Fresh Metal: New Nissan Qashqai

Calvin Fisher attended the virtual launch of the all-new 3rd Gen Nissan Qashqai Premiere Edition

The Nissan Qashqai is an important compact SUV, allow me to explain. While the compact SUV has been around for decades, most notable examples such as the Suzuki Vitara and Toyota RAV4, it was during the launch of the original Qashqai in the mid-2000s that the segment truly exploded as the crossover. Fast forward to today and the third-gen model debuts at a time when crossovers are the staple diet of a hungry consumer population. Does the new car have what it takes to stand tall in the crowd?

In short, absolutely. Stylists have taken a chisel to the aesthetic for a Samurai-sword sharp body-style, dominant radiator grille and dynamic front (Matrix LED) and rear lamp clusters. In a world where every car is slowly being rendered into a gravel traveler (hello, Kia Picanto X-Line), the Qashqai has the looks to get noticed. Add to that strong horizontal lines fore and aft and it exudes a go-anywhere, roll-over anything stance with some serious kerbside presence. Add to that the option of a two-tone colour palette and the new car will appeal to those craving something a bit more bespoke.

Driving it will be a 1.3l Turbo petrol engine with an optional (Europe only) 12V mild-hybrid powertrain with a lithium-ion battery. It will come in 102kW and 115kW iterations. There’ll also be an ‘e-Power’ version, a world-first instance where the petrol engine will serve as a dedicated electricity generator. Manual and automatic options will also be available.

Underpinning it you’ll find the latest CMF-C platform born from the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. At each corner lives 20-inch alloys and the body that sits perched on them will be lighter than before thanks to clever composite materials. The suspension is typical McPherson struts upfront, torsion at the rear on front-wheel-drive models while the all-wheel-drive versions get multi-links at the back.

Hope aboard and there’s a 12.3 inch touchscreen to greet you, plus a 10.8 inch heads-up display projected on the windscreen. Lesser versions get a 9-inch display but Android Auto and Apple Carplay are available across the board. Also available? Four USB ports for charging and syncing and whatever – that’s enough, right?

The new Nissan Qashqai Premiere Edition (that’s the name of the launch car) will hit Mzansi roads later this year so watch this space for pricing and spec closer to the time. “The Premiere Edition Qashqai is a compelling package. Those first customers of the new Qashqai will be turning heads wherever they drive the new Premiere Edition model and we are confident it will more than live up to their expectations,” said Arnaud Charpentier, Vice President, Product Marketing, Nissan Automotive Europe.

The Nissan Qashqai is synonymous with the term ‘crossover’, so it’s great to see a new ‘fighting-fit’ version compete in a segment it helped create.

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