Nissan Qashqai is First Produced

The Nissan Qashqai, known as the Nissan Dualis in Japan and Australia, is a compact crossover SUV produced by the Japanese car manufacturer Nissan since 2007.

It replaced the body-on-frame Mistral as its small SUV offering and its P32L automobile platform will be also used by other forthcoming Nissan crossover SUVs.

The Qashqai has been built at Nissan's NMUK Sunderland, Tyne and Wear plant since December 2006.

It is the first model to be styled by Nissan Design Europe in London, with engineering development led by Nissan Technical Centre Europe (NTCE) in Cranfield, Bedfordshire. It was globally presented at the 2006 Paris Motor Show.

By the end of 2007, Nissan had sold approximately 100,000 Nissan Qashqais in Europe, including 17,554 in UK, 15,376 in Russia, and 10,746 in Italy. Nissan expects to deliver its 500,000th Qashqai before the end of 2009, ahead of a facelift for the 2010 model year.

The Qashqai is exported to the Middle East and additional overseas markets.

Built on an all-new platform, the Qashqai went on sale in February 2007, and Nissan targeted more than 100,000 sales per year. Nissan said the car, named after the nomadic Qashqai tribe in Iran, would cater to those buyers who want a more dynamic design, but are not attracted to the large, aggressive nature of a sport utility vehicle. The car slots below the X-Trail in the Nissan range and partially replaces the conventional Primera (still produced at the Sunderland plant for export markets, but no longer sold in the UK), even though it took the production place of the smaller Almera. In terms of size, its 4,310 millimetres (169.7 in) length and 1,610 millimetres (63.4 in) height make it fall between compact MPVs, such as the SEAT Altea and Renault Scénic; and compact SUVs like the Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage and Mitsubishi Outlander.

The top half of Qashqai has a sleek, dynamic form with a distinctive shoulder line which rises at the rear — a design cue similar to that of the Nissan Murano. The lower portion resembles an SUV due to large, pronounced wheel arches and a slightly elevated ground clearance. The Qashqai uses the same platform as the X-Trail (the vehicle upon which the Qashqai is based), but is not as functional or as off-road capable as the latter. Nissan regards the Qashqai as a rival to such cars as the Toyota RAV-4 and the Honda CR-V. The Qashqai is equipped with an AWD/4WD system and in 2007 received a five star Euro NCAP safety rating — the best ever adult occupant score.

Four engine choices are available: a 114 PS (84 kW; 112 bhp) 1.6 L or a 141 PS (104 kW; 139 bhp) 2.0 L petrol, while the 106 PS (78 kW; 105 bhp) 1.5 L and 150 PS (110 kW; 148 bhp) 2.0 L provide the diesel offerings.

It will cater for those car-buyers who want a more dynamic design than offered by a traditional C-segment car, but are not attracted to the large, aggressive nature of a compact SUV.

The design of the car was led by Nissan Design Europe (NDE) and it represents the first new production vehicle to be designed at NDE since its move to London in 2003. The development programme was led by Nissan Technical Centre Europe based in Cranfield, England, with significant input from Nissan’s engineering base in Japan. Qashqai will be produced at Nissan’s factory in Sunderland, England.

As well as European sales, Qashqai will also be exported from the Sunderland factory to Japan – where it will be named Dualis – the Middle East and additional overseas markets.

The Qashqai is described as a crossover as it inhabits the area where passenger car attributes meet those of a 4x4. In terms of design, the top half of Qashqai is reminiscent of a dynamic passenger car, with a sleek, dynamic form that features a distinctive shoulder line which rises at the rear – a design cue similar to that of the Murano.

The lower portion of the car suggests SUV attributes of strength and solidity thanks to large, pronounced wheel arches, slightly elevated ground clearance and a purposeful stance.

The interior has been designed to give the driver a focused cockpit feeling, with a clear separation between them and their passenger. The deeply recessed instruments give a sporty feeling to the driving environment – a feeling reinforced by the raised central console. However, the front and passenger environments have been designed to feel airy, spacious and relaxing.

