Skip advert
Advertisement

New Nissan Qashqai gets angry, as best-selling family SUV receives aggressive facelift

In addition to its new much sharper design, the Qashqai now features Google apps and voice assistant built in

They say don’t mess with success, but the new facelifted Nissan Qashqai flies in the face of that. The top-selling family SUV has been treated to an aggressive makeover, along with some big technology upgrades in an effort to make it more competitive against the Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Nissan’s VP of Design for Europe, Matthew Weaver, believes the dramatic redesign has transformed the Qashqai “from Clark Kent into Superman”. The striking new grille is covered in a complex pattern of gloss black scales inspired by traditional Japanese armour.

It’s complemented by a new, sharper daytime-running-light design that comprises a larger element following the bonnet line, plus five small lenses that mimic the shape of grille pieces. The main headlight itself now features an adaptive high-beam module, while the front bumper has been tweaked, too. 

The new tail-lights feature small floating elements sitting below a larger ‘boomerang’, and the rear bumper has been reshaped to look wider and more premium. There are further exterior changes on the newly introduced N-Design trim, which distinguishes itself with body-coloured panels on the wheelarches and doors, plus a unique set of 20-inch alloy wheels.

Changes to the interior are more subtle; there are new finishes for the dashboard and centre console, and new upholstery patterns, plus ambient lighting and Alcantara elements on higher-spec models. The side windows are also thicker now to reduce cabin noise.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

It’s the technology on board the Qashqai that’s received the more significant upgrades. The biggest is a brand new infotainment system based on Google’s Android Automotive OS – the same software architecture used by Renault, Volvo and Polestar.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Nissan has added its own graphics to make the new interface look familiar to current Qashqai drivers, but all but the base Qashqai will now come with apps like Google Maps built in, and there are over 70 more, including Waze and Spotify, available through the Google Play store. Google’s voice assistant, with its natural language understanding, also features and it can be used to control settings on the car using phrases like “I’m cold” to adjust the cabin temperature.

The apps benefit from over-the-air updates, but in case you’re not a fan of the Google-powered tech, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity are standard on every model. The graphics for the 12.3-inch central touchscreen and digital instrument display have also been improved.

Every new Qashqai will come with more safety kit than before, including driver-drowsiness attention warning, autonomous emergency braking, emergency lane-keeping assist and accident data recording. These systems are activated every time you start the car, but as with the recently updated Juke, drivers can create their own personalised mode for the ADAS suite, including which systems they want on, and this can then be selected via a handy shortcut button on the steering wheel. 

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

Nissan says it has improved the quality of the cameras used for the Qashqai’s Around View Monitor system. The upgraded set-up can provide an ‘invisible-hood view’ to help prevent drivers kerbing the wheels, and a ‘side-vision view’ with a 200-degree field for difficult T-junctions. 

Finally, Nissan’s Connected Services can now alert you if the Qashqai hasn’t been locked, and offer the ability to lock the car remotely via a smartphone app. An optional stolen-vehicle tracker is also new.

Amid all of the styling tweaks and tech upgrades, the engine options for the Qashqai are unchanged, so customers will have a simple choice of either a mild-hybrid petrol motor or Nissan’s unique e-Power technology. 

What makes the Qashqai e-Power different from other hybrids is that the car’s 187bhp electric motor is solely responsible for driving the front wheels. The 1.5-litre petrol engine under the bonnet is only used to generate energy that is sent directly to this e-motor, to a 1.8kWh lithium-ion battery, or both in some scenarios. The idea is the e-Power set-up can deliver an EV-like driving experience, without the range or charging anxiety that can come with an electric car.

The Qashqai e-Power also features regenerative braking like an EV, sending any energy recuperated when slowing down to the battery. There’s a ‘B’ mode for stronger regen, plus an ‘e-Pedal Step’ function that’s meant to deliver one-pedal driving.

The other option is a 1.3-litre mild-hybrid petrol engine which, in its base form, produces 138bhp and comes mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. There’s also a 156bhp version, offered with the six-speed manual or a CVT automatic transmission, plus the option of four-wheel drive.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

The facelifted Nissan Qashqai is due to go on sale in the summer in a range of five trim levels: Acenta Premium, N-Connecta, Tekna, N-Design and Tekna+ trim. The old entry point to the line-up, Visia, is being dropped from the line-up, and that’s likely to mean a rise in the Qashqai’s starting figure, from the current £27,135 to around £30,000.

