2022 Nissan Qashqai e-Power review: price, specs and release date
The popular Nissan Qashqai has been electrified with the brand's new e-Power system, but does this mean the family SUV has all the electric car benefits with none of the long charging times?...
Price from £32,950 On sale July 2022
Until now, the only form of electrification that came with the popular Nissan Qashqai has been a mild-hybrid system that offers very light assistance using the stop-start system to boost efficiency. There hasn’t been a full hybrid – plug-in or otherwise – in the range.
The introduction of this e-Power model changes all that, supplementing the regular Qashqai’s 136hp and 156hp 1.3-litre turbo petrol engines. The way it goes about the whole electrified process is very different to its hybrid family SUV rivals, such as the Kia Sportage Hybrid and Toyota C-HR.
The Nissan rationale is that there are many people who want to dip their toes into the world of EVs and plug-in hybrids, but don’t want to commit to the constant need to plug in their car to charge up a battery. Likewise, there are many people without the facilities to make such a car work.
This is where e-Power comes in, because it bridges the gap between traditionally powered cars and battery-powered ones. You see, this particular Qashqai powers the front wheels with an electric motor, but has a petrol engine running alongside it to act as a generator. That means you can just fill it up like any other petrol car.
In theory, that means you get the best of both worlds, and the Qashqai e-Power should be the perfect transition – Nissan even calls it ‘your last car before an EV’. But exactly how does it work and is it just a petrol car with a few extra steps? Let’s find out.
What’s it like to drive?
As we’ve mentioned, the e-Power system in the Qashqai has an engine (in this case a new 1.5-litre petrol) and an electric motor. But unlike with the hybrid systems found on the C-HR and Sportage, which combine the engine and electric motor to drive the wheels, only the motor propels the Qashqai.
Unlike those rivals, the e-Power’s petrol engine is only there to charge the Qashqai’s 2.1kWh battery and doesn’t interact directly with the wheels in any way. That’s good, because it means the e-Power should, in theory, give you the instant performance benefits of an EV. And it does, to a point.
Where a pure electric car provides a confidence-inspiring surge of instantaneous power, the Qashqai e-Power feels more tame and more like a spritely hybrid one. That said, it does still have 187bhp to play with and will officially sprint from 0-62mph in 7.9sec – faster than any other Qashqai – so, despite the lack of immediate oomph, you’ll never be left wanting for pace when joining a motorway.
What’s more, the Qashqai e-Power’s single-speed automatic gearbox removes any of the dither you might feel in, say, the Sportage, while it figures out which gear to shift down to when you pin your right foot on the accelerator pedal. You also get all the benefits of regenerative braking, with a stronger ‘e-Pedal’ mode that lets you effectively drive and slow down with just the accelerator pedal.
All-in-all, because of all this electric car-inspired tech, the Qashqai acquits itself in a smooth fashion, with a petrol engine that you’ll seldom notice switching itself on and off as the battery needs a quick top-up. In fact, the only time the engine really pipes up is when you ask for maximum acceleration, but even then it’s far less intrusive than the C-HR's.
Of course, the main draw of all this technology is efficiency and, compared with other Qashqais, the figures are certainly on the e-Power’s side.
CO2 emissions are far lower than the 1.3-litre mild-hybrid Qashqais – 119g/km for the e-Power compared with 143-158g/km for the regular car – and the official fuel economy figure is 53.3mpg compared with the standard car’s 44.9mpg.
Unfortunately, if you look beyond the Qashqai to direct rivals , those figures don't look so impressive. After all, the C-HR can officially manage up to 60mpg.
So how about the Qashqai e-Power driving experience? Well, it's pretty unrewarding and encourages you to cruise rather than attempt to break a lap record. But then, this is a family SUV and it's set up to be relaxing rather than exhilarating.
The car grips well enough, holding its own against most of its competitors and remaining reasonably level in bends to prevent passengers getting car sick. The ride on 19in wheels remains a little fidgety over scruffier road surfaces, but not to the extent where your family will feel shaken up after a journey.
What’s it like inside?
On top of the efficiency gains, the benefit of not going down the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) or full electric car route is that the interior packaging of the Qashqai e-Power remains unchanged from the standard mild hybrid. It’s so similar that the only real differences you’ll notice are the new drive selector knob that’s shared with the all-electric Nissan Ariya and the new infotainment screen.
This is our first opportunity to experience the much larger 12.3in central infotainment screen, before it’s rolled out across the rest of the Qashqai range. It features Amazon Alexa so you’ll soon be able to send instructions to your car’s sat-nav from the comfort of your own home, and use far more natural speech when commanding various in-car functions.
The screen resolution and layout is far sharper and more up-to-date than the arcade quality screen currently available in the Qashqai. The home screen uses a tile layout similar to BMW’s iDrive, with a row of on-screen shortcuts down the side of the screen closest to the driver (like on the Audi Q3). It all works far faster than before too, and bodes well for ease of use on the move, although we do lament the fact that the simple volume and radio knobs of the old screen have vanished.
Other than that, visibility, interior space and storage are all unchanged. If you want to know more about this, we’ve written about it in detail in our full Nissan Qashqai review.
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