The term hybrid doesn’t say much about the technology it assigns. After the fact that it applies to cars with engines that combine thermal and electric, we do not know more. For example, between Toyota Prius, Renault Clio E-Tech and the new Qashqai, we are dealing with three different chassis. The latter, unlike the other two, only uses its own electric mass to drive the wheels (the front, in this case). The heat (116 kW) is used only to supply the electricity or to charge the 2.1 kWh battery that supplies the electricity. However, this three-cylinder, twin-injection (direct and indirect) turbocharged gasoline engine is nothing out of the ordinary.
exactly the contrary ! In fact, it benefits from a variable compression ratio, which is enabled by a mechanism that operates at the level of the crankshaft, changing the stroke of the pistons. In eco mode, the rate is 14/1, while it drops to 8/1 when looking for performance, for example on the highway. This is in order to obtain optimal performance in all conditions, in order to reduce consumption and therefore carbon dioxide emissions. This block never comes into contact with the wheels, unlike, for example, the Opel Ampera, where if it also served as a generator, then he was driving the car. The advantage of the Nissan system, which has been released in Japan in the Note since 2016, makes the gearbox unnecessary. And since it’s the 140kW electric motor (connected to the three cylinders under the hood) that drives the SUV, you should benefit from the perfectly smooth demeanor.
In addition, they are able to advance over short distances without the help of heat. Consumption is usually another curiosity that distinguishes the Qashqai hybrid. In its current versions, it’s content with a torsion rear axle, but benefits from the multi-link rear axle in the best-in-class Tekna+ variant, which isn’t much more powerful but is fitted with 20-inch rims. Above all, this machine, due to its more complete equipment (panoramic roof, electric seats, head-up display, etc.), weighs one hundred kilograms more than the others. This has a direct impact on consumption. It was announced at 5.3 l/100 km, or 119 g/km CO2: interesting for a 190 hp and 330 Nm of an SUV capable of reaching 100 km/h in 7.9 seconds, but not exceptional. It must be said that the machine is not the lightest, offering at least 1,612 kg. The Tekna peaks at +1.728 kg on the scale, swallowing an average of 5.4 L/100 km (123 g/km CO2).
We traveled to Sweden to test Qasqhai, with its high end. Many French scholars are inspired by what is happening in this country, and they must have been influenced by the repression of the roads prevailing there. Obviously, in addition to the very low speed limits (70 or 80 km/h on the road, 110 km/h on the motorway), there are speed cameras every 10 km on the secondary network, and almost as many around Stockholm. Suffice it to say that there is absolutely no question of deviations in the roads! This means that we have not tested Nissan in the traffic conditions applicable in France. It was also cold and wet.
First the sweetness
Hybrid or not, the Qashqai hides a pleasant, fairly spacious interior and has a very decent appearance. Like we tried before. Like the latter, the hybrid offers excellent electric seats at the front with an impeccable driving position. The panoramic roof provides a pleasant atmosphere, but the vertical cylinder-shaped counters are no more legible than before. Press the start button: nothing happens. Qashqai shaves in the same electric silence. And for good reason! After that, smoothness dominates, again like a zero-emissions car, which is very enjoyable for family use. No shake, just whipped cream!
Surprisingly, these qualities persist when the heat wakes up to supply electricity: its acoustic insulation is so advanced that we forget its activity. On these highly controlled roads, the use of driving aids is of unknown importance in France. Fortunately, they work efficiently and smoothly, and GPS points to speed cameras! There is a brake mode that offers more regenerative braking, like the sport driving mode, but I prefer driving with cruise control, it’s less dangerous. The course is punctuated by a few bends: the Nissan reveals relatively fast and precise steering, that is consistent and not at all muffled, as well as excellent body support, even over rough terrain. Thank you multi-link hub! As for the brake pedal, it is far from the terrible smoothness of the Volkswagen ID.4, it has high-quality stiffness. By getting to the highway, we have the opportunity to speed up frankly. Then we hear a buzzing away: it’s the heat that activates. The electric mass allows for lively and reassuring acceleration, without the front end suffering unduly. On the four lanes, it’s crazy, I peaked at the 112 km/h counter!
At this stratospheric speed, the mechanics remain completely silent, letting out rotational noises somewhat, without becoming annoying. At the end of a relatively varied but quiet and smooth 80 km road, consumption did not appear exceptionally low, set up at 5.1 l / 100 km. It’s almost frustrating, because we’ve practiced environmental leadership. However, it will be necessary to find out how much this hybrid consumes in French traffic conditions, and therefore faster, to form a final idea.