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Nissan crosses over into new territory. Image by Nissan.

Nissan crosses over into new territory
Nissan has revealed the new Qashqai, a true crossover vehicle.
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Ahead of its world debut at the forthcoming Paris Motor Show, Nissan has released photographs and specifications of its all-new car, the Qashqai, in the process apparently carving out a new market niche.

The Qashqai name (pronounced 'kash-kai') comes from a nomadic tribe living in the desert in South Western Iran and Nissan's designers believe that its buyers will be nomadic in nature too, willing to make unconventional choices. Nissan is no stranger to exploring niche markets, with the Note and Murano both successful examples of crossover vehicles. The new Qashqai builds on that by combining the attributes of a hatchback the size of a Ford Focus with those of a compact SUV. Stephane Schwarz, Design Director of Nissan Design Europe summed it up for us: "Qashqai is an alternative to the norm. A fusion of different themes and concepts, it blurs boundaries and twists expectations. Is it an SUV? Is it a passenger car? Is it at home in the city? The answer is 'yes'."

Let's not try to pigeonhole the new car just yet and take a closer look. Your take on the car's styling really depends on the angle you approach the Qashqai from. In a similar way to the Dodge Caliber, the Nissan has the appearance of a tall hatchback with chunkier than normal detailing around the lower half of the car. There is extra ground clearance too and sturdy looking bumpers. The upper half of the car could be straight off a regular Nissan family car. Surprisingly, the Qashqai shares a minimal number of design cues with the bigger Murano, the designers instead opting to give the new car its own identity, especially so at the front.

We won't see the Qashqai in the metal until the Paris Show later this month, but the pictures of the interior indicate that this car is not in competition with the bargain basement end of the family hatch market. The dashboard is stylishly simple and well laid out, while the shapely steering wheel houses what appear to be controls for the cruise control, Bluetooth-connected mobile phone and the infotainment system. Of course, some of those items will be optional. One of the photographed cars features a full-length glass roof, which should enhance the interior ambience no end and also adds to the car's exterior appearance.

Pricing will be announced closer to the car's first deliveries to the dealers early in 2007, but we have been told that there will initially be two petrol engine options (1.6-litre, 113bhp and 2-litre, 138bhp) and two diesel units (1.5-litre, 105bhp and 2-litre, 148bhp). Depending on engine and trim level, customers can choose between five and six-speed manual transmissions, a six-speed automatic or a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). Four-wheel drive will be an option on 2-litre versions of the Qashqai, but Nissan is quick to point out that this is to enhance stability and grip in all weathers, not for serious off-roading.

Watch out for our driving impressions of the new Nissan Qashqai on our Nissan Road Tests page early in 2007.

Shane O' Donoghue - 6 Sep 2006


2007 Nissan Qashqai. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.2007 Nissan Qashqai. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.2007 Nissan Qashqai. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.2007 Nissan Qashqai. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.2007 Nissan Qashqai. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.

2007 Nissan Qashqai. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.2007 Nissan Qashqai. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.2007 Nissan Qashqai. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.2007 Nissan Qashqai. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.2007 Nissan Qashqai. Image by Nissan.









www.nissan.co.uk    - Nissan road tests
- Nissan news
- Qashqai images







2007 Nissan Qashqai. Image by Nissan.
 

 
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