In terms of size, QASHQAI sits between C-segment hatchbacks and SUVs. It has a wheelbase of 2630mm, it is 1610mm tall, 1780mm wide and 4310mm long. It is about 100mm longer than a typical hatchback but 150mm shorter than a typical SUV. Similarly, it is taller than rival hatchbacks by between 100 -150mm yet up to 130mm lower than an SUV.

Four engine options will be available, two diesel and two petrol offerings. The 1.6-litre petrol offers 115PS of power and 160Nm or torque, while the 2.0-litre produces 140PS and 200Nm. The diesel engine options – 1.5- and 2.0-litre - provide 106 and 150PS, respectively and 240 and 320Nm of torque.

Several gearbox options are available, according to engine choice. These include a five- and six-speed manual, a new six-speed automatic and a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) option with manual mode.

Both 2.0-litre engine options can be specified with Nissan’s advanced ALL-MODE 4x4 system which gives added security and stability in marginal conditions.

Speaking at the launch event in Paris, Mr Ghosn said: “European customers want it all: dynamic design, driving performance and attractive premium interior. Qashqai delivers it all which is why it will lead our sales growth in Europe and the growth in recognition of Nissan as a truly bold, thoughtful and innovative Japanese brand.”

“We expect Qashqai will sell more than 100,000 units a year on average across Europe – with 80% of those customers buying a Nissan for the first time. Before Qashqai, they drove a premium C-segment car, a compact 4x4 or a D-segment car,” added Mr Ghosn.

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Catalyst for change

Nissan’s new QASHQAI is a catalyst for change. An alternative to traditional choices, QASHQAI mixes elegance, agility and sheer ability in one very different package.
The QASHQAI is same size as a Ford Focus yet smaller than a typical compact SUV, and promises the driving comfort and fun of the former with the ability and practicality of the latter.

Distinctive styling

Its distinctive styling is a marriage of the sleek shape of a passenger car with the strength of a 4x4 to create something fresh and different in the new car market.

Named after a desert-dwelling nomadic tribe living near the Zagros mountains in South Western Iran, QASHQAI (say it Kash-Kai) should be seen as an ‘Urban Nomad’, says Design Director at Nissan Design Europe, Stephane Schwarz.

“It is a car of contrasts for a world of contrasts,” he says. “It is tough and compact for the city but sleek and agile for journeys away from the town. It reflects our personalities, our imagination.”

Although initial design concepts started in Japan, most of QASHQAI’s design and development work has been undertaken in Europe, notably at Nissan Design Europe in London and at Nissan Technical Centre Europe (NTCE) in Cranfield also in the UK. It will be built at Sunderland in Nissan’s award-winning plant in the North East of England. Full production is due to start towards the end of 2006, with sales starting early in 2007.

QASHQAI’s dynamic exterior is matched by a asymetric interior, providing a focused cockpit environment for the driver and a relaxing space for the occupants. High seating positions provide the sense of security normally found in an SUV, yet QASHQAI is a more dynamic performer with the accelerative and handling capabilities of a hatchback.

Four engines

QASHQAI offers a choice of two and four-wheel drive and no fewer than four engines, two diesel and two petrol. The engine range starts with a 1.6-litre 115PS (84kW) petrol and 1.5 dCi diesel developing 106PS (78kW). A pair of petrol and diesel 2.0-litre engines develop 140PS (104kW) and 150PS (110kW) respectively.
Five and six-speed manual transmissions, six-speed automatic and an advanced CVT gearbox are available.

The carefully conceived interior is crammed with intelligent storage solutions for maximum functionality and flexibility, while – as is to be expected from a Nissan – only features that make a difference, rather than technology for technology’s sake, can be found either as standard or on the options list. These include a large panoramic glass roof, automatic headlights and wipers, satellite navigation, reversing camera and Bluetooth connectivity for mobile phones.

