- Bold crossover design debuts with the new Nissan Qashqai
- Nissan designers overcome the challenges of visualising technology, creating an athletic shape and re-defining the crossover
- Exterior and interior design display premium styling and quality
ROLLE, Switzerland (21st January, 2014): How do you redesign a car that created one of the most successful and popular segments in recent motoring history? With bold design and accessible technology at its heart, the new Qashqai is the end product of a remarkable development story – a journey that marks the start of the next generation of crossovers.
Replacing and improving on a design loved and admired by nearly two million owners is no easy task. Led by Nissan’s chief creative officer Shiro Nakamura, the UK-based Nissan Design Europe team quickly established three core values for the new Qashqai.
“The inspiration was three-fold,” explains Shiro Nakamura. “Athletic Agility, Smart Premium and In Control are themes that run through every element of the design. This car represents several years of dedicated work. We have created an all-new design that builds on the success of the first generation Qashqai and confirms Nissan’s crossover leadership.”
Drawing on Nissan’s crossover family DNA, new Qashqai features a bold, sporty stance that is instantly recognisable yet new and exciting.
One of the key elements of the Qashqai’s design form is the relationship between the wheels and the rest of the body. “We opted to change the wheel arch volumes to accentuate the car’s strength and confidence,” explains Darryl Scriven, Design Excellence Manager, Nissan Design Europe. “By creating longer window lines we were able to add a little more mass around the wheels. We wanted to use the middle of the body as a connector to link the four corners and a shape that would be more athletic. A wheel-oriented design such as this shows more power and protection and suggests that the car has a proud, inner strength.”
The relationship between the upper and lower sections of the bonnet was another area where Nissan’s design team invested considerable time and expertise. “There’s now a lot more movement in the lower part of the body with less of a contrast between the two sections,” explains Darryl Scriven. “Take the rear bumper, for example. The first-generation car had a fairly simple overrider look while the new car has a more sophisticated diffuser-style design. We’ve given the protective parts a more premium feel.”
Taisuke Nakamura, Design Director, Nissan Design Europe adds: “We’ve added more emotion to the car. There’s more movement on the surfaces and a clearer definition of volumes.
“We wanted to make the new Qashqai more modern and I’m confident that we have achieved that goal. Look at the front quarter and you can see the contrast of dynamic volumes and very sharp graphics of the headlamps and radiator grille. The V motion grille leads into the bonnet sculpture to stretch the dynamic motion from the grille towards the A-pillar. This contrasts with the fluid body and dynamic shapes.”
Even seemingly simple elements such as the roofline have undergone a complete redesign, as Darryl Scriven explains: “The new Qashqai has a ‘faster’ roofline than the first-generation car. It drops towards the rear of the car and we’ve extended the line with a long overhang. This enhances the feeling of speed and agility and gives the new Qashqai a more dynamic look.”
Nissan’s philosophy of accessible technology can be seen and touched everywhere in the new Qashqai. From the interior materials and controls to the exterior details, every area has been designed to make full use of available technologies.
By establishing the available technologies and features at the very start of the design process, the team at NDE were able to integrate all the key features into the car. As a result, all the Qashqai’s technologies are perfectly integrated into the finished design and work effortlessly with the rest of the car.
“Technology doesn’t have a specific form or shape,” explains Taisuke Nakamura. “To express technology in the exterior design was a big challenge for us. Everyone has a different impression about technology, so how do you this through styling?”
The key to integrating technology was to work with it from the start. Darryl Scriven: “The LED headlamps are a great example of how we’ve integrated advanced technology into the new Qashqai. “We initially started out wanting to use the same bezel as the standard light. But we didn’t think it showcased the technology as well as it could do, so we completely redesigned the bezel for the LED headlight. It’s a beautiful element of the car with some incredibly complex geometric lines and shapes.”
Nakamura’s team also worked hard to develop the Qashqai’s premium feel with a range of styling devices usually found on more expensive luxury models. But as with the Qashqai’s technology features, the team was passionate about integrating them into the design at an early stage.
