2022 Nissan Qashqai - The upcoming third generation of Nissan is better in every way | Cars Blog

Starting price is about £26,135 USD

Small SUVs are taking over the world, and since the first-generation Nissan QASHQAI hit the market in 2007, it hasn't been a phenomenal success story, achieving sales of five million units worldwide. Around the world. In Australia, sales have never been as strong as elsewhere, despite a lot of admiration. Topping Nissan's to-do list for the third installment of QASHQAI, then, is to reverse a wave of local apathy and steal sales from its more popular rivals. The new QASHQAI is bigger, bolder, and a far cry from the technology and improvement of the model it replaces. But will it be enough to capture the hearts and minds of those who might head for cars like the Hyundai Kona and Mazda CX-30?

The Nissan Qashqai was reborn in February with the reveal of an all-new, third-generation that will launch Down Under next year – but exactly when remains a mystery for now.

Apart from a design overhaul that applies Nissan’s latest SUV design language without corrupting the distinctive Qashqai silhouette, headline changes to what has long been Nissan’s third-best seller in Australia – after the X-Trail and Navara – are the first electrified powertrains in this nameplate’s lineage.

Inside the new Qashqai’s sleeker, posher cabin are more big screens than a branch of JB Hi-Fi that present new connected features and, under the skin, lurks a lighter, stiffer bodyshell claimed to yield big dynamic improvements.

This is the car that invented the small ‘crossover’, a motoring mash-up the length of a Ford Focus hatchback but with an SUV’s taller roof, raised seating position and optional all-wheel drive. 

When the first Qashqai launched (badged Dualis in Australia) it was a delicious novelty; 15 years later, some 3.5 million have been exported from the Sunderland factory in northern England to 100+ markets, making it a bona fide smash hit.

As a result, Nissan has been evolutionary in its approach. The exterior design update is beautifully judged: all slimline lamps, chiselled surfaces and big-wheeled beefiness. It’s a little longer to boost cockpit and luggage space, but it’s still sufficiently compact to thread confidently through London’s busy streets.

The interior isn’t such a knockout. A carbuncular tablet protrudes from the dashtop, devoid of curve, with a housing that is noticeably bigger than the screen, unremarkable graphics and a clashy nav menu. Much better are the chunky buttons that provide clear operating shortcuts and air-con adjustments, in unison with nice-to-touch temperature dials. 

On high-grade Tekna models, the centre cubby and dashboard are immaculately trimmed in PVC (which looks and feels more luxurious than it sounds), and there’s a classy textured plinth for the gear selector. Overall it’s a victory for no-nonsense functionality over flair.

2022 Nissan Qashqai: Engine and Gearbox combinations

While we wait for an Australian on-sale date, UK deliveries from the Sunderland plant commenced in mid-June. Initially, the only engine is a 1.3-litre four-cylinder with mild hybrid assistance, where a belt-starter generator operates a responsive stop/start system, adds torque into the driveline and offers a fuel-saving coasting function on the automated continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Or xTronic as Nissan engineers steadfastly call it, seeking to disassociate their shifter from the CVT’s historic reputation for ‘rubber band’ response and flailing revs out of sync with the acceleration level.

Peak power is 116kW, with 270Nm of peak torque from 1800rpm. We tested both the six-speed manual – expected to account for 55 per cent of UK registrations but unlikely to reach Australia – and the CVT. Sorry, xTronic.

They’re right to be so protective: The manual is a bit of a roundhead in a world of cavalier Japanese 'boxes from Mazda and Honda. Nissan’s is a touch vague and with a fractionally long action changing up from second to third. It’s coupled with an arthritic-feeling clutch, requires lots of gearchanges to keep in the power band and has an occasional hesitancy to deliver momentum from low revs in second and third.

In contrast, the xTronic – a £1900 ($A3505) premium – is great. It responds snappily to kickdown, delivers a nice surge of power with a muscular bellow of revs, and features reassuringly calibrated steps. You can even take charge of snappy changes yourself with paddleshifters on the wheel.

Better at almost every turn
Engineers say they have worked hard to cut weight and increase rigidity for the Nissan QASHQAI 2022 in an effort to improve its handling, comfort and refinement levels.

