This all-new hybrid SUV is unlike any other gasoline-electric vehicle on sale right now, and it’s filled with high-tech features and striking looks.
Designed as a cure for EV addiction, Qashqai e-Power delivers a more powerful hybrid effect with fewer side effects. Although it’s not quite like Nissan says.
“This is the last car you need to buy before going electric,” says Nicholas Chann, director of crossover marketing for Nissan in the region that includes Australia.
“This is electrified driving without a plug,” explains Lucille Laporte, Qashqai Regional Product Manager.
What are they about?
While it is correct to say that the Qashqai e-Power is a hybrid, it does not perform in the same way as other gasoline-powered vehicles on the market.
In the e-Power system, the wheels are driven 100% of the time by an electric motor. Other hybrids send a combination of electric motor and internal combustion engine power to the wheels. Not constantly, but often.
Everything is different in e-government. Its gasoline engine is connected only to a generator.
Electricity from the generator is supplied to the drive motor or, sometimes, to the low-capacity system battery.
Think of the Qashqai e-Power as an electric vehicle with its own on-board power plant.
Claimed benefits include faster, electric vehicle-like acceleration due to the powerful electric motor. Nissan officials also point out that the e-Power does not have the continuously variable transmission that Toyota prefers in its hybrids.
It avoids their typical exhaust rumble when the engine revs hard and the car’s speed catches up. The way Nissan does it shows the relationship between accelerator pedal pressure, engine RPM and vehicle speed that sounds and feels much more natural.
Finally, e-Power turns off its petrol engine more often and for longer than other hybrids.
When Nissan Australia launches the all-new, slightly larger third-generation Qashqai in Australia later this year, all four equipment classes will come with a turbocharged 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine.
e-Power variants with a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo generator will go on sale early next year. Like the current Qashqai, the new one will be built at Nissan’s large UK plant in Sunderland.
The Qashqai e-Power will likely only be available in the top two trim levels, ST-L and Ti, though Nissan Australia has yet to confirm this.
Pricing starts at $33,890 (excluding travel expenses) for the entry-level ST, rising to $37,890 for the ST+, $42,190 for the ST-L, and $47,390 for the Ti. This suggests a price of $45,000 to $50,000 per hybrid.
These prices represent a significant increase over the current version from $5,300 to $8,200 depending on the variant.
We tested the Qashqai e-Power on the roads of the Swedish capital Stockholm, on motorways, country roads and city streets.
While it doesn’t always feel like driving an electric car, e-Power does provide benefits. It also adds to the appeal of the new Qashqai, which is comfortable, attractive and well equipped.
The way it pulls away lacks the instantaneous momentum typical of an electric car. It takes some time for the petrol engine to transfer maximum power to the generator, which supplies most of the juice to a powerful 140kW electric motor.
But when it hits 30 km/h, the e-Power is more like an electric car. There is a smooth burst of acceleration similar to a single-engine battery-powered car.
The Qashqai e-Power is also very quiet thanks to its effective noise reduction system. When driving at medium speed, it is often impossible to determine whether the gasoline engine is running or not.
In stop-and-go traffic, the Qashqai e-Power is often only powered by a small 2kWh battery pack under the front seats. With careful driving, it can travel three to five kilometers on pure electricity.
As a result, this hybrid technology is best suited for urban and urban driving. It is remarkably refined and pleasant to drive in slow moving traffic.
When the pedal is pressed to the floor, the operation of a gasoline engine becomes audible.
And it’s just as fuel efficient as you’d expect from a modern hybrid. After one round of test drives, the Qashqai e-Power on-board computer showed a consumption of 5.2 l/100 km, which is very close to the rating that Nissan expects to receive under the WLTP test standard.
If you haven’t gotten hooked on a hybrid yet, the Qashqai e-Power might change your mind. He is different from others in many ways. But whether it’s similar enough to an electric car to make the switch to pure battery power inevitable is another matter.
NISSAN QASHQAI E-POWER VITALS
PRICE $45,000 (estimate)
SAFETY Automatic emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert with braking, adaptive cruise, blind-spot and lane-keep assist, driver drowsiness alert
ENGINE 1.5-litre 3-cylinder turbocharged petrol electric hybrid; 150 kW / 330 Nm
THIRST 5.3 l / 100 km (estimate)
0-100 km/h 7.9 sec.
Originally published as 2023 Nissan Qashqai e-Power review