“Premium touches such as chrome trim around the windows were part of the design from the start. You can’t just add these at the end and hope it looks premium,” says Darryl Scriven. “Details are the key to the premium feel. Look at the panel gaps and areas where three panels with different materials meet. These processes take a very long time to perfect, but the difference to the finished car is massive.”
One particular area where the design team invested considerable time is the clamshell bonnet – a highly complex pressing that presented Nissan’s engineering and manufacturing teams with a number of challenges. “The panel gaps you get with a clamshell bonnet are three dimensional and were very hard to get it right,” Darryl Scriven recalls. “We could have taken the easy option of having a flat bonnet with just two dimensional panel gaps, but that didn’t give us the premium feel we were looking for. It was a huge task for the engineers, but the end result is incredible.”
Control is a theme that runs throughout the new Qashqai’s design. From the driver-focused interior and seating position to the exterior design, every element has been crafted to give passengers and owners a feeling of security and control.
“To create a feeling of security purely with design is difficult, so it was a real challenge for us at the start,” explains Taisuke Nakamura. “We knew from early in the process that we wanted to increase the wheel size. Designing the car with larger wheels emphasises the feeling of driving capability, and that imparts a sense of security with the driver. We really pushed for this at the start.” As a result, Tekna versions of the new Qashqai are fitted with 19-inch alloy wheels as standard.
To further enhance the confident personality of the new car, key details such as the front and rear lights came under intense design scrutiny, as Darryl Scriven explains: “We wanted the Qashqai to be instantly recognisable at a distance – whatever the lighting conditions. The rear combilamp and headlight follows the boomerang design theme – a core element of Nissan’s new design language which gives sharp impression by adding clear direction for the illumination. With so many others competing in this area of the market, you need a powerful visual signature that works day and night.”
Giving Qashqai passengers a feeling of control and security inside was another priority for the NDE design team, as Taisuke Nakamara explains: “The main instrument panel is a major element of the new design. Visually, it expands the width of the cockpit and flows into the door design. This creates a focus point at the centre for all the important displays and makes passengers feel protected by the car. To emphasise this feeling of protection, the lower section of the dashboard features padded panels, along with additional pads on the centre console for the knees.”
NEW QASHQAI TECHNOLOGY HIGHLIGHTS
- Nissan Safety Shield packages comprising:
- Forward Emergency Braking
- Driver Attention Alert
- Traffic Sign Recognition
- Lane Departure Warning
- Blind Spot Warning
- Moving Object Detection
- High Beam Assist
- Chassis Control
- Full LED headlamps which consume 50 per cent of the power of previous Xenon lamps
- Around View Monitor with Park Assist
- New NissanConnect with smartphone app integration
At the heart of the new Qashqai lies accessible technology. A suite of innovations which, when combined, form a unique package of driver aids which not only significantly enhance safety and convenience, but deliver exceptional value to Nissan drivers.
Nissan Safety Shield is a collection of features designed to enhance the safety of occupants in line with Nissan’s ongoing vision towards zero accidents, a sentiment underlined by the company’s commitment to produce commercially viable autonomous vehicles by 2020.
In the new Qashqai, Safety Shield technologies include the following features:
Forward Emergency Braking
By scanning the road ahead using a built-in radar system, the Qashqai delivers three levels of assistance. First is an audible warning, alerting the driver if the gap to the car in front is closing. Secondly, if the driver does not react, the brakes are automatically partially applied. Finally if the gap is still closing, the brakes will be applied harder if necessary.
Driver Attention Alert
The new Qashqai gets to know you so that it can tell when you are getting drowsy. After learning your driving style, the system will monitor driving inputs, showing a dashboard alert if steering becomes erratic, indicating the driver should take a break.