The new generation is based on the CMF-C platform of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, and to reduce kilograms, there is more high-strength steel in the SUV's structure, while the doors and bonnet are made from aluminum. The rear tailgate is also made of synthetic resin.

In total, Nissan says it saved 60kg, but that mass is boosted again thanks to some fancy new technology.

As many small SUVs are purchased by young families, the space inside the QASHQAI has been enhanced, although it is only 35mm longer, 25mm taller and 32mm wider than before.

Headroom and shoulder room have been improved, while the small 20mm longer wheelbase has freed up more legroom and knee room in the second row.

Boot space, meanwhile, has been increased to 504 liters.

Dropping one side is a second row seat that can't be removed or adjusted front/rear as some other models can manage, such as the Skoda Karoq.

Even a short drive shows an increased level of fine-tuning to accommodate the more upscale cabin.

The new QASHQAI rides smoother at speed, while the 1.3-litre mild-petrol hybrid powertrain is, for the most part, smoother than the current 2.0-litre atmo – until you get to work. , and then it starts to make a stretch sound.

Thanks to the quieter cabin, it's also easy to bypass the CVT transmission, which is smoother until you really push. It also adds more recoil at low speeds, but we think that has something to do with the mild-hybrid system that wants to cut the engine and coast to rest.

Curiously, with the semi-automatic cruise control activated in heavy traffic, in stop-and-go situations the transmission and engine operate more smoothly, suggesting a cure for the shivers. by software.

That said, the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission fitted on the Nissan JUKE would be a better fit.

We have some questions about ride comfort. Overall, it's pretty decent - even on the biggest 20-inch UK road wheels - but we still think ride/handling balance could be better in the specifically tuned Hyundai Kona for the Australian market.

Handling is a big improvement over the current model, with the new QASHQAI closing the gap with the Mazda CX-30 in terms of agility and engagement – ​​but there's one thing to keep in mind.

Unlike the upcoming J11 QASHQAI, only the top-of-the-range models equipped with 20-inch wheels (or all-wheel drive we don't currently have) come with a multi-link rear suspension. , the rest are equipped with less sophisticated torsion beam setups.

That means models on small wheels may have to go through a busier ride and offer a less appealing steering, but time will tell.

From striking new looks to smart and thoughtful touches in the luxurious and spacious cabin, engineers and designers have left very little in the closet to ensure the Nissan QASHQAI 2022 has everything it needs to compete. compete better, and ultimately steal sales from the likes of 2021's best small SUVs, the Hyundai Kona.

Of course, price is still very important in this part of the market, and the uncertainty about which powertrain we're being Down Under has the potential to make for a very well-rounded new model.

Australian pricing and line-up details are months in the future, but the British Qashqai range kicks off with the £23,535 ($A43.411) Visia trim, which features all the key safety features you’d need in a family crossover; adaptive cruise and rear cross-traffic alert are present, as are blind-spot intervention, traffic sign recognition and parking sensors.

The Acenta Premium level starts at £26,135 ($A48,214) and adds a keyless start, folding door mirrors, USB-C sockets, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It also throws in folding door mirrors and an improved 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment package, with six speakers.

The N-Connecta trim begins from £28,395 ($A52,383) and stretches the infotainment screen to a 12.3-inch TFT panel along with 9.0-inch dials, and it also gets wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.  

The Qashqai Tekna trim rises to £30,845 ($A56,899) and adds features such as a powered tailgate, the Qashqai's first head-up display providing a large and customisable readout, wireless charger and ProPilot semi-autonomous driving system – as well as heated seats and a heated steering wheel for extra comfort.

Finally, Tekna+ features 20-inch alloys as standard, user memory and massage seats, as well as a ten-speaker BOSE-branded sound system. But it does cost £34,175 ($63,027) – just over £8k ($A14.75) more than the entry-level Qashqai.

2022 Nissan Qashqai - The upcoming third generation of Nissan is better in every way | Cars Blog 2022 Nissan Qashqai - The upcoming third generation of Nissan is better in every way | Cars Blog Reviewed by My Home on September 18, 2021 Rating: 5

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