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NISSAN QASHQAI UPDATED FOR 2010
At a glance
Nissan's mid-size Crossover, the Qashqai, has undergone an extensive update to cement its position as the class-leading, pioneering alternative to the traditional hatchback in Europe.
Since its European launch in March 2007, the Qashqai has exceeded all sales ambitions, with a total of 500,000 European sales.
Building on its huge popularity among European Qashqai customers - over 80% of whom are first-time Nissan buyers - the updates to Qashqai reinforce its position as a stylish Crossover which combines the dynamic driving characteristics of a sporty hatchback with the robust, solid virtues of a compact SUV.
Refreshed frontal aspect
The 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 combine to give the Qashqai an air of added premium sophistication, presence and quality. The new frontal aspect is shared with Qashqai+2.
The two distinctive raised strakes on the bonnet are now longer, finishing closer to the front lip. Additionally, the front edge of the bonnet where it meets the headlamps is shaped to come over the light, giving a tighter, more precise finish, reinforcing the feeling of quality at the same time ensuring a minimal gap between the two parts.
The lower bumper area has been reshaped around the air intake, to optimise airflow to the radiator, but with the added benefit of giving a more purposeful appearance.
A more dynamic and aggressive headlamp shape adds presence to the front of Qashqai by being flatter than the existing design, which makes it appear to be wrapped around the front corner of the car. The design of the interior of the lamp is more technical, with intricate detailing for each of the three elements (low beam, high beam and turn indicator).
The slatted grille on the current Qashqai has been updated with a honeycomb style grille, which is sportier and also adds to the air of premium sophistication.
But it retains the centrally mounted Nissan logo surrounded by the three-sided chromed frame, which is Nissan's signature grille motif for Crossovers.
Overall, the effect is to bring added visual appeal, meeting the expectations of customers who were previously driving premium hatchbacks or compact executive cars. An added benefit of all these changes is the contribution they make to overall improvement of Qashqai's aerodynamic efficiency.
At the rear, the shape of the lights remain unchanged, but a cleaner lens design has been adopted, with the upper portion, housing the reversing lights and turn indicators, being clear, while the lower section with the brake and nighttime running lights, is red. Additionally, the stop lamp operates using 12 LEDs for maximum clarity.
Eagle-eyed observers will notice that the spoiler mounted on the upper portion of the rear hatchback door has been slightly reprofiled, contributing to an overall reduction in drag.
Further changes to the Qashqai's underfloor design have helped to optimise airflow, also contributing to the reduction in drag. With added a smoother floor area around the engine, additional flat panels along the length of the underbody and optimised deflectors around the front and rear wheels, all the changes that have been made combine to reduce Qashqai's coefficient of drag from 0.34 to 0.33.
Two new exterior colours have been added: Warm Red and Style Grey. Both colours complement the philosophy of added sophistication that runs through the overall restyling.
Additionally, two new designs of alloy wheels will be introduced. Both are five-spoke designs - one 16- one 17-inch in diameter - which both add to the Qashqai's understated presence.
The updated Qashqai will feature a new, cleaner design to the main dials intended to give added clarity and legibility. The two main dials for road and engine speed feature white increments on a black background, with red needles. They are also surrounded with chrome bezels. Within the RPM dial on the left of the binnacle, a smaller temperature gauge is mounted and mirroring that on the speed indicator on the right is the fuel gauge.
Between the two principal dials is a redesigned drive computer whose white LCD screen shows average fuel consumption, mileage, time, cruise control and speed limiter settings.
A new Pearl Grey leather trim has been added, which will combine with an upper door trim and dashboard in black and lower portion of the interior which is also pale grey to give a light, but warm interior ambience.
Another improvement to the interior comes with the fitment of low-level lighting around the front footwells, giving a warmer ambience on getting into the car.
Additional oddment storage has been created for added convenience, with a new cubby at the base of the central cluster which is ideal for a mobile phone or portable audio player. Additionally on the two-wheel drive versions (where the ALL MODE selector isn't fitted), there is a new space for parking tickets, keys and swipe cars conveniently located between the seats just behind the gear selector.
Overall life on board has been made more comfortable for occupants thanks to improved protection against noise, vibration and harshness. This has been achieved by adding an all-new multi-layer insulation material around the front bulkhead, as well as the fitment of an ‘acoustic' windscreen which reduces the transmission of noise.
A reduction in wind noise around the A-pillar has been achieved by changing the window sealing.
Qashqai customer research has shown that they love the blend of solidity and agility, but some small but significant changes have been made to the suspension tuning to further improve ride comfort and responsiveness.
Reduced CO2 version
Finally, building on the improvements to the aerodynamics of the refreshed Qashqai, a new Eco version of Qashqai will be introduced with a reduced CO2 output.
Thanks to some key innovative changes made by engineers at Nissan Technical Centre Europe in Bedfordshire, UK, the Eco Qashqai, equipped with the1.5-litre dCi diesel engine, will wear Nissan's Pure Drive badge, marking it out for consumers as one of the most efficient vehicles in Nissan's range.
A weight reduction programme, the adoption of aerodynamic wheel covers, combined with the blanking of the fog lamp sockets, the fitment of low rolling resistance tyres and the lengthening of the final drive ration have all combined to reduce the Qashqai's CO2 from 137 to 129g/km.
"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. The updates to Qashqai make it even more attractive and will continue to bring new customers to Nissan for the first time," said Simon Thomas, Nissan's European Vice President for Sales and Marketing.
The Qashqai was joined in autumn 2008 by the Qashqai+2, which is longer and taller than the original. QASHQAI+2 was designed to provide greater interior space and more practicality, most obviously with the addition of the a third row of seats that fold away when not in use.
Both Qashqais are available with the choice of front-wheel drive or sure-footed ALL MODE four-wheel drive, while there are 1.6 and 2.0-litre petrol and 1.5 and 2.0 dCi diesel models available, ranging from 115PS to 140PS (petrol) and 106PS to 150PS (diesel).
Both Qashqai and Qashqai+2 were designed at Nissan Design Europe situated in Paddington, London. Principle engineering for both models was undertaken at Nissan Technical Centre Europe, in Bedfordshire, UK and it is manufactured at Nissan's factory in Sunderland, in the north-east of England.