Japanese carmaker Nissan has launched a new car this week… no, hang on, two new cars this week in fact, although looking at the images on these pages we’re sure you can forgive us this slip up.
Naturally both of these new cars are crossovers because that’s apparently all manufacturers know how to make these days.
Take the X-Trail here as an example — Nissan’s even forgotten the model used to be a genuine off-roader rather than just a school-run commuter on jacks. Well now it’s just a crossover, as is the nearly-identical looking new Qashqai launched by Nissan at the same time.
At first look you can’t tell the difference between the two cars, but the crux is that the X-Trail is now available as a three-row seven-seater optionally over the five-seat standard model, and the Qashqai remains a two-row crossover.
Nissan has increased the external dimensions of both vehicles, lengthening the X-Trail by 50mm over its dune-bashing predecessor so it’s now measuring at 4,690mm bumper to bumper, while the smaller Qashqai sees an overall increase of 17mm compared to the old model with the new total at 4,394mm. This makes it a good foot shorter than the X-Trail, so Nissan is really offering a crossover to fit any buyer, so long a they aren’t concerned with looking distinctive.
The Qashqai is ready to go on sale in overseas markets first from this month, having first had its public outing at the Geneva motor show earlier this year when the wraps came off. Nissan says the updated model will offer customers kit such as Bose audio featuring eight speakers, full LEDs, and improved NVH properties for a quieter and smoother ride. The obsessive details extend to the new car’s steering wheel rim which has been fattened up slightly from 34mm to 37.5mm in circumference for a softer grip on the wheel.
When it comes to X-Trail, Nissan says the new model will have technologies including semi-autonomous driving capability when it goes on sale shortly after the Qashqai. The highly successful nameplate for Nissan — 3.7 million have been sold worldwide including in the US where it’s known as the Rogue — made its name somewhat due to its all-terrain ability and more than just soft-roading skills off the beaten path. Popular with beach-goers and active-lifestyle types, the X-Trail has softened up for the crossover crowd this time around and it remains to be seen whether it’ll stay as successful on the sales charts.
The numbers paint a positive picture — the X-Trail is bigger in every area and offers more passenger and cargo space just about everywhere (total space with all seats folded flat is 1,996 litres), and although t European buyers will get a choice of no less than six diesel engine choices, the sole petrol offering at launch is a 163 horsepower 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder mated to a six-speed manual transmission driving the front-wheels only. Naturally when it reaches our shores it’ll be paired up with an automatic transmission offering buyers in the Middle East a choice of two- or all-wheel drive.