- Unique hybrid e-POWER system
- Fast acceleration
- Classy interior design
The SUV that set the mould for family crossovers is one of the most common sights on our roads.
Loved by retirees and young families alike, there’s a lot that is new about the latest Nissan Qashqai.
This variant is rather special. It’s got a novel blend of electric and petrol power that no other firm has tried.
It allows most of the benefits of fully-electric car without the negative of range anxiety because the engine’s job is to act as a generator to the front mounted electric motor, which then drives the front wheels.
Engines and Performance
The Qashqai is largely comfortable, although the extra weight of the battery has tended to make the handling less dainty. Nevertheless, most surfaces are dealt with is composed fashion and the steering, though quite light, is accurate and well geared.
The result is basically an electric driving experience without the worry of recharging because in your back pocket there’s the safety net of a good old-fashioned petrol combustion engine. Of course, you still use petrol, but it’s got a pretty miserly thirst.
It may sound a bit complex, but in practice it all works easily and well with strong linear acceleration.
This e-POWER model is by far the swiftest Qashqai on the market, with 62mph coming up in less than 8.0 seconds.
Another plus is the absence of a gearbox, which avoids the irritation of CV transmission with its wearisome droning sound that afflicts many electric models.
We regularly managed over 50mpg, and even pressing on, we seldom dropped below the 40mpg mark. While running costs are pretty reasonable, company drivers don't get the tax benefit of ultra-low C02 that plug-in hybrid drivers receive.
Design and Practicality
Away from the tech innovations, the Qashqai remains an easy and pleasing all-rounder to live with.
In its latest incarnation, the cabin is well finished and quite classy – lots of tactile, soft touch surfaces and a big touchscreen that's backed up by some physical knobs to control heating and air conditioning rather than them all being digital.
There are plenty of cupholders, storage boxes and cubbies to hide the inevitable clutter, as befits a family crossover.
As you’d expect from a modern SUV, space is generous, with ample shoulder and legroom all round and a decent sized boot. The boot platform can be adjusted to allow extra height – it’s capable of carrying about 500 litres of luggage, and the rear seats split and fold to increase its capacity.
Equipment and Technology
There are a few buttons for the driver to play with. Perhaps the most relevant one is the e-POWER button, which allows serious regenerative braking, so much so that you feel strong retardation the second you lift off the gas.
There’s also a choice of several driving modes and by shifting the gear selector lever, regenerative braking is either increased or decreased.
The Qashqai e-POWER Tekna is a good half-way house en route to a fully electric car. It comes with an excellent standard package which includes: glass panoramic roof, rear spoiler, roof rails, heated front seats, and rear privacy glass.
This is a great choice for a family to run without running out of battery during typical day-to-day life.