Nissan targets downsizing drivers with its new British-built Qashqai SUV 

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Nissan is targeting ‘downsizers’ by offering business class comfort and tech at economy class prices with its next generation British-built Qashqai compact SUV, say bosses.

The interior of the new sports-utility vehicle – to be built at the Japanese firm’s Sunderland factory, whether or not there is a trade deal over Brexit – is said to be inspired by the interior of an Airbus airliner, offering ‘premium feel, distinctive design and enhanced usability’.

Premium kit includes a head-up display that projects directly onto the windscreen (not just a pop-up glass plate), massage seats, high definition displays, and wireless smartphone charging.

Under wraps: These are the first images of Nissan’s forthcoming Qashqai interior. The best-selling SUV will be built in Sunderland, with a hybrid version also produced in the north east

Nicolas Tschann, general manager for SUVs and crossovers at Nissan Europe said: ‘People are not looking for size any more. They are looking for comfort. They are downsizing in their vehicle choices.’

‘We are bringing these features down to the masses.’

He believes that up to a quarter of sales will come from drivers switching from bigger cars into the more compact Qashqai.

The third generation of the family SUV – which first hit the road in 2007 – is set to be launched officially early next year with prices little changed from now and starting from around £20,000.

Nissan bosses have been ‘salami slicing’ its unveiling by drip-feeding details. 

Today, they revealed details of the new Qashqai’s interior. Last month the Japanese car-maker published official images of a camouflaged Qashqai being put through final development in the UK.

The SUV, for the first time with a hybrid powertrain, has been designed and tested in Britain and goes into production at the company’s UK production hub in 2021 following £400million of investment made in the face of Brexit jitters and rumours. 

A new high-definition electronic main 12.3-inch multi-information screen has a choice of layouts and is controlled from a new tactile dial switch on the steering wheel

A new high-definition electronic main 12.3-inch multi-information screen has a choice of layouts and is controlled from a new tactile dial switch on the steering wheel

Nissan says the first production run of cars with be a 50:50 split of manual and automatic gearboxes. The hybrid E-Power version will have an auto transmission

Nissan says the first production run of cars with be a 50:50 split of manual and automatic gearboxes. The hybrid E-Power version will have an auto transmission

Full details of the third-generation have yet to be fully unveiled, with the Japanese brand drip-feeding information about the car, which is seen as the model that has secured Nissan Sunderland's future

Full details of the third-generation have yet to be fully unveiled, with the Japanese brand drip-feeding information about the car, which is seen as the model that has secured Nissan Sunderland’s future

In an era where automatic transmission is becoming increasingly the norm, half of the initial run of Qashqai’s will go against the grain and be produced with manual gearboxes.

Nissan says the interior of the new Qashqai uses new premium materials to create a cabin delivering cutting-edge design and practicality and a ‘smart to the touch’ tactile experience for occupants.

The centre console layout has been upgraded to be more user friendly and includes a new smaller gear selector for automatics. 

On four-wheel-drive versions, a drive mode selector switch has been styled with a matt chrome ring and piano black finish to give drivers a more tactile experience when selecting the various driving modes.

Seats have a new Nappa leather 3D diamond-quilted design that takes more than 60 minutes to embroider.

Massage front seats front have a three program modes in top of the range versions. And there’s a new steering wheel heater option.

New white ambient lighting in the cabin creates ‘a reassuring and calming environment’, designers say.

This large 9-inch Android and Apple-compatible display screen is used for navigation, entertainment and vehicle settings

This large 9-inch Android and Apple-compatible display screen is used for navigation, entertainment and vehicle settings

Nissan insists its family SUV - the best-selling model in its segment since launch - will continue to be produced at the Japanese brand's plant in Sunderland (pictured) from 2021

Nissan insists its family SUV – the best-selling model in its segment since launch – will continue to be produced at the Japanese brand’s plant in Sunderland (pictured) from 2021

Switch gear and buttons have a high quality, tactile feel ‘giving users a sense of confidence and refinement’.

To keep occupants constantly connected, the Qashqai’s advanced infotainment system promises ‘effortless integration’ of up to seven smartphones and devices via in-car Wi-Fi. 

A dedicated app called NissanConnect Services controls and monitors the vehicle. 

There are also front and rear USB charging connections with both USB-A and USB-C ports and a front storage console provides 15-watt wireless charging.

A larger nine-inch Android and Apple-compatible display screen is used for navigation, entertainment and vehicle settings.

