Nissan is betting on hybrid power to boost sales of its delayed new Qashqai, the automaker's best-selling model in Europe.
Nissan has dropped diesel engines from the Qashqai and will offer the compact SUV with its e-Power hybrid drivetrain for the first time in Europe, along with mild hybrid versions. The Qashqai will not have plug-in model version.
The automaker will unveil the SUV on Feb. 18. The online launch on Nissan Europe's YouTube channel will be accompanied by an introduction to the car by senior executives and product experts, the company said in a statement.
Nissan delayed the production start of the third-generation Qashqai, largely due to the coronavirus crisis, the Financial Times reported in September, citing company sources.
The Qashqai's unveiling will come almost eight years after Nissan introduced the current model, which has lost its position at the top of Europe's compact SUV segment as buyers migrate to newer crossovers.
Last year, Qashqai sales fell 38 percent to 135,189 in Europe, according to JATO Dynamics market researchers. Nissan's total sales in the region dropped 27 percent to 284,895. The VW Tiguan was the top-selling compact SUV, with its volume down 34 percent to 173,627.
Nissan released a teaser picture showing one of the new Qashqai's headlights. A video hinted at some of the technology the new model will offer, including massage seats and a 12.3-inch digital display. Nissan has previously said the SUV will also offer a head-up display, in-car Wi-Fi, wireless phone charging and enhanced connectivity.
The e-Power model combines a 1.5-liter gasoline engine with an electric motor. The motor propels the vehicle at all times and the engine charges the battery when necessary.
Most full hybrids available in Europe, for example Toyota's, are parallel hybrids in which the engine can directly power the wheels.
Nissan says the advantage of its e-Power system is that drivers feel like they are driving a full-electric car. "It combines the enjoyable, seamless linear acceleration, which is characteristic of an EV, but without the need for charging," Nissan said in the statement.
The e-Power system's output is 187 hp, the company said.
Sitting below the e-Power model, which goes on sale next year, will be a mild-hybrid model which uses a 12-volt system connected to Nissan's 1.3-liter turbocharged gasoline engine.
Two variants of 138 hp and 158 hp will be offered, and customers can choose either two-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive. The Qashqai will be available with a manual transmission or, on the higher power model, with a CVT automatic gearbox.