The new Qashqai is bigger, more spacious, and comes with new mild-hybrid powertrain options

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Back in February this year, Nissan unveiled the third-gen of the Qashqai compact crossover. It has been quite a seller in Europe, with over three million examples sold so far since its inception 14 years back. The third-gen Qashqai rides on a new platform, features changes inside out, and comes with hybrid engine options only. There has been a lot of weight-saving measures, too, which will result in the crossover being more efficient than before. All these changes come at a cost, which results in the 2021 Qashqai being significantly more expensive than the outgoing model.

2021 Nissan Qashqai Exterior

2021 Nissan Qashqai Exterior
- image 971863

The Nissan Qashqai has gotten a lot bolder and sharper than the previous model. There are a lot more cuts and creases all around and it looks much smarter now. It is still unmistakably a Nissan. Up front, it wears the V-Motion grille along with full LED matrix headlights and signature boomerang-shaped daytime running lights.

The automaker is also offering the new Qashqai with 20-inch wheels, something that was unheard of in the crossover’s 13-year history. What also makes the Qashqai an interesting prospect is its exterior color options. Nissan offers it 16 different shades, which includes 11 single and five dual-tone colors. And this is generally not the case with every model, but the Qashqai looks pretty sweet in all of them. The dual-tone shades include:

  • Ceramic Grey and Pearl Black
  • Pearl White and Pearl Black
  • Magnetic Blue and Pearl Black
  • Black Metallic and Grey
  • Fuji Sunset Red and Pearl Black
2021 Nissan Qashqai Exterior
- image 971862

The 2021 Qashqai measures 174.2 inches in length, 72.2 inches in width, and 64 inches in height. This makes it 1.4 inches longer, 1.3 inches wider, and an inch taller than its predecessor. The wheelbase now measures 104.9 inches, which is 0.8 inches longer.

2021 Nissan Qashqai exterior dimensions
Length 174.2 inches
Width 72.2 inches
Height 64 inches
Wheelbase 104.9 inches

2021 Nissan Qashqai Interior

2021 Nissan Qashqai Interior
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The cabin sees a big jump when it comes to quality and aesthetics. There are more soft-touch materials used all around that give it a premium feel. Nissan has made use of soothing white ambient lighting throughout. The buttons and switchgear don’t feel plastic-ky either and offer tactile feedback. Behind the steering wheel is a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster that displays all the drive-related info, navigation, and infotainment controls though.

2021 Nissan Qashqai Interior
- image 971873
On the tech front, the 2021 Qashqai comes with a nine-inch touchscreen as standard. The system supports Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay.

Other than this, it is also compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa devices, and comes with a Wi-Fi hotspot that can connect to up to seven devices. You can also opt for a 10.8-inch head-up display for additional money that projects navigation, road information, and driver assistance. Nissan says it is the biggest display offered in the segment. USB ports are also offered for the front and rear passengers.

2021 Nissan Qashqai Interior
- image 971899

In terms of space also the Qashqai has gotten better. The headroom is increased by 0.6 inches, whereas the knee room for the rear passengers is increased by 1.1 inches. This is the result of a longer wheelbase. The crossover comes with a cargo space of 17.8 cubic feet with all seats in place and 30.4 cubic feet with the second row flipped down. This is an increase of 1.8 cubic feet over the previous model and comes courtesy of the cargo floor being lowered by 0.8 inches.

2021 Nissan Qashqai Drivetrain

2021 Nissan Qashqai Exterior
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The Nissan Qashqai rides on a new Alliance CMF-C platform. The crossover is powered by a 1.3-liter turbocharged engine with a 12-volt mild-hybrid technology as standard. It is offered in two different power states. It churns out 138 horses and 177 pound-feet of torque in one offering and 156 horses and 192 pound-feet of torque in the other. Both these adequate iterations come paired with a six-speed manual gearbox that sends power to the front wheels.

If you’re looking for a two-pedal layout, Nissan offers a lousy CVT, too, that’s known for the annoying rubber-band effect. This engine is clearly focused on efficiency and smooth ride quality. If you are looking to push it hard, look elsewhere or be prepared to be disappointed. Power is sent to the front wheels here as standard, but you can opt for the all-wheel-drive configuration for extra moolah. The Qashqai comes with five driving modes – Standard, Eco, Sport, Snow, and Off-Road.

2021 Nissan Qashqai Exterior
- image 971834

The mild-hybrid system adds just 48.5 pounds to the overall weight of the crossover. This is, however, compensated to an extent by other weight-saving measures. The tailgate, for instance, now weighs 5.7 pounds lighter. All the doors, front fenders, and hood are now made of aluminum which cumulatively shaves off another 46 pounds. With all the dietary measures considered, the 2021 Qashqai weighs 132 pounds lighter than the outgoing model.