The high-end Bose Premium sound system features 10 speakers – plus a bass box in the boot – tuned for optimal acoustic quality.

A new high-definition electronic main 12.3-inch multi-information screen has a choice of layouts and is controlled from a new tactile dial switch on the steering wheel.

The new 10.8-inch head-up display is the biggest in its class and projects key navigation, driver assistance and road information onto the windscreen within the driver’s line of vision to help keep his or her focus on the road ahead.

The car’s system is also compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa devices.

The app allows the owner to control options remotely – including horn, lights and door lock and unlock.

It also gives vehicle ‘health’ alerts such as urgent maintenance and malfunctions.

Drivers can also access TomTom 3D Maps and Live Traffic.

There are also new additions to the Qashqasi to help to mitigate crime.

It comes with a stolen vehicle tracking system option, providing around the clock contact with police. Owners are alerted automatically via their smartphone app if their car has been stolen, allowing the vehicle to be tracked and recovered.

Customers can contact 24 hour assistance to reach the nearest breakdown services – though this is not triggered automatically by an accident.

Melodic seatbelt reminder and turn signal sounds were developed in collaboration with Japanese video game developer Bandai Namco.

Seating comfort has been improved, too. 

Knee room for rear occupants has increased by 2.8cm, with more distance between driver and front passenger. NASA-inspired ‘zero-gravity’ seats aim for optimal posture and reduced fatigue.

Front and rear headroom has increased by 1.5cm thanks to a small increase in exterior dimensions.

Improved seat height and lateral adjustment accommodates a wider range of physiques.

Practical improvements help transport everything from pushchairs to groceries.

Luggage capacity has increased by 74 litres over the previous model thanks in part to the cargo floor being lowered by 2cm. 

There’s a powered hands-free tailgate. 

The new Qashqai's seats have a Nappa leather 3D diamond-quilted design that reportedly takes more than 60 minutes to embroider

The new Qashqai’s seats have a Nappa leather 3D diamond-quilted design that reportedly takes more than 60 minutes to embroider

Boot space in the new Qashqai is claimed to be mproved. Luggage capacity increases by 74 litres over the previous model thanks in part to the cargo floor being lowered by 2cm

Boot space in the new Qashqai is claimed to be mproved. Luggage capacity increases by 74 litres over the previous model thanks in part to the cargo floor being lowered by 2cm

The flexible luggage board system in the rear has been enhanced to allow more variations to suit luggage needs and a 12 volt socket has been added in the rear to power electric cool boxes and the like.

Two front cup holders are spaced further apart to make smaller cups easier to remove.

Door pockets now hold bottles up to 1.5-litre – up from 500ml on the previous generation Qashqai.

Nissan said: ‘Taken all together, from the array of easy-to-use smartphone-based app features, the comfort and convenience of massage seats and a heated steering wheel, the elevated fit, finish and materials, to the extra occupant and storage space, the new Qashqai will, again, extend what customers can expect from a medium-sized crossover.’

The Qashqai will sold for the first time with a new headline grabbing- hybrid powertrain as Nissan ditches diesel. 

A streamlined engine range will includes a 1.3-litre petrol engine available in two power outputs and with 12-volt mild hybrid assistance and a headline-grabbing new hybrid model.

The mild-hybrids – one with 136bhp and the other a more potent 153bhp – will come with the choice of manual transmission or a CVT automatic gearbox , with the latter available with all-wheel drive rather than power being sent solely to the front wheels.

Nissan insists its family SUV – the best-selling model in its segment since launch – will continue to be produced at the Japanese brand’s plant in Sunderland from 2021.

The company last month flatly denied rumours that it and its French partners Renault were about to announce within days that they were shutting down their Sunderland plant over Brexit and pulling out of the UK.

With a Brexit deal deadline looming Nissan insisted: ‘These rumours are not true.’

Nissan bosses have however warned that a ‘no deal’ Brexit and tariffs could threaten the longer term ‘sustainability’ of the Sunderland factory.

And at a Financial Times ‘Future of the Car’ summit last week, Nissan’s chief operating officer Ashwani Gupta side-stepped the issue of Sunderland’s longer-tern future saying only: ‘Let’s wait and watch. Let’s move onto the next question.’

Since launch in 2007, Nissan has sold over three million Qashqais across Europe, with 235,000 of the existing second-generation car sold in 2019 alone.

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