With the expiry of the premiums for plug-in hybrids, the full hybrid variants are not only becoming more interesting in terms of the purchase price. So it's no wonder that the manufacturers are adding a few nuances to the full hybrid theme. The new Qashqai and X-Trail as "e-Power" versions rely on the drive via the electric motor. Electricity is produced continuously via a three-cylinder turbo petrol engine, which continuously charges the drive battery. Is the surcharge worth it compared to the pure combustion engine?
The third generation of the Qashqai is based on the Renault-Nissan Alliance CMF-C platform. The vehicles on this platform are delivered with combustion engines or as hybrid models. A positive aspect is the increase in dimensions with a slight space advantage compared to the previous models. The redesigned front section with the extremely narrow full LED headlights, which are reminiscent of the shape of a boomerang, is more striking.
When it comes to the digital extensions in the interior, compatibility with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa devices should be emphasized. The system supports a wide range of commands. Here, some users are interested in the driver's options to send destinations to the vehicle's navigation system by speaking to their smart device. Integrated into the center console are both front and rear USB charging ports with USB-A and USB-C connectors.
Technically, the car is designed to be relatively simple. A compact drive battery with a capacity of 2,1 kWh feeds the 140 kW / 190 hp electric motor with a torque of 330 Nm. The battery capacity is slightly higher than in the full hybrids from Honda or Toyota, but even with the full capacity available, it's enough for short trips of up to 5 kilometers. After that, the compact three-cylinder combustion engine with variable compression and 158 hp has to supply new energy again. With the variable compression, the engineers have ensured optimal power output of the drive current in the economical speed range. The engine works quietly while driving. That's arguably its biggest advantage over the competition's high-revving three-cylinder full hybrids.
e-Power from the electric motor
Despite the high curb weight of around 1,7 tons, the Qashqai e-Power moves relatively quickly in traffic and is fast in the vehicle segment when it accelerates from zero to 7,9 km/h in 100 seconds. More interesting in our winter tests, however, was the question of whether this also makes economic sense. In cool weather conditions of around 5 degrees outside temperature, according to the on-board computer, we managed to consume 7,2 liters of premium petrol with mixed driving styles.
The range in summer can probably be extended to a good 900 kilometers with lower consumption values. Nissan has integrated a few helpful assistance systems for this long-distance SUV. This undoubtedly includes the very easy-to-read head-up display with the integration of navigation instructions. Adaptive cruise control is now part of the standard repertoire of current vehicle generations. Anyone who trusts the switchable e-pedal when driving can swim along well in moving traffic. Regenerative braking recovers energy just by reducing the driving speed when the accelerator pedal is released. The state of charge of the battery can be monitored permanently in the central display.
In the driving modes, you can choose between the normal drive mode and the B mode. The B mode is designed for the energy-saving mode with high recuperation. This makes it particularly suitable for short trips and driving in the city. The normal drive mode is then optimized for long-distance journeys on the motorway with less recuperation.
From our point of view, naming this Qashqai with the name "e-Power" is not expedient. If you consider the additional costs, the higher vehicle weight and the power generation from a conventional drive with the CO2 emissions, the overall package is a variant of the full hybrid. With the higher total weight compared to the variant with the pure combustion engine, the fuel consumption is also higher than in the models with conventional petrol engines.
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