What is it?
It’s been a year or more since we last had a ride in a Nissan Qashqai, probably the first of what we have come to call a crossover, that grey area between family car and SUV.
Now we have the Qashqai e-POWER Tekna 190 – so what’s different? While the ‘e-Power’ bit might suggest a fully electric car, it’s not. While the front wheels are powered by a 187bhp electric motor, the battery that feeds is itself fed by a 155bhp, 1.5-litre petrol turbo engine which acts as a generator.
What this means is that the engine motors on in the background continually feeding the 2.1kWh battery. Regenerative braking helps prevent too much fuel being pumped through the system while the e-Pedal turns it into almost a one pedal car.
Key to the development of the e-POWER system for the Qashqai was the need to ensure the driving experience gave a “connected” sensation, where the petrol engine speed remains relative to the Qashqai’s road speed. Engineers at Nissan Technical Centre Europe (NTCE) in the UK and Spain collaborated in developing a system called “Linear Tune”.
This feature governs the petrol engine and progressively increases the speed of the 1.5-litre engine to meet the motor’s energy demands as the car accelerates, ensuring there is no “disconnect” between what the occupants experience in terms of performance and sound. The disparity between engine speed and road speed is a phenomenon that drivers and passengers find unsettling.
For example, a sudden rise in engine revs without a commensurate increase in speed is perceived as frustrating and “disconnected” by occupants. Linear Tune on e-POWER is the antidote to that.
Hard to believe that Qashqai been with us for 14 years and while the technology has changed along the way the concept hasn’t – roomier than a family hatch, a higher driving position while retaining pretty good dynamics.
The oddly named Qashqai – and there are still people who struggle to pronounce or spell the name – has turned into a massive success for Nissan and it has spawned many a rival from other brands. It has led to the segment becoming the largest in the UK, but the Nissan remains the top sellers despite not having the looks, dynamics or even the cache of other brands.
Following the introduction of the innovative e-POWER powertrain on Qashqai last year, Nissan has developed a special version of its iconic third generation crossover to give the vehicle a striking new look.
Qashqai Kuro Edition is based on the N-Connecta grade but also includes e-POWER, glass roof pack, 18” Black Gloss Alloy Wheels, Illuminated kicking-plates and a wireless charging pad. Kuro comes in three two-tone paint combinations: a refined black roof with either a Storm White or Ceramic Grey body, or a grey roof with a Pearl Black body.
Optional ‘Tech Assist Pack’ can be added for a further £1,030 which includes a full range of advanced safety features including head-up display, full LED lights and adaptive driving beams. Nissan’s ProPILOT Assist with Navi-Link is also included which helps maintains the vehicle’s position in the lane, keeps a safe distance from the car in front and utilizes the vehicle’s TOMTOM system to anticipate changes to the road and speed limit.
What do we think?
A new platform for the Qashqai allows a slightly longer wheelbase and more room in the cabin while the car is lighter than before thanks to increased use of aluminium panels and a plastic tailgate. The electronics are now more sophisticated but easy and intuitive to use.
The Qashqai was conceived as a family car and it remains true to its roots – good dimensions, not too big, not too small, plenty of room, a big boot and wide-opening rear doors. It’s easy to get in and out of – for people and the cargo – and it’s easy to drive. Despite the relatively small 1.3 under the bonnet, it’s lively enough in the 156hp for we tried.
On the road the ride feels smooth enough and the front-wheel-drive is not embarrassed by the corners and there’s very little rock and roll. The whole package feels solid enough and well suppressed road noise combine to give a premium feel to the car.
Fuel economy during our time with the car worked out at well over 50 miles to the gallon. There are no numbers from Nissan regarding how far this model can go in zero emission mode but it’s almost irrelevant as the powertrain is always adjusting its behaviour to your driving. The engine will run as little as possible, and in truth you’ll barely notice it when it does kick into life.
As with all its cars, Nissan has loaded the Qashqai with driver assistance and our review car, equipped with automatic transmission, came with parking assist, active cruise control and lane-keep assist.
On top of all that was Nissan’s next stage ProPilot which links to the Sat Nav and actually slows you up as you approach roundabouts or sharp bends and the like.
There was also a head-up display, matrix headlamps and wireless Carplay, all helping to ease comfort, driveability and general day-to-day ownership.
The automotive fad these days appear to be for increasingly confusing controls and irritating touch screens. Nissan does not appear to be following the flock, however, at least in its European models and bring us ‘normal’ and a screen that doesn’t dominate the entire dashboard.
There are what many would call old fashioned controls for the HVAC and there’s even a radio volume and tune knob. There are button on the steering wheel which can be used to make short cuts.
Seats feel supportive while there’s a massage function which I activated by mistake and could not work out how to stop until I reached the end of my journey (the switch is down on the right hand side of the driver’s seat).
There’s room enough in the rear for adults and the general fixtures and fittings have a quality look and feel to them. There’s also bags of room in the boot and higher spec models have a powered tailgate, there’s also plenty of storage cubbies and USB ports.
|Nissan Qashqai e-POWER Tekna 190
On the road price…………………….…………………………………………………………..…………..£38,140.00
(includes 12 months Government Vehicle Excise Duty and £55 Government First Registration Fee)
Optional extras fitted to test car
Ceramic Grey Paint……………………………………………………………………………………………….£745.00
Total price of test car……… ………………………………………………………………….£38,885.00
|CO2 mass emission (combined) (g/km)
|No. of cylinders, configuration
|3, in line
|Standard Euro Emissions
|Engine capacity (cc)
|Max speed (mph)
|Max. engine power (kW) / rpm
|Acceleration 0 – 62 mph (secs)
|Max. torque Nm/ rpm
|330 / 0 – 3,000
|Engine Power KW
|Engine Power BHP
|Petrol / Electric
|ELECTRIC VEHICLE DATA
|Battery Capacity in kWh
|Nissan Stop/Start system