The Qashqai will also be available with the e-Power setup that comes with a 1.5-liter engine setup. It makes 187 horses and 243 pound-feet of torque. It features an e-Pedal operation like the Nissan Leaf where drivers can operate the crossover with just a single pedal.

Engine 1.3-liter turbocharged 1.3-liter turbocharged 1.5-liter (e-Power)
Horsepower 138 HP 156 HP 187 HP
Torque 177 LB-FT 192 LB-FT 243 LB-FT

2021 Nissan Qashqai Premier Edition

2021 Nissan Qashqai Exterior
- image 971912

Nissan has introduced a new Premier Edition on the 2021 Qashqai. It includes:

  • ProPilot with Navigation
  • Adaptive driving beam
  • A 10.8-inch Head-up Display
  • A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster
  • Glass roof and roof rails
  • 18-inch diamond-cut wheels
  • Two-tone exterior shade

2021 Nissan Qashqai Pricing

2021 Nissan Qashqai Exterior
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All these changes come at a cost. The Qashqai now starts at £29,270, which is $40,510 as per the exchange rates at the time of penning this article. This is a premium of almost £6,000 (approximately $8,300) over the preceding model. We’re yet to hear about the pricing of every trim, but expect it to be on the same lines and the top trim in the ballpark of £35,000 (approximately $48,500). The starting price is for the Premier Edition with a manual gearbox. The CVT model is priced at £31,790 (approximately $44,000).

2021 Nissan Qashqai Driver-Assistance and Safety Features

2021 Nissan Qashqai Exterior
- image 971913

Nissan has upgraded its suite of driver-assistance and safety features on the 2021 Qashqai. Some of the features include:

  • ProPilot with Navi Link
  • Emergency Braking
  • Forward Collision
  • Lane Intervention
  • Rear Automatic Braking with Pedestrian Detection
  • Central Airbag

Final Thoughts

2021 Nissan Qashqai Exterior
- image 971914

The 2021 Nissan Qashqai is an improvement over the second-gen vehicle. The updated drivetrains now come with hybrid technology that makes it efficient, but it lacks the punch. The CVT makes matters worse. But, let’s keep in mind that isn’t a crossover you would buy to push hard on straight roads or around the corners. As a budget family crossover, it is a perfect package. All the aesthetic enhancements have only made it better than before. The cabin is all the more spacious now and the tech upgrades and are also aplenty. The Qashqai is an important product for Nissan and it has done a good job with the third-gen of the crossover. This model is also a preview of what to expect from the U.S.-spec Rogue Sport.

  • Leave it
    • Low-powered engine and CVT will not please an enthusiast
    • Is quite expensive compared to before
Sidd Dhimaan
Sidd Dhimaan
Senior Editor, Truck Expert, EV Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. Fast forward to today, and he is currently serving as a senior editor, pickup truck expert, and EV expert.  Read full bio
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Nissan today reinforces its position as the leader in the European crossover segment with the unveil of the all-new, third generation Qashqai. More than three million units of Qashqai have been sold since Nissan invented the segment in 2007.

For this new iteration, Nissan has retained the guiding principles that have driven the concept, design and development of the two previous generations of Qashqai: elegant design, enhanced packaging and efficient powertrain, combined with elevated quality and a driving experience from a higher segment. Thanks to the new Alliance CMF-C platform, a showcase of advanced engineering, innovation and advanced technology, the new Qashqai will again raise the bar in the crossover segment and customers will savour those attributes.

Like its predecessors, the styling of the new Qashqai was led by the team at Nissan Design Europe, based in central London (UK), while its engineering was led by Nissan Technical Centre Europe, situated in Cranfield, Bedfordshire (UK).

"The starting point for the design and development of the all-new Qashqai was a deep analysis of the relationships we’ve had with all of our Qashqai customers over the last 13 years. It has enabled us to understand their needs and, in particular, what they value in the crossover that they use and rely on daily," said Marco Fioravanti, Vice President, Product Planning, Nissan Automotive Europe.

Striking attraction, elegant design

As with the two previous generations, the design for the all-new Nissan Qashqai came out of Nissan’s European Design Studio in London, UK.

Although unmistakably Qashqai in its styling, the third generation is more muscular, sharp and modern.

On the exterior, the Qashqai’s enhanced body stance is more purposeful, with prominent shoulder lines, an extended wheelbase and imposing 20-inch alloy wheels introduced to Qashqai for the first time.

