The facelifted Nissan Qashqai has been revealed at the Geneva motor show with a new range-topping trim, more aggressive front end design and semi-autonomous technology to refresh the big-selling crossover in the face of new competition.
The upgraded model will be one of the first mainstream SUV adopters for semi-autonomous technology and will able to steer, accelerate and brake in a single lane on the motorway.
The system will be able to be updated and next year it will be able to change lanes by itself and Nissan says by 2020 it will be able to navigate through junctions.
"The experience we are delivering to customers inside the cars will be calming and quieter," says Nissan's vice president of product planning for Europe Ponz Pandikuthira. "It is the technology that makes the Qashqai the game changing car."
The Qashqai has been a global sales sensation for Nissan since its launch in 2006, kick-starting a crossover boom which continues to sweep across the automotive industry.
However, in recent years the Qashqai has faced growing competition from a number of other manufacturers. Cars like the Volkswagen Tiguan and Kia Sportage are providing tough rivalry, so this facelift is Nissan’s chance to reassert its dominance in the segment.
Upgrades to the interior of the facelifted Qashqai include a new-look infotainment system and a new steering wheel with updated multi-function controls.
An updated options list now includes a seven-speaker sound system, while new Tekna+ trim tops the range aimed at the growing market of premium buyers. Tekna+ gets new alloys, Nappa leather seats and more luxurious materials around the centre controls, and it will push the Qashqai into rivalry with premium crossovers like the BMW X1 and Audi Q3
Engines will be carried over from the current model, which means there will be the same choice of 1.2-litre and 1.6-litre petrol options, as well as 1.5-litre and 1.6-litre diesels.
There’s also upgrades to the safety equipment available on the Qashqai. The automatic emergency braking now gets pedestrian detection, while there’s a rear cross traffic alert to help while reversing.
The Qashqai currently starts from £18,795 but because of these upgrades it’s expected that the price will rise for facelift. It won’t be a steep increase though because Nissan will want the crossover to remain competitive in the segment – at its current price it is already slightly more expensive than the Ateca and Sportage.
Although no electric powertrains have been mentioned for the facelift, Pandikuthira revealed that more electric vehicles are on the way.
"We are busy creating more electric vehicles so watch this space," Pandikuthira said.
Written by Doug Revolta.