Next Nissan Qashqai

16 May, 2012 7:00am Jack Rix

The second-generation Nissan Qashqai will target the Audi Q3, and our exclusive images show how it could look

After the runaway success of the current car, it’s time for the Nissan Qashqai’s ‘difficult’ second album. In 2007, the British designed and built model invented the compact crossover class. Since then, over 160,000 have been sold (including the Qashqai+2) in the UK – but an all-new version is now on the way and we’ve got the full story.

Nissan’s focus this time will be on more style and better quality in a bid to outgun rivals such as the Kia Sportage, Skoda Yeti and Peugeot 3008, and also more premium competition such as the Audi Q3 and BMW X1.

Nissan’s executive vice-president, Andy Palmer, told us: “The dimensions are pretty much fixed, so we’ll have to differentiate the new car in the details.”

That means the current car’s length of 4,330mm will remain virtually unchanged, as will interior room and the maximum boot space of 860 litres with the rear seats folded.

Inspiration for the styling will come from the Hi-Cross concept car – seen at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year – but distilled into a smaller package. You can see elements of the Hi-Cross in the angular shoulder line that runs along the side of the new Qashqai over the front wheelarch and into the bonnet.

Narrow headlights that blend into the full-width grille create a more contemporary look at the front, while a more prominent roof spoiler and chrome surrounds for the exhaust give the car a sportier rear.

It’s on the inside, though, where the new Qashqai will take the biggest strides. Palmer said: “Nissan has a scale for measuring overall quality and fit and finish of its cars. The new Qashqai is the first model to score a six.”

Another source went into more detail, adding: “Everybody loves the Qashqai’s exterior, but perceived quality on the inside lets it down. Rather than bring the new car up to German quality levels, we want to surpass them.”

A new 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine will replace the 1.6-litre, offering 113bhp and 190Nm of torque. It will return over 50mpg and emit less than 120g/km of CO2. A 128bhp 1.6 dCi diesel promises 60mpg-plus and less than 105g/km of CO2.

The new Qashqai goes on sale in 2014, although a concept will preview the production car at next year’s Geneva show.