Traffic Sign Recognition
Helping new Qashqai drivers to both stay safe and within the law, speed limit signs are automatically read by the front-facing camera and displayed to the driver. This function works across Europe, regardless of national sign typography. It even recognises that some countries enforce a weather dependent lower speed limit if it’s raining, so both dry and wet weather limits are displayed to the driver.
Lane Departure Warning
A great feature for multi-lane highways, Lane Departure Warning detects if the car is starting to drift out of lane. Advanced computer programming detects road markings allowing the Qashqai to determine if it is drifting out of position. If it does, and the driver has not operated the indicators, a warning is given to the driver to correct their road position.
Blind Spot Warning
Nissan’s system uses the rear view Around View Monitor camera to detect vehicles in the hidden blind spot areas on both sides of the Qashqai. If a vehicle is detected in either blind spot, a discreet warning light illuminates in the glass of the door mirror. If the driver indicates to change lanes and the system detects a vehicle in the danger area, the light flashes and an audible warning is given.
Moving Object Detection
The Qashqai is available with front and rear parking sensors which deliver audible warnings to the driver when manoeuvring as well as a visual display via the Qashqai’s dashboard combimeter. On top of this functionality, the Qashqai also benefits from an enhanced version of the existing model’s Around View Monitor ‘helicopter view’ parking aid. When stationary, if something moves into the area covered by the four cameras the system will give an audible warning and highlight the area in which the moving object is detected. Mounted on the tailgate and having a fish-eye lens, the rear wide view AVM camera has a sweep of vision in excess of 180 degrees, giving it an unparalleled field of vision at the back of the car. Images from the camera are displayed on the new, larger seven-inch NissanConnect screen.
High Beam Assist
A high resolution camera combined with advanced software has led to a sophisticated automatic high and low headlight beam function for the new Qashqai. The system optimises the use of the headlamps in order to provide the maximum amount of light possible for any driving scenario.
Safety Shield is just the start of the Qashqai’s technology story. Other highlights include:
Using Nissan’s very latest ride and handling know-how, Chassis Control enhances both ride and handling, learning from the development of a vast variety of features from past Nissan and Infiniti models. While the Vehicle Dynamic Control system (VDC) continues to correct severe traction loss, at lower speeds with lower forces the Active Trace Control applies specific braking force to each wheel to correct the course of the Qashqai when cornering, giving a more dynamic feel without interfering with the driving experience. What’s more, when driving over undulating surfaces, Active Ride Control applies subtle braking to individual wheels to deliver flatter body control enhancing comfort for all occupants.
Around View Monitor with Park Assist
Automatically measuring the size of an available parallel parking space, Nissan’s Park Assist actively steers into the space with the driver controlling forward and reverse motion. The system can also park in car park bays, with the driver benefitting from the helicopter view provided by AVM to guide them through the process.
In-keeping with new Qashqai’s appetite for innovation, the new crossover will be the first model to go on sale with the new NissanConnect system. Now with a seven-inch touchscreen, NissanConnect has evolved to offer Smartphone connectivity to keep owners in touch with the outside world wherever their journey takes them. In the future it will have access to a range of apps covering music, social networking, entertainment and travel through a large, seven-inch colour touch screen. The new NissanConnect builds upon the recently introduced Google® search and Send To Car functions, which allow drivers to plan a trip at home.
The system includes Bluetooth audio streaming and mobile phone integration as well as Aux-in and USB slots along with DAB radio.
In addition to the main NissanConnect screen, the driver also benefits from an additional display within the instrument panel. It’s one of the most advanced meter displays yet seen with a five-inch TFT colour display incorporating no fewer than 12 graphic displays accessible on rotation. Customisable to display different Qashqai body colours, the meter offers advice and warnings covering functions including average and actual speeds, fuel economy, turn-by-turn navigation instructions, audio content, traffic sign recognition, Nissan Safety Shield, Chassis Control, eco driving advice, as well as tyre pressure information and torque distribution settings in 4WD mode. Additionally, the driver can customise steering feel, lighting, auto light sensitivity, wiper and locking settings, plus drive computer contents.
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