Australian buyers will soon be spoiled for choice with a new high-tech, fuel-guzzling SUV heading Down Under very soon.
Nissan will challenge Toyota’s dominance in the hybrid vehicle market later this year with the launch of a gasoline-electric version of the Qashqai small SUV.
The Qashqai will take on Toyota’s upcoming Corolla Cross Hybrid and existing C-HR Hybrid when it arrives Down Under.
He will do it with another type of hybrid.
While Toyota’s “parallel” hybrids combine engine and electric motor power to turn their wheels, Nissan uses a “series” configuration, where the wheels are driven only by the electric motor. The gasoline engine simply serves as a generator to develop electricity for the engine. A small battery pack supplements this with energy captured from the vehicle’s regenerative braking setup. The output power is healthy 140 kW.
The hybrid engine will be offered alongside a conventional 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine developing 110 kW / 250 Nm and paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission.
The new Qashqai is 32mm wider and 35mm longer than before, with 20mm more distance between the front and rear wheels to improve cabin space. Towing capacity increased from 300 kg to 1500 kg.
The most expensive Qashqai model, the Ti, has a high-tech feel thanks to two 12.3-inch digital screens – one on the dashboard and the other in front of the driver – and a 10 .8 inches projected onto the windshield displaying satnav speed and directions.
Four model grades will be available at launch. The cheapest ST model has smaller digital screens, but creature comforts include push-button start, digital radio, smartphone mirroring and individual air vents for the rear seats. Standard safety equipment includes a center airbag to prevent the driver and passenger from hitting their heads in the event of a collision, as well as adaptive cruise control, rear cross traffic alert and blind spot detection.
The ST+ adds fog lights, 18-inch enables, the larger 12.3-inch center screen, satellite navigation and wireless Apple CarPlay.
From there, the ST-L adds more safety tech, heated leather seats and wireless phone charging, while the Ti gets a head-up display, a larger digital screen for the driver, quilted leather, hands-free tailgate and 10-speaker Bose. audio system.
The Qashqai will arrive in the last quarter of this year, although Nissan Australia managing director Adam Paterson says initial supply of the hybrid version will be limited due to demand from Europe, where the brand must comply with strict CO2 emission standards.
“We’ll have more access to petrol than hybrid at the start, so if you look at…this calendar year, it’s not going to be indicative of customer demand. It’s going to be much more limited from a of e-Power than we would like it to be for this calendar year,” he says.
Pricing is expected to be announced next month.