Guest Contributor | Nov 14, 2022 | 0
All new Nissan Qashqai: Elevating the drive
Underpinning the all-new Nissan Qashqai is the new Alliance CMF-C platform, which has allowed Nissan’s product-planners, designers and engineers to create a vehicle which succeeds in reconciling the challenging customer demands in terms of design, spaciousness, dynamics and carbon footprint.
The CMF-C platform is a completely new architecture, designed and developed to ensure the vehicles it carries are competitive, offering the driving and ownership experience that customers will need in a time of dramatic progress in the automotive industry.
In terms of driving dynamics, one of the most significant factors in the dynamic performance is the overall increase of stiffness in the new Qashqai’s body in white – with a 48% improvement compared to the outgoing model. With a more rigid basis, Nissan’s engineers have been able to more precisely tune the suspension spring and damper rates, knowing they are reacting to the changes in surfaces – not the movements of the platform. This increases precision, response and reduces vibrations.
Despites its overall increase in stiffness, the bodyshell is over 60kg lighter which contributes to the new Qashqai’s overall efficiency, while also reducing inertia when driving, so drivers will feel the improvement in agility.
There are two rear suspension configurations, with a torsion beam being the configuration for two-wheel drive Qashqai on 19-inch wheels or below. The torsion beam has been upgraded from the outgoing Qashqai, with a new upper body insulator which increases local body stiffness and reduces the transmission of vibrations to the passenger compartment. And the addition of an uprated bump stop, which helps to infuse the rear suspension with a more supple motion and protection from shocks.
To maximise the effectiveness of the dampers, their orientation has been changed to a more vertical position which reduces friction and therefore optimises their performance, ensuring better bump absorption and a smoother ride, as well as providing better roll control.
Customers who order their Qashqai with 20-inch wheels or all-wheel drive will enjoy classleading poise and comfort that comes from the multi-link rear suspension configuration. The wheel placement on the road remains optimised through direction changes, as well as camber changes and, most noticeably, roads with poor and bumpy surfaces. The springing gives a connected feeling with the road, with a positive response in bends thanks to well controlled body-roll, without compromising comfort while the damping immediately returns the car to an even keel after undulations. Equally, on both suspension set-ups the insulation from road noise and vibrations remains one of the Qashqai’s finest attributes, with refinement comparable to vehicles from higher segments.
Reworked steering configuration
Drivers of the outgoing Qashqai will immediately notice the positive changes to the steering, where the feeling around the straight-ahead position is more positive and defined. This is a consequence of moving the power assistance motor directly adjacent to the steering rack. This has reduced the feeling of friction through the steering wheel, but gives a more natural increase in steering effort as more steering lock is applied.
The steering ratio has changed from 19.1:1 to 14.7:1, resulting in a quicker response on turn-in. Combined with the stiffer chassis, drivers will immediately detect the improvement in agility, increasing the sense of fun-to-drive. The turning circle remains unchanged compared to the outgoing model at 11.5m.
Another advantage of the CMF-C platform is that it has allowed the fitment of 20-inch wheels, without affecting the turning lock of the front wheels or compromising the ingress and egress of the rear doors.
Two innovative electrified powertrains
Qashqai will come with two different powertrain options, the 1.3-litre petrol with mild hybrid, which is offered with two outputs.
The 12V ALiS (Advanced Lithium-ion battery System) mild hybrid system available on new Qashqai is a more affordable hybrid technology that provides torque assist, extended idle stop, quick restart and coasting stop (Xtronic only), with improvements to both fuel economy and CO2 output (-4g/km). The ALiS mild hybrid system adds just 22kg to the overall vehicle mass.
When decelerating, energy is recovered through regeneration and stored in the Lithiumion battery. This charged energy is then supplied during Idling Stop, Coasting Stop (Xtronic versions only) and Torque Assist.
When coasting to a stop, at speeds of less than 18 km/h, with light braking, the engine will switch off and the stored energy is used to power the vehicle’s electrical equipment. This allows engine stop to be extended and fuel consumption lowered as a result.
A six-speed manual gearbox is the standard option for the new Qashqai. It possesses a positive action, with clearly defined ratios tuned to offer responsive acceleration on the middle gears, with the higher gears optimised for quiet and efficient driving.
The new Xtronic automatic gearbox is designed to offer the best of both worlds in day to day driving. Around town, with partial throttle openings, acceleration is seamless, while the engine speed remains constant. When immediate acceleration is required, the gearbox instantly finds the optimum ratio and reacts in a stepped fashion, giving a more connected feeling.
The all-wheel drive system has been upgraded, with a new direct coupling which sends power to the rear wheels five times faster than the previous generation when it detects front wheel slip. And there is more driver interaction thanks to the addition of a new drive mode selector on the centre console. It allows the driver to choose the all-wheel drive setting according to the conditions, with Standard, Eco, Sport, Snow and Off-Road modes.
After its initial introduction, Qashqai will be offered with the innovative e-POWER powertrain, which brings the well-known advantages of an EV, such as linear, effortless acceleration and refined performance, without consideration for recharging. The battery is charged thanks to a three-cylinder 1.5 litre variable compression turbo motor which runs quietly when needed in the background.
To accommodate this unique installation, the CMF-C platform was designed from the outset to house the battery pack in the centre of the floorplan, but without compromising cabin or trunk space.
“When we started to define the needs and priorities for the next generation of Qashqai customers, we could see that we faced enormous engineering challenges. We knew Qashqai needed to be electrified, so we opted to develop two innovative powertrain options, which will combine efficiency and responsive performance,” said David Moss, Senior Vice President, Region Research & Development, Nissan Technical Centre Europe.
“We also set ourselves a huge challenge: how can we reduce the weight of the bodyshell to improve the new Qashqai’s efficiency, but also improve the stiffness in order to sharpen the dynamic response, while elevating the refinement? Thanks to the new Alliance CMF-C platform, we were able to achieve those challenging objectives.”
He added: “And matching the advanced and efficient electrified powertrains to a tailormade platform has resulted in a driving experience that will again set the standard in the segment, which our customers will really enjoy.”