Nissan’s highly praised electronically controlled ALL MODE 4x4 system – as pioneered in X-TRAIL – is available on 2.0-litre versions. Despite having greater ground clearance than an ordinary hatchback, however, QASHQAI’s four-wheel drive is there to provide greater traction for safer driving and extra control in all weathers: QASHQAI has not been designed as a go-anywhere 4x4.

Safe and secure

Safety is a key strength of the vehicle, too. A rigid bodyshell providing maximum passive safety is matched by a plethora of active safety features including the latest generation ESP which includes brake torque control and engine torque control. The braking system is similarly advanced and features hydraulic fade compensation (HFC) to provide the ultimate stopping power at all times.

Who will buy QASHQAI? In the same way the car doesn’t conform to the norm, so its customers will tend to be individuals with their own agendas. They will be open-minded and progressive with a passionate appetite for life. They are not among life’s spectators.

“QASHQAI is bold, imaginative and exciting. And it is very different to every other car currently on sale. With QASHQAI, Nissan is determined to SHIFT_ convention,” said Carlos Tavares, Executive Vice President, Product Planning and Corporate Strategy, Nissan Motor Co Ltd.

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Crossover thinking

From certain angles it has the agility of a passenger car, from others the tough stance of an SUV. Put it all together, though, and it quickly becomes clear that QASHQAI is one of a kind: there’s nothing else quite like it on the road.
“QASHQAI is an alternative to the norm. A fusion of different themes and concepts, it blurs boundaries and twists expectations. Is it a compact SUV? Is it a passenger car? Is it at home in the city? The answer is ‘yes’.” Stephane Schwarz, Design Director, Nissan Design Europe

Creating a car that refuses to conform to the norm requires equally non-conformist thinking. Inspiration for QASHQAI came not from other cars on the road – with two notable exceptions – but from culture, food, fashion, art, technology and other everyday influences.

Stephane Schwarz, Design Director at Nissan Design Europe and father of the QASHQAI project, explains: “We, as consumers, are changing. We no longer want to be pigeonholed… and that applies to whatever it is we are buying. We are looking for more creative expression in everything around us.”

Fusion of art and technology

“We are also expecting greater duality from the things we buy: for example, we want warmth from a piece of equipment – a fusion of art and technology. These are very individual, hedonistic times and the first task we, as designers, had to understand was the mindset of the new car buyer.”

It quickly became clear to the team that the new car market was becoming more complex and that as far as many car buyers looking in the C-segment were concerned, conventional hatchbacks and sedans like the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus were no longer exciting enough.

“The car has become an extension of one’s personality and fewer people are prepared to be seen as conventional any more,” says Schwarz. “To cater for them, we started to create a new type of car.”

Break with convention

Work on QASHQAI began in 2003, with the development of a show car that broke cover at the 2004 Geneva Salon. The QASHQAI concept car showed that Nissan was prepared to break with convention with its next offering in the C-segment of the market.
The production version of QASHQAI differs from the concept in a number of important areas but retains its core crossover rationale. Like the Nissan Murano – along with the concept, the only car to influence the design development of the production version – QASHQAI has been designed to appeal to buyers on more than one level.

Its clear combination of sporting attitude with the space and ability offered by a typical compact SUV makes it stand out in a segment of the market full of worthy but dull rivals.

Individual identity

“We have adapted some of Murano’s stance and image for QASHQAI and there are one or two design cues common to both – the upswept side window graphic for example – but QASHQAI is far from being a clone of Murano. Like brothers, they both clearly belong to the same family but have their own individual identities,” says Schwarz.
Design development began in Japan – at the time, Schwarz was Associate Product Chief Designer at Nissan Design Centre in Tokyo, where he worked with product planning, marketing and engineering for various concepts before they reached final design selection for production. QASHQAI was one of those projects.

Once it had been given the go-ahead, the project moved to the newly opened Nissan Design Europe (NDE) facility in London where Schwarz and his team took up his current post in December 2004. NDE is home to more than 60 international designers, modellers and support staff, with a mission to design the next generation of Nissan cars for Europe.