The wheelbase of the car has increased by +20mm with the overall length increasing +35mm. There’s a marginal increase in height (+25mm) and width has increased +32mm for improved presence on the road.

The front end of the all-new Qashqai sports an enlarged Nissan V-Motion grille, finished in chrome with a secondary pinstripe of satin chrome to emphasise its precision. This is flanked by slim, full LED advanced matrix headlamps with boomerang signature daylight running lights. Super tight gaps between all these details create a premium and precise impression.

The forward lighting on new Qashqai has been enhanced from the previous model to feature a slimmer, sharper design thanks to the use of LED technology.

From the side, the new Qashqai appears more athletic and dynamic, with a single `fast line’ that strikes through the car from the front to the rear, giving a very horizontal presence to the car, but also conveying a sense of dynamism.

The new generation Qashqai will be available for the first time with 20-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels (the previous generation offered up to 19-inch wheels). These larger diameter wheels fill the arches and further contribute to the robustness of the car on the road.

Customers appreciate the personal touches, so the new Qashqai will be available in 11 body colours with five two-tone combinations, creating 16 variations to choose from.

Elevated interior ambience

Connected, comfortable and commanding, the cabin of the new Nissan Qashqai sets a new segment standard for premium feel, distinctive design and enhanced usability.

Creating a reassuring and calming environment, new white ambient lighting is used throughout the cabin, with its uniformity giving a premium and harmonious impression.

Extensive attention has been paid to the ergonomic and aesthetic quality of the switch gear and buttons with a high quality, tactile feel giving users a sense of confidence and the refinement.

Connected control

The new Qashqai offers an advanced infotainment system with a broad portfolio of connected services including effortless integration of smartphones, in-car WiFi for up to seven devices and NissanConnect Services, a dedicated app with which to interact with and monitor the vehicle.

The larger, higher resolution 9 inch NissanConnect display screen is a digital gateway to navigation, entertainment and vehicle settings, and is compatible with both Android Auto® and Apple CarPlay®, with wireless Apple CarPlay® also introduced.

A new high-definition, fully electronic 12.3 inch TFT multi-information screen offers a choice of configurable layouts to display navigation, entertainment, traffic or vehicle information, all controlled from a new tactile dial switch on the steering wheel. A traditional "Kiriko" cut glass texture is also added to the TFT’s digital background – a nod to Nissan’s Japanese DNA.

An innovative new 10.8-inch Head-Up Display (HUD) provides the biggest-in-segment image size. Key navigation, driver assistance and road information are projected onto the windscreen within the driver’s line of vision.

Home-to-Car skills are compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa devices. The system supports a wide range of commands, including the ability for drivers to send destinations to the car’s navigation by talking to their smart device, minimising the time required to input the destination.

Through the NissanConnect Services smartphone app, vehicle control functions are available such as remote horn and lights, as well as remote door lock and unlock. Smart alerts can also be set including speed, time and zone with app notifications should the vehicle exceed the set parameters.

If not using their phone’s navigation, drivers can access 3D Maps & Live Traffic which includes advanced navigation features such as over-the-air map updates, real-time traffic conditions, Google Street View and fuel prices. Door-to-door navigation is also available through the app including a My Car Finder function.

Connectivity extends to all occupants with the console box now offering front and rear USB charging connections with both USB-A and USB-C ports.

Commanding comfort

The new Qashqai continues to give drivers a commanding sense of their environment with improved forward, side and rear visibility. Enhancements include a wider windscreen opening angle, thinner front pillar design and side mirrors mounted on the door, instead of the a-pillar, reducing zones of obscured visibility.

The longer wheelbase of the new Qashqai combines with efficient packaging to create even more room for users. Knee room for rear occupants has grown by 28mm to 608mm, with more distance created between driver and front passenger. Front and rear headroom has increased by 15mm thanks to the small increase in exterior dimensions.

Practicality personified

A powered hands-free tailgate makes accessing the boot effortless when hands are anything but free. Overall luggage capacity has increased by over 50-litres from the previous generation model thanks in part to the cargo floor being lowered by 20mm as a consequence of the improved packaging of the rear suspension.

Popular features of its predecessor, for example the side storage compartments over the wheel arches and the Flexible Luggage Board System remain, are carried over and enhanced for the new model, with reshaped boards, as well as durable carpet on one side and wipe-clean plastic on the other.

Refinements to the ergonomic design of the doorways mean new Qashqai is also easier for ingress and egress than previous generations, particularly evident in restricted spaces such as multi-storey car parks. Where space allows, parents will appreciate that the rear doors now open to 90 degrees, allowing easier access to babies and toddlers in child-seats.

