Another SUV from Nissan

Second-gen Qashqai slots between the X-Trail and Juke with a new downsized 1.2-litre turbo engine

Hmm ... it looks just like the X-Trail ...

That's because they are closely related to each other. The all-new X-Trail _ unveiled in September this year at the Frankfurt motor show _ is an SUV emphasising interior functionality with a seven-seat option.

Nissan dubs the Qashqai as a crossover _ an SUV designed primarily for on-road driving _ that strictly accommodates five people in a compact body slightly smaller than the X-Trail. The new Qashqai made a digital premiere in the UK this month.

This is a very similar scenario with Subaru whose Forester model is a traditional SUV and the XV a more compact crossover.

Won't it harm sales of the Juke?

Nissan says the Juke is an even smaller crossover competing in the B-segment in which buyers would fall for its looks more than how it works.

But we get your point because the Qashqai is only slightly bigger in size and actually shares engines of the same size with the Juke.

The technical highlight of the second-gen Qashqai is a new 115hp 1.2-litre petrol engine with direct-injection and turbo technologies mated to a CVT automatic that is claimed to offer the performance of a conventional 1.6 but with superior economy of 17.8kpl.

In fact, Ford Thailand is touting this strategy with the so-called Ecoboost 1.0-litre engine in the Fiesta to be launched at next week's Motor Expo trade fair.

Can the Qashqai possibly sell in Thailand?

Product planners at Nissan haven't totally ruled out the Qashqai for the Thai market in the future because they said road-biased crossovers have stylish looks appealing to urbanites.

But the problem is more of price. You see, the Juke will be launched in Thailand next week at some 900,000 baht. And consider that the old X-Trail was sold at just over 1 million baht, there is hardly any breathing space for the Qashqai.

Nissan's country manager has also made it clear than an SUV based on next year's all-new Navara is on the cards. So, the Qashqai _ and the new X-Trail _ may not appear in showrooms.

Why? Because with a special tax for pickup-based SUVs, a Fortuner-rivalling Nissan would have prices starting at 1 million baht. For SUV punters of the Nissan brand, it would either be this gargantuan or the small Juke.

Qashqai takes only five people on board.

About the author

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Writer: Richard Leu
Position: Motoring news Editor