Unique is an oft misused word, but not when mentioned in connection with the new Nissan QASHQAI. A passenger car with SUV attributes, QASHQAI really does bring unique qualities to one of the most conservative sectors of the new car market.

"There's change in the air. As consumers, we are no longer prepared to put up with the dull or the conventional. We want something new, something different� especially when it comes to cars. Well, thanks to the Nissan QASHQAI something different has arrived. You need never drive a boring car again." Carlos Tavares, Executive Vice President, Product Planning and Corporate Strategy, Nissan Motor Co Ltd

Nissan's new QASHQAI is a catalyst for change. A totally new vehicle in a totally new sector of the car market, QASHQAI mixes elegance, agility and sheer ability in one very different package.

The QASHQAI is same size as a Ford Focus yet smaller than a typical compact SUV, and promises the driving comfort and fun of the former with the ability and practicality of the latter.

Distinctive styling

Its distinctive styling is a marriage of the sleek shape of a passenger car with the strength of a 4x4 to create something fresh and different in the new car market.

Named after a desert-dwelling nomadic tribe living near the Zagros mountains in South Western Iran, QASHQAI (say it Kash-Kai) should be seen as an 'Urban Nomad', says Design Director at Nissan Design Europe, Stephane Schwarz.

"It is a car of contrasts for a world of contrasts," he says. "It is tough and compact for the city but sleek and agile for journeys away from the town. It reflects our personalities, our imagination."

Although initial design concepts started in Japan, most of QASHQAI's design and development work has been undertaken in Europe, notably at Nissan Design Europe in London and at Nissan Technical Centre Europe (NTCE) in Cranfield also in the UK. It will be built at Sunderland in Nissan's award-winning plant in the North East of England. Full production is due to start towards the end of 2006, with sales starting early in 2007.

QASHQAI's dynamic exterior is matched by a asymetric interior, providing a focused cockpit environment for the driver and a relaxing space for the occupants. High seating positions provide the sense of security normally found in an SUV, yet QASHQAI is a more dynamic performer with the accelerative and handling capabilities of a hatchback.

Four engines

QASHQAI offers a choice of two and four-wheel drive and no fewer than four engines, two diesel and two petrol. The engine range starts with a 1.6-litre 115PS (84kW) petrol and 1.5 dCi diesel developing 106PS (78kW). A pair of petrol and diesel 2.0-litre engines develop 140PS (103kW) and 150PS (110kW) respectively.

Five and six-speed manual transmissions, six-speed automatic and an advanced CVT gearbox are available.

The carefully conceived interior is crammed with intelligent storage solutions for maximum functionality and flexibility, while - as is to be expected from a Nissan - only features that make a difference, rather than technology for technology's sake, can be found either as standard or on the options list. These include a large panoramic glass roof, automatic headlights and wipers, satellite navigation, reversing camera and Bluetooth connectivity for mobile phones.

Nissan's highly praised electronically controlled ALL-MODE 4x4 system - as pioneered in X-TRAIL - is available on 2.0-litre versions. Despite having greater ground clearance than an ordinary hatchback, however, QASHQAI's four-wheel drive is there to provide greater traction for safer driving and extra control in all weathers: QASHQAI has not been designed as a go-anywhere 4x4.

Safe and secure

Safety is a key strength of the vehicle, too. A rigid bodyshell providing maximum passive safety is matched by a plethora of active safety features including the latest generation ESP which includes brake torque control and engine torque control. The braking system is similarly advanced and features hydraulic fade compensation (HFC) to provide the ultimate stopping power at all times.

Who will buy QASHQAI? In the same way the car doesn't conform to the norm, so its customers will tend to be individuals with their own agendas. They will be open-minded and progressive with a passionate appetite for life. They are not among life's spectators.

"QASHQAI is bold, imaginative and exciting. And it is very different to every other car currently on sale. With QASHQAI, Nissan is determined to SHIFT_ convention," said Carlos Tavares, Executive Vice President, Product Planning and Corporate Strategy, Nissan Motor Co Ltd.
End of Nissan Qashqai review.