Autos

Posh yet practical, hybrid and hi-tech…Nissan’s Qashqai will remain No1 SUV


WE all love a bit of Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond.

For 50-odd years, it has been the good-times anthem played at weddings, festivals and sporting events — and it still will be 50 years from now.

Exclusive pictures of the next-gen Qashqai

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Exclusive pictures of the next-gen Qashqai

One of the greatest songs of all-time?

Ask a music buff and they’d probably sneer at it, because it is not Bob Dylan or some unsigned genius on a new social media platform no one has ever heard of.

But in terms of making millions of people happy, it is right up there.

For Nissan designer and diamond geezer Matt Weaver, the Qashqai is his Sweet Caroline. His greatest hit.

For Nissan designer Matt Weaver, the Qashqai is his greatest hit

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For Nissan designer Matt Weaver, the Qashqai is his greatest hit

You’d think car designers only dream of creating one-metre-high supercars but Weaver is proud to have invented the crossover with Qashqai back in 2007 and it is now a household name.

The people’s car.

He said: “It’s funny you mention supercar because Qashqai is our super car. It does so many things for everyone.

“I love seeing it in car parks and on the highway, seeing who’s using it and how it’s aging.

“I think, as a designer, that’s the best thing.

“We make something as a team and then you see it being used, really used — three million of them across Europe so far, five million globally — and it’s a privilege to see them being enjoyed and relied on by families everywhere.”

‘RELIED ON BY FAMILIES’

Today, I can finally show you the next-gen Qashqai — Weaver’s third album if you like — and I reckon you’ll warm to it instantly.

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Fresh new look, plush cabin, all the tech and safety systems you need, combined with efficient hybrid engines sat on a lighter, stronger chassis.

And it’s more roomy too. Prices from £23k when it hits showrooms early summer.

Weaver said: “This is what Nissan is good at. We are great democratisers. We have taken the best of everything we know and elevated it.

“The drivetrains. The technologies. The crisp and clean design.

The new Qashqai is more roomy with massaging seats

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The new Qashqai is more roomy with massaging seats

“We have tried to go above and beyond with the quality of the interior and yet we have kept it within our core customer area.” 

He’s talking about head-up display, which is a first for Nissan, and other luxuries like massaging seats, wifi for seven devices and digital screens.

Intelligent cruise control reads speed signs and slows automatically.

The fit and finish is much tighter too with higher-quality materials and lots of soft-touch wrapped surfaces.

Boot space is up 50 litres at 504 litres, there’s more head and knee room in the back, and the rear doors open wider to 85 degrees, making life much easier for parents. Other little details that please include the reversible boot floor — one side carpet, one side wipe-clean plastic — the 12v port for a cooler box, and bigger door pockets for 1.5-litre bottles.

The plush cabin comes complete with all the tech and safety systems you need

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The plush cabin comes complete with all the tech and safety systems you need

As for engines, you have two to choose from. The first is a 1.3-litre petrol combined with a 12v mild hybrid system that adds a smidge of extra torque and lowers CO2.

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You can have that in manual or auto, 2WD or 4WD.

But the big news is the e-Power system, which uses a 1.5-litre petrol to charge the battery pack and an electric motor to drive the wheels.

The result being, instant acceleration of an electric car without range anxiety. And no faffing about with a plug.

Now let’s finish with a few words about Qashqai’s sharp new suit.

‘WE PUSHED OURSELVES’

It has a fresh new look and efficient hybrid engines

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It has a fresh new look and efficient hybrid engines

Weaver said: “When we develop a new car we have to project ten years into the future and make sure it is still relevant by that time.

“We love stance, great proportions and cool design and we pushed ourselves to minimise the surface noise and distill it and that will keep it fresh.

“The last one has aged well, it’s still selling well, and this one takes the story on. It delivers something higher than your expectations. 

“It is the new standard. The new norm.”

It has Bose speakers too. So it’s perfect for a family sing-song.

Hands, touching hands, reaching out . . . 

QASHQAI 1

Launched: 2007

Price: £13,500

'We have conceived, engineered and produced each iteration of Qashqai in Britain', Weaver says

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‘We have conceived, engineered and produced each iteration of Qashqai in Britain’, Weaver says

WEAVER says: “It was our eureka moment and very much set the tone. Car up rather than SUV down. We coined it the urban crossover because it was influenced by our surroundings in London. We have conceived, engineered and produced each iteration of Qashqai in Britain, so it really runs in our blood.”

247,000 UK SALES

QASHQAI 2

Launched: 2014

Price: £17,500

'It’s just the right size for the customer and socially,' Weaver goes on

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‘It’s just the right size for the customer and socially,’ Weaver goes on

WEAVER says: “Again, very wheel-arch orientated and very robust. Had this tough lower and fast cabin. Yet still practical and spacious. That’s a hallmark of Qashqai. We say it’s just the right size. Just the right size for the customer and socially the right size. We didn’t want a car that is overbearing on the road.”

373,000 UK SALES

QASHQAI 3

Launched: 2021

Price: £23k

'The design is very crisp and sharp and we tried to capture some of the new technologies,' Weaver adds

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‘The design is very crisp and sharp and we tried to capture some of the new technologies,’ Weaver adds

WEAVER says: “The world has changed. Qashqai has lots of competitors and we want to keep that leading edge. Actually, we call it cutting-edge because the design is very crisp and sharp and we tried to capture some of the new technologies like e-Power. It is more sporty and dynamic, yet more practical.

Nissan Qashqai’s electric future revealed in concept car at Geneva Motor Show

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