manual, while the four-wheel drive version offers a choice between the six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions.

The CVT option is a computer controlled ‘stepless’ transmission providing a virtually limitless number of ratios, ensuring the engine is always working as efficiently as possible, resulting in smoother acceleration as well as better fuel economy and lower emissions.

Nissan Qashqai compact crossover: technical specifications.

On a long uphill drive, a conventional automatic can hesitate with regular down shifts, as the engine hunts for power. With CVT, the engine revs stay constant as the transmission itself adjusts seamlessly to ensure momentum is maintained. CVT also ensures less power loss, resulting in better efficiency and acceleration.

For sporty driving, the CVT system has a manual override. Operated via the central gear stick, six set ratios can be accessed manually by nudging the lever forward or back, motorcycle style.

Hands-free with Bluetooth - Every Qashqai with a factory fitted audio system has standard Bluetooth integration for hands-free use of a mobile. A microphone is installed near the interior rear view mirror to improve voice quality while incoming calls are automatically heard over the car’s sound system, which mutes the audio source for the duration of the call.

Incoming caller ID is displayed on the audio read-out and the system has an internal phone book which can store up to 40 numbers. Once set up, a mobile phone can stay in a pocket or handbag and its presence will be automatically discovered once the car’s ignition is turned on, boosting convenience and safety.

Navigation display - The top communications package incorporates satellite navigation. The system, first seen in the Pathfinder SUV, provides map coverage of 26 countries across Europe, including Poland, Slovenia, the Canary Islands, Croatia and Hungary.

The fixed seven-inch display benefits from improved graphics, with split guidance displays showing both maps and overhead views of junctions. The system also has voice recognition in a total of seven languages.

When sat nav is specified, the package comes complete with a colour rear parking camera. The display includes static guidelines allowing precise parking every time. The six disc CD player will also play MP3 discs.

Nissan Qashqai compact crossover: night view.

Qashqai: Sunderland gets a potential 400,000 total production for 2007.

Safety - Active safety equipment includes anti-lock brakes (ABS) with brake assist (BAS) and electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD) while electronic stability programme (ESP) and (depending on versions) All-Mode 4x4 adjust traction in tricky conditions.

Passive safety equipment starts with six airbags standard on all models. As well as dual stage driver and front passenger airbags, there are thorax side airbags mounted in the front seats and full-length curtain airbags on both sides giving extra protection for all occupants in a side impact.

Options - Principal options include the Intelligent Key, electric folding mirrors, leather upholstery, Xenon headlamps, cruise control, 6CD changer, ESP, navigation and reversing camera.

Production - When Qashqai production starts in Sunderland this December, Qashqai will become the third new model in 16 months to be manufactured at NMUK.

Nissan and the UK Government signed an agreement to build the plant in 1984, and by 1999 it was acknowledged as Britain’s biggest car plant – a position it has held every year since.

In 1986, the first car for commercial sale – a Nissan Bluebird – rolled off the production line.

Exports began in 1988 with around one in every four cars produced destined for overseas. In 1990, exports accounted for 85 per cent of total production. Today around 250,000 of the 315,000 cars built annually – nearly eight out of every ten – are exported.

In 1990, the Bluebird was replaced by the original Primera and in 1992 the milestone half-millionth car was built. At the same time the plant in Sunderland opened a second production line, for the then current Micra.

By 1995, Sunderland had built one million cars and one million engines while five years later a third model, Almera, was added.

In 2003, the year in which Sunderland built a record 331,924 vehicles, NMUK was identified as the most productive plant in Europe for the seventh successive year. Last year, a total of 315,297 vehicles were built by a force of approximately 4,400 workers. During the year, the four millionth car rolled off the lines and... the three millionth for export.

Representing a total investment to date of more than €3 billion, NMUK has been the UK’s biggest car exporter for six years and accounts for 20 per cent of the country’s total car production. It is estimated that Nissan’s decision to locate in Sunderland generated more than 20,000 jobs in the UK’s North East regions in the vehicle manufacturing, component supply and service industries.

Qashqai’s introduction will complete one of the busiest periods in the plant’s history, giving Sunderland the potential to produce a total of 400,000 cars in 2007.


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