|Nissan’s sleek "emotional geometry” design language promises a stylish subcompact SUV. (Photo: Nissan)|
Smart move? While Canadians appreciate some differentiation from the 10-times-larger U.S. market, the reality of cross-border advertising bleed makes a strong argument for following the American narrative. Kia, which previously named its Canadian-spec mid-size sedan Magentis, because it rightly considered Canada a separate global market, eventually renamed it Optima to take advantage of marketing
|The Qashqai should find plenty of new buyers for Nissan. (Photo: Nissan)|
Likely due to the unique name, Nissan Canada chose to unveil the Qashqai on the south side of the Detroit River in Windsor, Ontario, the evening before opening
|A nice mix of sporty car-like elements and rugged SUV-like body-cladding should strike a chord with crossover buyers. (Photo: Nissan)|
“The new Qashqai is a great complement to the Nissan CUV lineup,” said Bert Brooks, Senior Manager, Product Planning, Nissan Canada Inc. “While Rogue has been a great success and will continue to appeal to owners with young families, Qashqai fills a need for singles and couples who want the space and versatility of a CUV, but also desire a smaller overall size for urban maneuverability like a passenger car.”
The Qashqai will fill the very narrow gap between the smaller Juke and the larger compact Rogue, which actually grew significantly for this 2017 model year. This means the Qashqai will be slightly larger than most entry-level SUVs it’s up against,
|It’s easy to see the Rogue’s larger size in these profile photos. (Photo: Nissan)|
Of note, the Qashqai isn’t the only experienced subcompact SUV about to make a late splash on North American markets, Ford also announcing that its global EcoSport will be joining the fray for the 2018 model year, while Toyota will introduce
|The Qashqai’s interior appears luxurious in top-line SL trim. (Photo: Nissan)|
Way back in 2010 the Juke and RVR collectively sold just 1,626 units after arriving in October and September respectively, but a full 12 months of calendar year 2011 saw total subcompact SUV sales rise to 13,213, aided by the Mini Countryman joining ranks partway through the year. Since then, thanks to strong sales from the Juke and RVR (the pricier Countryman has driven off a cliff lately) as well as the addition of the challengers already mentioned, the segment achieved
|A driver-centric cockpit appears as if the Qashqai will deliver as much performance as luxury. (Photo: Nissan)|
Comparatively the subcompact car segment has seen mostly declining sales over the same period, and much more dramatically as the subcompact SUV segment has added models. Sales of Nissan’s Versa/Versa Note and others in the class were fairly strong in 2010 despite an industry that was climbing out of a recent recession, with 81,235 delivered that year and 82,484 in 2011. Calendar year 2012 saw growth with 98,190 sales, while 95,278 subcompact car buyers anted up in 2013, and 2014 combined for a high of 99,864. Since then the market for subcompact cars has been drying up, with 78,348 sold in 2015 and just 67,529 last year.
|Nissan promises state-of-the art electronics. (Photo: Nissan)|
Other than the name, a standard six-speed manual transmission, standard heatable front seats, and other cold weather technologies, the Canadian-spec Qashqai will be identical to its U.S. counterpart, including the inclusion of a single direct-injection gasoline-powered 16-valve, DOHC 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine making
|Comfort is king in the SUV sector. (Photo: Nissan)|
The Qashqai we’ll be getting later this year is already well into its second generation, which arrived elsewhere in 2013. This means it’s clothed in Nissan’s “emotional geometry” design language, most expressively used for the brand’s Murano mid-size SUV and Maxima large sedan, albeit still giving its more conservative models, like the Rogue, distinctive character. The Qashqai therefore incorporates Nissan’s signature V-motion grille design, bookended by complex LED-enhanced headlight clusters and other seemingly windswept elements, while a large rooftop spoiler and the brand’s boomerang-shaped tail lamps add a unique look from the rear.
|Rear passenger space is reportedly good for those under six feet tall. (Photo: Nissan)|
“The Qashqai will fill a void in the market,” said Joni Paiva, President Nissan Canada. “It has the functionality of a crossover with the driving abilities of a hatchback.”
|Cargo capacity is good for 648 litres behind the rear seatbacks or 1,730 litres when they’re folded flat. (Photo: Nissan)|
Nissan hasn’t mentioned all available standard and optional features yet, but so far has announced an available 360-degree Around View parking monitor with moving object detection, as well as Nissan Intelligent Safety Shield technologies such as dynamic/active cruise control, forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection,
|Three new names in the subcompact SUV segment promise plenty of options. (Photo: Nissan)|
With the Qashqai, Nissan will have six SUVs in the Canadian market, also including the Juke, Rogue, Murano, Pathfinder and Armada. Being that SUVs are experiencing record sales, the Japanese automaker is poised for strong growth if consumer demand continues in the same trajectory.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)