Q&A with Matthew Weaver, Vice President of Nissan Design Europe

Q: The current Nissan Qashqai is such a successful car. Were you nervous about changing it so dramatically?

A: Yes, absolutely. But in the team that we put on Qashqai are hands that have worked on every generation and every iteration, and then we’ve put our best young guys on it too. We always have a good team on but then a team that has the DNA in them, though it is still nerve-wracking because it’s so successful.

Q: Do you believe the Qashqai’s new look will help it stand out in its very busy segment?

A: I do. With Qashqai we say it’s ‘just right’ and we work on this very hard. Just the right size, the right balance of robustness and sportiness, the right driveability, etc. We don’t want to go too overt, we want it to look smart and something that people could relate to, and mature in design. So we feel this will land well with our customers for sure.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

Q: Did any of Nissan’s newer products like Ariya influence the Qashqai’s facelift, or was it treated as completely seperate?

A: Of course we have to look at an overview of the portfolio: what’s coming after, what’s going to be alongside it and next-gen in the showrooms. But we don’t want to do clones. Each of our cars has a strong character, and I think that’s something Nissan does well. 

Particularly with Qashqai and Juke, they invented their segments. We almost found the customers and we want to make the cars individual for these cluster groups. So there are links to tie the cars together, like the Boomerang lamps and V-motion grilles, but actually we have a lot of room to play with those elements and we’re not too hemmed in.

Q: With design becoming so important to give mainstream cars an edge over their competitors, what’s Nissan’s hook?

A: We try to make each car quite individual, even looking across the global range. If you take the Nissan Z, the out-going GT-R or a Nissan Patrol, they’re very good at identifying a particular market and the market’s needs, and then we derive the design from that.

We also have something called ‘MAYA’ – most advanced, yet accepted – which is quite a tricky thing to balance. So we have to pitch it just right, and I think Nissan are good at pitching things just a bit further, particularly when we come in with something new.

Do you like the Qashqai's new look? Tell us in the comments section below...

Skip advert
Advertisement
News reporter

As our news reporter, Ellis is responsible for covering everything new and exciting in the motoring world, from quirky quadricycles to luxury MPVs. He was previously the content editor for DrivingElectric and won the Newspress Automotive Journalist Rising Star award in 2022.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

Best-selling cars 2024: the UK’s top 10 most popular models
Best-selling cars 2024 - header image
Best cars & vans

Best-selling cars 2024: the UK’s top 10 most popular models

These are the country’s most popular cars of the year so far, but which is in pole position?
7 May 2024
New Nissan Qashqai facelift teased for 17 April reveal: looks like they made it angry
Nissan Qashqai facelift teaser image of the lights
News

New Nissan Qashqai facelift teased for 17 April reveal: looks like they made it angry

A new teaser video suggests Nissan’s best-selling family SUV will be receiving a fairly substantial makeover on the 17th
9 Apr 2024
Car Deal of the Day: big-selling Nissan Qashqai with hybrid power for only £194 a month
Nissan Qashqai - front static
News

Car Deal of the Day: big-selling Nissan Qashqai with hybrid power for only £194 a month

A UK favourite with Nissan’s unique hybrid system, the Qashqai e-Power is a great family SUV and our Car Deal of the Day for 22 February
22 Feb 2024
Best-selling cars of 2023
Best-selling cars 2023 - header image
Best cars & vans

Best-selling cars of 2023

These were the country’s official favourite cars in 2023
1 Feb 2024

Most Popular

Cheap EV charging comes to public chargepoints via new ‘Plunge Pricing’ app
Octopus Energy’s Electroverse
News

Cheap EV charging comes to public chargepoints via new ‘Plunge Pricing’ app

Octopus’ ‘Plunge Pricing’ events promise to save electric car drivers an average of £6.50 per charge
17 May 2024
Skoda Scala vs Citroen C4 2024 twin test: which is the best-value family hatchback?
Skoda Scala and Citroen C4 - front tracking
Car group tests

Skoda Scala vs Citroen C4 2024 twin test: which is the best-value family hatchback?

The revised Skoda Scala takes on Citroen’s C4 in the battle to be the best-value family hatchback
18 May 2024
Car Deal of the Day: Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer Electric at an unbeatable £201 a month
Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer front cornering
News

Car Deal of the Day: Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer Electric at an unbeatable £201 a month

Our Deal of the Day selection for 18 May will appeal to those who want an all-electric family car that’s not a SUV
18 May 2024