Windsor, ON – For the past decade, the Nissan Qashqai has been one of Europe's best-selling SUV/crossover vehicles and for almost that long it has been rumoured to be headed for North America as well. Now in 2017 those rumours, hints and speculations have become fact with an exclusive reveal at the Canadian Historical Aircraft Association in Windsor, Ontario, on the eve of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The Qashqai compact crossover will come to both Canada and the United States as a 2017 model in the spring. It will slot in-between the entry-level Juke and the recently enlarged Rogue. Apart from a six-speed manual transmission and some cold weather technologies that include standard heated front seats offered in Canada, the major difference between the two North American markets is that it will be called the Rogue Sport on the U.S.
In the past, the Qashqai wasn’t priced competitively for it to succeed on this side of the pond, but with the strength of the compact crossover segment, Nissan couldn't pass up an opportunity to bring in one of the most successful European sellers. In addition, the success of the Nissan Micra in Canada laid the foundation for Nissan to take a confident step to increase its lineup without having the same nameplate in the United States.
“The Qashqai will fill a void in the market,” said Joni Paiva, President Nissan Canada. “It has the functionality of a crossover with the driving abilities of a hatchback.”
The Qashqai is now well into its second-generation that began in 2013. It was one of the first vehicles to combine 4x4 capability in a vehicle that more resembles a hatchback's size.
About the new Qashqai
The Juke may be the official entry-level utility vehicle for the Nissan brand, but the Qashqai fits in as the smallest conventional crossover/SUV. It will use the same platform as the Rogue, but it is 58 mm (2.3 inches) shorter in wheelbase and 307 mm (12.1-inches) shorter in overall length.
Functionality and versatility are two keys for the Qashqai's success. There's plenty of head and leg room in the front; while anyone under six feet should have no problem with space in the second row. Cargo space behind the seats is 648 litres and if more is needed the second row can fully fold flat or with a 60/40 spilt, creating up to 1,730 litres of space.
As for styling, the Qashqai uses an exterior design theme that Nissan is calling “emotional geometry,” which resembles the design used on the Rogue and Murano. The front showcases Nissan's signature V-shaped grille, whichis complemented by swept-back headlights with LED signature daytime running lights. Body lines provide it some character and it is finished off with sleek boomerang-shaped taillights and a rear spoiler.
Around the globe, the Qashqai is offered with both gasoline and diesel options, but Canada will make it simple for consumers, offering only the 2.0-litre inline-four that produces 141 hp and 147 lb-ft of torque. The engine will be matched with a choice of a six-speed manual transmission, available only in the base S trim, or Nissan’s Xtronic CVT. All-wheel-drive will be available, but front-wheel-drive will be standard. According to Nissan Canada, the Qashqai will provide a balanced driving performance with nimble handling and great fuel economy.
Where the Qashqai will do its damage
Nissan is hoping to make a dent in the subcompact crossover market, where the Qashqai will compete with the Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade, Chevrolet Trax, Subaru Crosstrek, Hyundai Tucson and the soon-to-be produced Toyota C-HR and Ford EcoSport.
With the Qashqai doing well globally, Nissan North America is ready to take advantage of a booming crossover/SUV market here as well. If the Qashqai can catch on as well as the Rogue – currently the number-four SUV/crossover in sales in Canada and number-three in the United States for 2016 – Nissan will be sitting pretty by the end of the decade.