Dec 7 2009 Maurice Glover
Nissan upgrade for Qashqai
AN EXTENSIVE upgrade is set to underpin the Qashqai as the class-leading alternative to the traditional family hatchback, claims Nissan.
With the 500,000th customer due to take delivery of the Sunderland-built model before Christmas, the company says the changes will reinforce its position as a stylish crossover car that combines the dynamic driving characteristics of a sporty hatchback with the robust, solid virtues of a compact sport utility vehicle.
In a response to increasing environmental pressures, a new Pure Drive variant is being added to the popular line-up boasting higher efficiency and lower emissions.
Thanks to lower weight and more aerodynamic wheel covers, low resistance tyres and higher gearing, the CO2 emissions of the 1.5-litre dCi diesel motor has been cut from 137 to 129g/km.
Most notable visual change to the Qashqai is at the front, where a complete makeover has taken place. All new bonnet, front bumper, wings, grille and headlamps are claimed to combine to give the car an air of premium sophistication, presence and quality and the new looks are shared with the Qashqai+2.
At the rear, the overall shape of the lights remains unchanged, but they now include an aerodynamic feature to reduce drag. A more transparent lens design has been adopted, with the upper portion, housing the reversing lights and indicators, being clear, while the lower section with the brake and nighttime running lights, is red.
Additionally, the brake and tail lights operate using 12 LEDs for maximum clarity.
Inside, the latest Qashqai features clearer instrumentation and a redesigned drive computer. Low-level lighting is used around the front footwell area to promote a warmer ambience.
Additional oddment storage has been created for added convenience, with a new compartment at the base of the central cluster. Improved protection against noise, vibration and harshness comes from new multi-layer insulation around the front bulkhead and an 'acoustic' windscreen to reduce noise transmission.
Senior vice president for sales and marketing Simon Thomas said: 'When Qashqai was launched in Europe in 2007, we were optimistic customers would recognise that it offered an alternative to the traditional hatchback or compact SUV.
'However, we had to increase production to meet demand and two-and-a-half years later, demand hasn't relented. Qashqai has been key at reinforcing Nissan's position as an innovator in the European market and these updates will make it an even more attractive proposition.'
Prices start at £15,395 and Visia, the Pure Drive version, costs £16,795.