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Nissan Qashqai e-Power Review

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Small, family SUVs are all the rage. But one of the first to begin the transition away from the previously traditional family hatchback was the Nissan Qashqai.

It is a veteran of the field, as proven by its continued popularity. Now in its third generation, the new Qashqai got an overhauled interior last year, as well as an improvement in its drivability, with much keener handling.

But now, the e-Power has been added. And years after the Qashqai was first unveiled, it marks the beginning of Nissan’s move away from the petrol engine.

The e-Power is somewhat unique in the world of hybrids. Strictly speaking, it’s an all-electric car, as the only thing driving the wheels is an electric motor.

But what’s keeping the motor’s batteries topped up? A 1.5-litre petrol unit.

The engine isn’t connected to the wheels. Instead, it acts as a generator supplying the electric motor, and, in that respect, the e-Power is unique.

While this means it isn’t truly an all-electric car, it doesn’t need charging off the mains, so it’s not a plug-in hybrid. And, although the petrol engine means it charges itself, it can’t be classed as a self-charging hybrid, either.

Nissan’s stance is that it’s a “plug-in hybrid for people who don’t want to plug their cars in”.

But is it any good?  Well, because the wheels are driven purely by the electric motor, the power delivery is prompt. And although the Qashqai lacks the outright pace of some electric cars, it nevertheless pulls away enthusiastically, getting from 0-62mph in 7.9-seconds.

In terms of handling, the latest generation is better than its predecessor, with sharpened agility in the corners, making driving more fun.

The Qashqai glides smoothly over creases on uneven road surfaces and is decent at motorway cruising. But the car is still nimble enough to be very good at driving around town centres.

The regenerative braking in the e-Power (known as the e-Pedal) is fierce when dialled up to maximum, but it’s predictable once you get used to it.

You tend to pull away with the electric motor only, which will bring the engine to life when needed. However, it’s not particularly noticeable, and the petrol unit remains quiet unless you floor it, helped by soundproofing and noise cancellation technology.

Whether the lower road tax or the increase in miles per gallon is enough to tempt you, given plug-in hybrids often have figures in the hundreds (not to mention two-digit CO2 figures), remains to be seen.

Fast Facts: Nissan Qashqai e-Power

  • Max speed: 105 mph
  • 0-62mph: 7.9 secs
  • Combined mpg: 53.3
  • Engine layout: 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol hybrid
  • Max. Power: 190PS
  • CO2: 119g/km
  • Price: £32,950

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