Nissan is displaying the company’s new ‘compact crossover, the Qashqai (pronounced “Kash-Kai”), which was publicly unveiled by Nissan Motor President and CEO Carlos Ghosn in Paris last month, at Auto Africa this month.
“We’re delighted that we have have Qashqai as one of the main attractions on our stand at this year’s Auto Africa, South Africa’s first international standard motor show,” said Gerhard Fourie, Nissan’s general manager of marketing and planning.
“The Qashqai is inspired by the concept car of the same name that was presented at the 2004 Geneva Motor Show and is a new vehicle for Nissan in Europe, with sales starting in February 2007. To have it available for public showing in South Africa so soon after its world debut in Paris is a bit of a coup for us.
Nissan South Africa also confirmed that Qashqai will go on sale in South Africa towards the third quarter of 2007.
“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,” added Fourie.
“Qashqai is a crossover 4×4”, said Carlos Ghosn at the Paris launch, with its name derived from an Iranian nomadic tribe.
Ghosn said that the budget for the development of Qashqai, which is being built at Nissan’s Sunderland plant in the UK, was over 300 million euros and that Nissan expected to sell over 100 000 a year.
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.
The Qashqai is described as a crossover as it inhabits the area where passenger car attributes meet those of a 4×4. 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 2 630 mm, it is 1 610 mm tall, 1 780 mm wide and 4 310 mm long. It is about 100 mm longer than a typical hatchback but 150 mm shorter than a typical SUV. Similarly, it is taller than rival hatchbacks by between 100 to 150 mm yet up to 130 mm lower than an SUV.
Four engine options will be available in Europe, two diesel and two petrol offerings. The 1.6-litre petrol offers 84 Kw of power and 160 Nm or torque, while the 2.0-litre produces 103 Kw and 200 Nm. The diesel engine options – 1.5- and 2.0-litre – provide 78 Kw and 110 Kw respectively and 240 and 320 Nm 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 4×4 system, which gives added security and stability in marginal conditions.