Electrified powertrains

Supporting Nissan’s goal of achieving 50% electrified sales in Europe by 2024, the new Nissan Qashqai will not only be available with a 1.3 DiG-T petrol equipped with mild hybrid technology, but it also represents the European debut of e-POWER, Nissan’s innovative and award-winning powertrain that draws technologies from the company’s pioneering Nissan LEAF electric vehicle.

With both 2WD and 4WD variants, 6-speed manual or new Xtronic transmissions, and pure-electric motor driving courtesy of e-POWER, the all-new Qashqai’s powertrain options cater for every customer requirement with driving pleasure at the heart of all the powertrain configurations.

1.3 DiG-T Petrol 138hp/156hp 12V Mild Hybrid

The 12V mild hybrid system available on new Qashqai is a more affordable hybrid technology that provides torque assist, extended idle stop, quick restart and coasting stop [Xtronic only], with improvements to both fuel economy and CO2 output (-4g/km).

The positive impact of the mild hybrid’s energy management on CO2 is competitive and the 1.3-litre engine delivers more power and torque than key competitors, making the petrol engine variant a compelling offer. The mild hybrid system adds just 22kg to the overall vehicle mass.

When decelerating, energy is recovered through regeneration and stored in the Lithium-ion battery. This charged energy is then supplied during Idling Stop, Coasting Stop (Xtronic versions only) and Torque Assist.

When coasting to a stop, at speeds of less than 18kph, and `brake on’, the engine will switch off and the stored energy is used to power the vehicle’s electrical equipment. This allows engine stop to be extended and fuel consumption lowered as a result.

The mild hybrid system is mated to the refined and reputable 1.3 DiG-T petrol engine that was introduced to Qashqai in 2018. This engine has been improved further for new Qashqai with 50 newly designed components and Euro6-d full compliance.

The 1.3-petrol motor will be offered with two power outputs – 138hp and 156hp – with either a 6-speed manual transmission, or new Xtronic gearbox (156hp only). Max engine power arrives at 5500rpm, with maximum available torque of 270Nm at a convenient 1750rpm on 156hp Xtronic and high power MT variants.

On manual versions the gearbox has been enhanced for a quicker, more direct and sportier shift feeling. The new generation Xtronic transmission offers better fuel economy and acceleration feel thanks to improvements including a twin oil pump system with new electrical oil pump.

2WD is available on both 138hp and 156hp versions, whilst 4WD will only be available on 156hp Xtronic models. A new 4WD control system and driving selection mode is more intuitive and intelligent, adapting itself to external conditions with five driving modes – Standard, ECO, Sport, Snow and Off-Road. In case of any wheel slip, the time which the 4WD system acts has been reduced by a factor of five to around 0.2 seconds.

E-POWER

The new Qashqai brings the first deployment of Nissan’s innovative e‑POWER drive system to Europe. Exclusive to Nissan and a key component in the company’s Intelligent Mobility strategy, the e-POWER system is a unique approach to electrification by making every day driving exciting.

The new Qashqai’s e-POWER system is comprised of a high-output battery and powertrain integrated with a category-leading variable compression ratio 154hp petrol engine, power generator, inverter and 140kW electric motor of similar size and power output as found in Nissan’s electric vehicles. It’s a unique solution that combines the enjoyable, seamless linear acceleration which is characteristic of an EV, but without the need for charging.

To meet the typical demands of European consumers and their daily drive, the e-POWER installation has been significantly upgraded for the new Qashqai. Where the application in the Note - Japan’s best-selling car in recent years – is a 1.2 petrol engine charging the battery unit, and a final power output of 106hp. For Europe it has been upgraded to a 1.5-litre petrol engine, with a final power output of 140kW (187hp).

The unique element of the e-Power is that the petrol engine is used solely to generate electricity, whilst the wheels are completely driven by the electric motor. This means the engine can always run within its optimal range, leading to superior fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emissions compared with a traditional internal combustion engine.

Thanks to the pure electric motor drive, there’s no delay as with an internal combustion engine or traditional hybrid. The instant response delivers exhilarating high torque feel and best level acceleration at different speeds to make overtaking or merging onto a motorway easier and more confidence-inspiring.

Similar to the LEAF, the new Qashqai e-POWER benefits from an entirely new `one pedal’ driving experience called e-Pedal. Drivers can start, accelerate and decelerate using only the accelerator pedal.

CMF-C platform

The new Qashqai is the first new model in Europe to use the CMF-C platform, which represents a state-of-the-art automotive structure and technology architecture.

