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Driven: Nissan Qashqai e-Power Tekna. Image by Nissan.

Driven: Nissan Qashqai e-Power Tekna
After a brief drive in the e-Power last year, we put Nissanís clever hybrid Qashqai to the test on UK roads.

   



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2023 Nissan Qashqai e-Power

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Nissan is rolling out its clever e-Power technology across its SUV range, confident that it's the right technology for urban customers and those unsure about moving to electric power. We've already tested the system in the new X-Trail and the Qashqai, and our relatively brief drives left us underwhelmed. But Nissan knows what it's doing, so we spent a bit more time with the Qashqai e-Power to find out whether this clever hybrid system is really the answer for many customers?

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2023 Nissan Qashqai e-Power Tekna
Price: From £38,860
Engine: 140kW electric motor and 1.5-litre, three-cylinder petrol
Transmission: single-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
Power: 190hp
Torque: 330Nm
Emissions: 119-123g/km
Economy: 52.3-53.3mpg
0-62mph: 7.9 seconds
Top speed: 105mph
Boot space: 504 litres

Styling

Styling-wise, the e-Power version of the Qashqai looks like any other Qashqai you care to mention, at least to the untrained eye. Look closely and you'll spot a flash of glossy black trim across the top of the grille, similar to that of the Nissan Juke Hybrid, which supposedly uses the tweak to improve aerodynamics, as well as differentiating between models. Truth be told, though, the dead giveaway is the e-Power lettering on the doors and the tailgate, which leave you in no doubt as to which version you're looking at.

Interior



Practicality

These e-Power versions of the Qashqai are every bit as practical as their petrol-powered siblings, which means you get exactly the same amount of interior space. Room in the front is ample, while rear passengers get adequate leg- and headroom. The boot is a good size, too, measuring just over 500 litres in five-seat configuration. Naturally, you can fold the back seats down if needs be, giving you even more load-carrying capability, albeit with less space for human occupants.

Performance

Nissan is rolling out e-Power technology across its SUV range, and the system is undoubtedly very clever. Although it has a petrol engine and an electric motor, it isn't a true hybrid because the petrol engine never drives the wheels. Instead, the 1.5-litre unit merely acts as a kind of power station, charging up the battery that feeds the electric motor. Around town, it's supposed to be much more economical than simply having a petrol engine drive the wheels.

In practice, the system feels a little needless, though. It's very smooth and refined, but unless you do a lot of urban driving, it's no more efficient than using a mild-hybrid Qashqai. Although the official economy of around 50mpg is promising, that drops to 40-something in the real world, and at that point the (cheaper) mild-hybrid Qashqai looks like a better bet.

The e-Power is more powerful, though. With 190hp it has a bit more performance than a standard Qashqai, and the electric motor makes it feel quite eager, even if the 7.9-second 0-62mph time doesn't sound all that impressive.

Ride & Handling

Perhaps predictably, the e-Power version of the Qashqai doesn't feel so different from the standard car on the road. Yes, there are differences between the powertrains, but the ride and handling feel much the same. That means, as we discovered in our first drive, the Qashqai e-Power feels pretty comfortable most of the time, with the biggest bumps dealt with fairly well and only the odd pothole creating too big an impact. However, the ride never truly settles down, and there's a kind of bobbly undercurrent even on smooth surfaces, and that gets a bit irritating. Still, it's no worse than the standard Qashqai.

Similarly, our impression of the handling hasn't changed much, and though enthusiasts will hardly be clamouring to drive the Qashqai, it's quite well controlled and it's easy to drive. The steering is too light to have 'proper' fun, but that just makes life easier around town, where Nissan freely admits the Qashqai will spend most of its time.

That means, though, that you can't go expecting off-road capability. Nissan hasn't built an all-wheel-drive e-Power model as yet, so the Qashqai will prove little more capable than a family hatchback when the going gets slippery. The ground clearance might come in handy, though, and mild-hybrid versions of the Qashqai are offered with all-wheel drive.

Value

Qashqai e-Power prices start at £33,670, which is almost £7,000 more than the cheapest Qashqai mild-hybrid. Of course, that isn't really a like-for-like comparison, because the basic Visia versions are not offered with e-Power propulsion, but there's still a difference of £4,300 between the Acenta Premium models fitted with the DIG-T 140 engine and the e-Power system. There's no real difference in terms of specification, either, so that money is essentially all spent on the powertrain.

However, the gap between the e-Power system and the more closely matched DIG-T 158 2WD automatic option is smaller, at just over £2,000. But even so, in the range-topping Tekna+ trim level, the e-Power system takes the price well over the £40,000 mark.

Verdict

There's a lot to like about the Qashqai e-Power, particularly in terms of refinement, but it'll only really make sense if you do most of your miles around town. Real-world economy is more or less on a par with that of the conventional mild-hybrid, particularly on long runs, so few will see much value in upgrading. Nevertheless, this is clever technology that works surprisingly well, and it should be applauded for that.



James Fossdyke - 6 Oct 2023



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2023 Nissan Qashqai e-Power Tekna. Image by Nissan.2023 Nissan Qashqai e-Power Tekna. Image by Nissan.2023 Nissan Qashqai e-Power Tekna. Image by Nissan.2023 Nissan Qashqai e-Power Tekna. Image by Nissan.2023 Nissan Qashqai e-Power Tekna. Image by Nissan.

2023 Nissan Qashqai e-Power Tekna. Image by Nissan.2023 Nissan Qashqai e-Power Tekna. Image by Nissan.2023 Nissan Qashqai e-Power Tekna. Image by Nissan.2023 Nissan Qashqai e-Power Tekna. Image by Nissan.2023 Nissan Qashqai e-Power Tekna. Image by Nissan.








 

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