Author: Jonathan Humphrey - 08 July 2022
Nissan Qashqai e-Power | First Drive
The Nissan Qashqai e-Power is a unique solution for non-EV lovers
Nissan is right there with electrification; e-Power is the name on the badge for this latest Qashqai, aiming for over 40% of Qashqai sales ongoing. But full EVs just don’t suit everyone, so this new Qashqai e-Power may be the one for you.
Since 2007 Nissan pioneered the C-SUV (compact SUV) with the Qashqai and now their drive toward electrification gathers pace. We have already seen the New Juke Hybrid, now the Qashqai e-Power and the Ariya crossover EV. A new compact car and another crossover are also to be announced.
So what’s different with this one? e-Power is a range-extending solution for those not ready to move to a completely electric car. Maybe you have concerns about the charging infrastructure, your motoring needs, distance, or charging worries, or it just wouldn’t fit your current lifestyle.
The answer to this could be e-Power, a new system that drives the vehicle with an electric motor but doesn’t need charging up at all. The onboard 1.5 litre 3-cylinder engine has a variable compression ratio, maximising performance and efficiency. The engine then charges the 2.1kWh lithium-ion battery using an onboard generator/inverter that drives the front wheels with the electric motor. It’s a clever, unique solution, partly an EV, although don’t get too excited about driving in EV mode as only 2-4 miles are possible; this system’s benefits are reducing emissions and returning around 52mpg on the combined cycle and CO2 emissions of 119g/km, with no range anxiety.
On the road, performance is quiet, very relaxed and refined; however, this Qashqai is the quickest one so far, with a 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds and a top speed of 105mph, it’s all very slick and with the drive to the wheels through a motor, it means there is no gearbox required. On twistier roads, the Qashqai e-Power is agile to drive but not overtly sporty; the ride is pretty good on most surfaces.
It’s so smooth that you can’t tell when the motor, engine, or combination are doing what; there is a helpful flow page on the vehicle display to show what’s what. It should be said that Nissan claim in WLTP tests that the engine was not even operating 64 per cent of the time.
One-pedal driving is the way to go; using Nissan’s e-Pedal step is easy to master after just a few miles. The operation harvests power from regenerative braking by pressing or lifting just the accelerator pedal.
The new e-Power models start at £32,950, just £1985 more than the mild-hybrid model. On a regular PCP, the benefits are too many worth the extra cost.
It is loaded with safety systems, including Nissan’s around-view monitor and parking sensors. The Pro-pilot system now with Navi-Link is Nissan’s ‘semi-autonomous’ driver assistance tech, a bonus to use on a trip and proved very beneficial driving at the launch on the ‘zero-tolerance’ to speeding roads around Stockholm. Pro-pilot takes over lane-keeping, car distance, speed and braking – very practical and easy to use with a simple press of one button. On the Tekna models, Pro-Pilot parking assist is also available.
Inside, it’s all very comfortable and premium, with good-looking, quilted leather seats, hard-wearing tactile materials and a modern, cutting-edge feeling.
In the top models from N-Connecta, the instruments now feature two new 12.3inch displays, which Nissan calls an integrated display interface, easy to operate, crisp and clear, designed to minimise eye movement once on the move. Also, with built-in Amazon Alexa communicating with your car is another possibility via a Nissan App. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also included.
The range starts at £32,940 for the Acenta Premium; likely to be the most popular will be the £35,120 N-Connecta models, with the range toppers being Tekna at £38,140 and Tekna+ at £40,980.
Renowned as the car to start the SUV trend and a real success designed in London, engineering from Cranfield and built in Britain. 5.5m Qashqai has been sold in more than 40 countries and a surprisingly high amount of them are still on the road. In the days before we all go electric, we will see many more, and the Qashqai e-Power is now the model to choose. Slightly more expensive, but with reduced running costs, it makes sense.
Author Rating 4.2/5