The Nissan Qashqai has a silly name. Though not as silly as the Qashqai+2, the seven-seat version of the British built small CUV. But silly name not withstanding, the slightly smaller than a Nissan Rogue compact crossover has been something of a sales phenom for Nissan, selling more than 500,000 copies around the world since 2007 despite not being offered in the North American market.
For the 2010 model year, some things are changing, and some aren't. The biggest and most obvious difference is the front end, which is all-new and quite handsome looking. We especially like the sculpted lower fascia and intake. And while it is slightly smaller than the Rogue we do have in America, the Qashqai (named after a nomadic Iranian tribe) looks tougher. In the rear, the song remains largely the same, though the taillights have been slightly revised. The colors you see here are both new -- Magnetic Red and Mineral Gray.
Inside, functionality is up with a new dash computer, gauges, lighting and "oddments" storage. Refinement is also up, with more baffling in place to reduce NVH, along with a revised windscreen and A-pillars to cut wind noise. The suspension has also been redesigned to improve both ride comfort and handling. All in all, the Qashqai looks to be a pretty tasty package. But you can almost set your watch to the fact that Nissan will not be bringing it to our red, white and blue shores, and while we like the Rogue just fine, we'd just assume that Nissan give us this one instead. What do you think? Check out the ress release after the jump and the high-res gallery below, and then let us know which one you'd prefer to see on sale in America.
NISSAN QASHQAI CROSSOVER UPDATED FOR 2010
* New front-end design for British built Qashqai and Qashqai+2
* LED rear lights and two new colours add to 2010 makeover
* Added refinement across the range
* New Pure Drive version with 129g/km CO2 emissions
* Qashqai available from £15,395
Built in Britain and better than ever – the Qashqai is being revised for 2010. Nissan's mid-size crossover model will undergo an extensive update in the spring of 2010 to cement its position as the class-leading, pioneering alternative to the traditional hatchback.
Since its European launch in March 2007, the Qashqai has exceeded all sales ambitions, with the 500,000th customer delivery scheduled to take place later this month. This has helped the British manufacturing industry through the recession, as all Qashqais are built at Nissan's Sunderland plant here in the UK.
The updates to Qashqai and Qashqai+2 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 premium sophistication, presence and quality. The new front-end design is shared with 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.
Two New Exterior Colours
Two new exterior colours have been added: Magnetic Red and Mineral Grey. Both colours complement the philosophy of added sophistication that runs through the overall restyling.
Additionally, two new alloy wheel designs will be introduced. Both are five-spoke designs – one 16- one 17-inch in diameter – which both add to the Qashqai's understated presence.
As well as the changes to the front of the Qashqai, a series of other modifications around the car have had the effect of improving its aerodynamic efficiency, with the coefficient of drag dropping from 0.34 to 0.33.
Inside, the Qashqai features a new design to the main dials which give added clarity and legibility. A redesigned drive computer is positioned between the two dials. Its white LCD screen shows instantaneous and average fuel consumption, mileage, time, cruise control and speed limiter settings among others, providing the driver with an easy to understand interface.
Further improvements to the interior come in the shape of low-level lighting around the front footwells, giving a warmer ambience inside.
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 cards conveniently located between the seats just behind the gear selector.
Life on board the Qashqai has been made even more comfortable 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.
Occupants will also notice a reduction in wind noise around the A-pillar, achieved by changing the window sealing.
Qashqai customer research has shown that drivers 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.
New Pure Drive 129g/km Version
One of the most significant changes to the Qashqai range is the addition of a new Pure Drive variant. Wearing the badge reserved only for the Nissan models with the most environmentally efficient economy and emissions, this special Qashqai produces only 129g/km of CO2.
A weight reduction programme and 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 ratio all work to maximise the Qashqai Pure Drive's efficiency. The measures are so effective that CO2 emissions from the 1.5-litre dCi diesel engine have been reduced from 137 to 129g/km. The Qashqai Visia Pure Drive is priced at £16,795.
Ensuring the top quality Qashqai remains a top seller in the UK, prices remain highly competitive. Complete with its new styling and dynamic enhancements, the entry-level model costs £15,395, while ownership of a diesel powered Qashqai is available from £16,795.
What's more, ESP is now fitted as standard across range adding to the Qashqai's reassuring safety equipment. The specification of Acenta grade and above has now been enhanced with the inclusion of a standard Speed Limiter, while Tekna gains a Bose speaker system. All equipment upgrades apply to both Qashqai and Qashqai+2.
Simon Thomas, Nissan's European Senior Vice President for Sales and Marketing comments: "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."