The Nissan QASHQAI, launched in South Africa in the fourth quarter of 2007, has proved to be a popular model with South African and international motorists. Initially available in 1.6-litre petrol and 2.0-litre petrol derivatives, South African consumers will now also have the choice of 2.0-litre diesel and all mode 4x4..
The overwhelming success of the Nissan QASHQAI has led to capacity expansion at both the Sunderland plant in the UK and Kyushu plant in Japan. This expansion has resulted in a speed up in supply globally including South Africa.
Bright future ahead for Nissan Qashqai“Globally the QASHQAI has exceeded all sales expectation and South Africa is no different,” says Nathalie Lopez-Ruiz, Nissan QASHQAI Product Manager.“The introduction of the 2.0-litre diesel derivatives mark an exciting time for us as the QASHQAI continues to grow in popularity in South Africa.”
There will be two Nissan QASHQAI 2.0 dCi models available; the Acenta and the Tekna. The Acenta features the same engine unit and is available in 4x2 guise with identical specifications to the 2.0l petrol Acenta. The Tekna, flagship of the range, features Nissan’s acclaimed ALL MODE 4X4® and is offered with a choice of either leather or cloth trim and 17” alloy wheels.
The Nissan QASHQAI 2.0dCi is equipped with a second-generation common rail direct injection motor for improved performance, refinement and emissions. The 1 995cc diesel unit produces 110kW@4000rpm of power at 320Nm@2000rpm of torque. This results in a combined cycle fuel consumption figure of 6.6l/100km for the 4x2 model and 7l/100km for the all mode 4x4 model.
The 2.0dCi is a brand new engine fitted with a Bosch piezoelectric-controlled injection system. Piezelectric technology gives fast, very precise control allowing a ‘five squirt’ injection cycle: two pre-squirts, one main squirt and two post-squirts.
The pre-squirts improve engine acoustics by minimizing the characteristic diesel clatter. The post-squirts sustain the main injection combustion, to burn off soot and thus bring down pollutant emissions before the exhaust gases have even left the combustion chamber.
Acoustics was one of the engineering priorities for the new engine. The bottom of the engine, with its aluminium bedplate, is designed for higher efficiency and improved vibration absorption. Twin counter rotating balancer shafts cancel crankshaft rotary vibration, making a major contribution to refinement.
ALL MODE 4X4® QASHQAI’s four-wheel drive system incorporates some of the most sophisticated technology available anywhere on the 4x4 market. Developed by Nissan, the ALL MODE 4X4® system allows secure relaxed driving with advanced electronics taking care of all traction needs.
In essence, ALL MODE 4X4 ensures QASHQAI has grip at all times no matter how severe the conditions. ALL MODE 4x4® uses advanced electronics rather than dual hydraulic pumps to ensure drive is transferred between wheels and axles the instant a problem arises.
Under normal conditions, the Nissan QASHQAI operates in front-wheel drive which reduces energy losses and saves on fuel. The instant wheel slippage is detected however, a centre clutch in the rear final drive is electronically activated and drive is correctly appointed between front and rear axles.
Three Mode System
The system has three modes, selected via a switch on the centre console. In 2WD, the system is permanently set in front-wheel drive, ideal for fine weather on-road use. When the Lock setting is pushed, however, the system switches to permanent four-wheel drive mode with drive split 50:50 front and rear.
The most often used mode, however, is ‘select-and-forget’ Auto, in which the system is left to its own devices. Sensors linking the engine’s ECU with the four-wheel drive and ABS controller constantly monitor wheel slippage and automatically send signals to the electromagnetic centre clutch mounted just ahead of the rear axle to apportion torque correctly.
Left in Auto, the system will automatically compensate for unexpected slippery conditions on-road, such as wet leaves or loose gravel.
Advanced Electronic Systems
ALL MODE 4X4® is inextricably linked to Bosch’s eighth generation Electronic Stability Programme (ESP). Using sensors linked to the brakes, steering, wheels and the body itself, ESP constantly monitors the way the car is being driven.
From the steering angle and wheel speeds, ESP calculates what manoeuvres the driver intends to perform and from signals from the yaw-rate and lateral acceleration sensors ESP recognises whether the vehicle might skid off course. In an emergency ESP reacts swiftly, and by selectively applying the brakes at each wheel ESP ‘steers’ the vehicle in the desired direction.
Among the other electronic control systems that the Nissan QASHQAI has in its armory are cornering brake control (CBC) and EUC, which stands for enhanced understeer control. In the latter case, the system applies the brakes to all four wheels to reduce excessive understeer. Finally, hydraulic fade compensation (HFC) prevents brake fade after a period of heavy brake usage.
The QASHQAI’s dynamic exterior is matched by an asymmetric interior, providing a focused cockpit environment for the driver and a relaxing space for the occupants. High seating positions provide the sense of security normally found in an SUV, yet QASHQAI is a more dynamic performer with the accelerative and handling capabilities of a hatchback.
The carefully conceived interior is crammed with intelligent storage solutions for maximum functionality and flexibility. There is also a vast array of specification that includes automatic headlights and wipers, Bluetooth connectivity for mobile phones, dual zone climate control, power windows and mirrors and audio controls on the steering wheel to name but a few.
Safety remains a key strength of the vehicle. A rigid body shell providing maximum passive safety is matched by a plethora of active safety features including the latest generation ESP which includes brake torque control and engine torque control. The braking system is similarly advanced and features hydraulic fade compensation (HFC) to provide the ultimate stopping power at all times. With all these and more, the Nissan Qashqai achieved a 5 Star Euro NCAP rating for adult occupant protection.
“The arrival of the diesel and all mode 4x4 models will further strengthen the Nissan QASHQAI line-up,” continues Lopez-Ruiz. “Consumers now have a choice of three engine variants in different specification levels. This will allow us to meet the growing demand we are witnessing at dealerships around the country.”
The Nissan QASHQAI 2.0 dCi comes with a 3 year/ 100,000km warranty as well as a 3 year/ 90 000km service plan with service intervals stationed at 15 000kms.