Nissan Qashqai

Nissan unveils bold look for updated Qashqai, still made in UK

Changes only go skin deep

Nissan has unveiled its updated Qashqai family SUV ahead of the British-built model’s launch later this year.

Although the revamped car is mechanically identical to the outgoing model it has a very different front-end design, which Nissan hopes will increase the car’s already plentiful appeal.

A perennial best-seller

Throughout its various iterations, the Qashqai has been among the most popular new cars in the UK, having more or less pioneered the compact SUV genre. During the first three months of 2024, the Qashqai was the UK’s second most popular new car, with more than 14,500 examples registered.

The updated model, which is set to launch later this summer, is designed to build on that success with a brave new design and an increased focus on technology.

Externally, the newcomer is set apart by a wider grille, the design of which is apparently influenced by ancient Japanese armour, with its comma-shaped ‘scales’.

New-look headlights mimic the grille’s comma shapes in their LED daytime running lights.

Further back, the rear lights have also been redesigned, although they fit into the same apertures as before. With a new four-element style that complements the grille, the lights are now coloured with a new “Super Red” hue, while the lenses are clear to accentuate the light signature.

New trim level and paint colours

Nissan has also given the Qashqai a new gloss black finish around the body beneath the doors and wheelarches. However, the black is substituted for the body colour in the new N-Design trim, which is intended to accentuate the car’s shape with a cleaner, sportier look, and comes with bespoke 20in alloy wheels.

At the same time, Nissan has announced three new paint colours, including Deep Ocean. This is something of a halfway house between dark blue and teal, although the colour changes slightly depending on the light conditions.

Deep Ocean is one of five Qashqai colours offered in combination with a black roof for a two-tone paint finish.

While Nissan may have made major changes to the Qashqai’s nose, it has applied much more subtle upgrades to the cabin, where there’s greater focus on premium materials but little change in the design.

More upmarket models will get sporty Alcantara material on the dashboard, door inserts and arm rests, as well as on the knee pads, while new patterned materials can be found on the gear selector, centre console and upper dashboard.

New seat trims have also been introduced on the upper three grades of Qashqai, with partially quilted leather on the top-of-the-range model.

Enhanced technology offering

But technology is the real headline act, with Nissan offering customers a choice of 64 new ambient lighting colours and some upgraded touchscreen systems. Google Maps is integrated into the screen, offering a smartphone-like experience, while Google Assistant voice activation tech is also included. The Google Play store is also available so customers can download other apps as they see fit. Those with Apple iPhones can still connect via Bluetooth, of course.

Nissan has also overhauled its Around View Monitor, the 360-degree manoeuvring camera system, offering drivers a selection of viewpoints and an “invisible hood” system that allows drivers to see a computer-generated image of the front wheels and their surroundings on the screen, helping with manoeuvring in tight spaces.

That isn’t the only safety tech on board, though, with Nissan also upgrading the autonomous emergency braking system that can stop the car if the driver fails to react to a hazard. It now responds more sharply and will activate the hazard lights when in operation, warning vehicles behind.

And Nissan has added a new emergency lane-keeping system that is automatically activated when the Qashqai starts, but customers who find such technology intrusive will be able to set a Driver Assist Custom Mode that allows them to tailor their preferences when it comes to driver aides. When the driver’s profile is activated on vehicle start-up, the systems can then be set to the driver’s preferred arrangement.

For all Nissan’s tech and design changes, though, the upgraded Qashqai has exactly the same engines and running gear as the outgoing model, with customers getting a choice of either mild-hybrid petrol power or Nissan’s e-Power full hybrid system, which uses an electric motor to drive the wheels and a petrol engine as an on-board generator that keeps the battery charged.

As before, the new Qashqai will be built in Sunderland, where more than 1.3 million Qashqais have been manufactured since 2007. The Wearside factory has been part of Nissan for almost 40 years, and more than 11 million cars have been built there.

Today, it is home to the Juke and Qashqai production lines, although production of the Leaf ended this year ahead of restarting when a new model is launched in 2026.

Nissan is yet to reveal any prices or specifications for the new Qashqai, but more details are expected ahead of the car’s market launch later this year.

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