Central to the engineering concept was to retain the current Qashqai’s proportions, which are "just right" and key in its success, meaning it comfortably navigates urban roads and fits comfortably in parking spaces, while also giving excellent interior space.

In terms of construction, the body in white makes use of more lightweight material, as well as advanced stamping and welding techniques to increase strength but to also reduce weight. For the first time, the rear hatchback door on the Qashqai is now made of a composite material, which saves 2.6kg.

The front and rear doors, front fenders and hood, are all now made of aluminium, which offers a weight-saving, when taken all together, of 21kg over the out-going Qashqai’s body in white.

The net advantage for customers, thanks to the advanced manufacturing techniques, is that the overall body in white is lighter by 60kg and 41% stiffer than the out-going model. This translates to refinement, ride comfort and driving response from a higher segment, plus exceptional security in the event of an accident – as well as having benefits to the car’s overall efficiency.

New suspension and steering design

The new Qashqai will continue to offer a rewarding driving experience – building on its reputation as a refined and cossetting drive, but nevertheless, enjoyable when the road turns twisty.

Thanks to the CMF-C platform, the new Qashqai has an updated Macpherson strut set-up at the front and at the rear. For two-wheel drive Qashqai specified up to and including 19" wheels, rear suspension is a torsion beam configuration. For 20" wheels and all-wheel drive versions, it will be equipped with an advanced multi-link set-up.

The power-steering set-up has been upgraded, offering improved response, better feeling around the central part of the steering range and reduced friction.

Upgraded ProPILOT driver assistance

The new Qashqai will be equipped with the next generation of ProPILOT driver assistance, bringing greater driver support in a wider array of circumstances. Called ProPILOT with Navi-link, the system has been designed to reduce fatigue and stress while driving, while being very intuitive to use. [Only available with Xtronic transmission].

ProPILOT with Navi-link is able to accelerate and brake the vehicle within a single-lane on a highway. The system can accelerate the vehicle to cruise at a set speed, and can brake the vehicle down to 0 km/h in heavy stop-start traffic. The system is able to resume automatically if the vehicle has been stationary for less than three seconds and the traffic in front of the car moves away.

On the new Nissan Qashqai, the updated system is now able to adapt the car’s speed according to additional external circumstances: when the car crosses to a lower speed limit zone on the highway, the system is able to read road signs and take into account navigation system speed limit data to slow the Qashqai to the appropriate speed, meaning the driver doesn’t need to adjust the cruise control speed manually.

The system can also use data from the navigation system to adjust the speed for approaching curves or exit ramps that have a tighter radius.

Furthermore, ProPILOT with Navi-link can now communicate with the Qashqai’s blind-spot radars to help intervene with a steering input correction to help prevent a lane-change manoeuvre if there is a vehicle in the blind-spot zone.

Other upgrades include a "flank protection” warning for urban situations, which alerts the driver of the risk of contact with an object on the side of the vehicle, typically when turning into a supermarket parking space. And the new Qashqai can also intervene to prevent a collision upon reversing from the space thanks to an upgrade on the existing Moving Object Detection alert, applying the brakes to stop the car if a moving obstacle is detected nearby.

Additional security comes in the form of Nissan’s Intelligent Forward Emergency Braking with predictive function. Thanks to advanced radar technology, sensors are able to read the road beyond the car in front to detect if a vehicle suddenly brakes. The system will apply the brakes to reduce the likelihood of a collision.

Another feature of the suite of safety technology on-board the new Qashqai is the new central airbag, which deploys from between the two front seats, to prevent the front row occupants from making contact in the event of a side-impact. The central airbag supplements the driver and passenger airbags, as well as the side and curtain airbags fitted as standard to the new Qashqai.

Intelligent LED headlights

For the new Qashqai, Nissan’s engineers have developed an advanced headlight system that adapts the shape of the beam according to the road conditions and other road-users. The beam is divided into 12 individual elements that selectively deactivate upon detection of an oncoming vehicle. Thanks to this innovation, it can project a brighter beam further and wider, but the shape effectively changes so oncoming road-users will not be dazzled.

"The new Qashqai is going to change what customers can expect from a family car. Comfort, refinement and technology will be comparable with upper segment vehicles, while the driving experience will satisfy drivers and passengers alike. With Nissan’s bold e-POWER technology, we feel that customers will fall in love with the feeling of an electric powertrain, without the range concerns,” said Gianluca de Ficchy, Chairman, Nissan Africa, Middle East, India, Europe and Oceania (AMIEO) Region.

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