2021 Nissan Qashqai: mild hybrid and petrol-electric ‘E-POWER’ announced

The new Nissan Qashqai is available with several petrol-electric hybrid engine options, with the new family SUV set to arrive later in 2021

James Allen
Dec 19, 2021

On paper, the upcoming next generation Nissan Qashqai does not look like it’ll be that different to the car it replaces. Nissan has confirmed this latest version will only be modestly larger than the outgoing car (the length has increased by 31mm, for instance) and the overall design will be pretty similar, too.

However, under the skin, the new Nissan is set to move things on quite a bit over the outgoing version. This will especially be seen under the bonnet; for the first time ever in a Qashqai, all of the engine options will be hybrids - with power coming from varying combinations of petrol and electricity.

Of the engine range, the two that will be available at launch will be versions of the same 1.3-litre mild hybrid petrol engine. Because they’re mild hybrids, they don’t have big electric motors or battery packs, so the Qashqai isn't able to travel under electric power alone. Instead, the electric tech is there to help reduce stress on the petrol engine under acceleration, which helps to improve fuel economy and reduce CO2 emissions by a little bit compared with a conventional equivalent petrol engine.

Later down the line, Nissan will also introduce a so-called 'E-POWER' hybrid option that will be capable of electric-only driving. However, unlike in many other hybrid cars, the petrol engine isn’t there to power the wheels. Instead, it’s a 'range extender' there to charge up the battery, which then powers the electric motor which drives the wheels. This means that, as long as there’s petrol in the fuel tank, you’ll still be able to drive the Nissan Qashqai E-POWER for a while longer even if the battery has run out of charge.

Quick facts

  • New engine range detailed
  • Two mild hybrids from launch
  • Range extender option coming later
  • Manual and automatic gearboxes
  • No more diesel engines
  • Fuel economy to be confirmed

2021 Nissan Qashqai mild hybrid engines

While Nissan has decided to drop diesel power entirely from the new Qashqai, the current car’s 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engines will be carried over. They won’t be 100% identical to the ones under the bonnet of the outgoing car, though, as they’ll be given the mild hybrid treatment.

Unlike a conventional hybrid or plug-in hybrid car, these mild hybrid units can’t be driven at all under electric power alone. Instead, the small motor generator unit is there to give the 1.3-litre petrol engine a bit of assistance under acceleration, which in turn helps reduce the amount of fuel the engine uses. How efficient these engines will be compared with the ones under the bonnet of the current car won’t be confirmed until closer to launch, though.

Nissan has at least revealed that the mild hybrid engines are just as potent as the non-hybrid versions they’re replacing. Just like before, the 1.3-litre petrol engine will be available in two forms; one with 140hp and 260Nm, the other 160hp and 270Nm.

2021 Nissan Qashqai E-POWER hybrid engine

Not every engine in the new Nissan Qashqai can trace its roots back to one used in its predecessor. The upcoming car will be the first Qashqai to use an ‘E-POWER’ engine, which is the name Nissan gives to a type of engine called a range extender hybrid.

Like any other hybrid car, a range extender uses a regular combustion engine (in the new Nissan Qashqai’s case, a 1.5-litre petrol) and a battery pack that powers an electric motor. Unlike most other hybrids, though, the range extender’s engine doesn’t power the wheels. Instead, it’s there to act as a generator to charge the battery, which in turn powers the motor that drives the wheels.

Nissan claims this E-POWER setup results in better fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions than a regular petrol-powered car. However, as with the mild hybrid engines, we won’t know how efficient it’ll be until closer to the launch.

We do at least know the E-POWER model will be the most powerful version of the new Nissan Qashqai - it produces 190hp and 330Nm - strong figures for a car of this type. You’ll need to be patient if the E-POWER option ticks the right boxes for you, though, as it won’t be joining the range until 2022.

2021 Nissan Qashqai gearboxes

As standard, the mild hybrid Nissan Qashqai cars will be available with a six-speed manual gearbox and two-wheel drive. A 'CVT' automatic gearbox (which varies the length of its one gear rather than having a conventional set of gears) is available as an option, but only on the more powerful of the two mild hybrid options. You’ll need to pick the CVT automatic if you want an all-wheel drive Nissan Qashqai, too. Despite the option of all-wheel drive, don't expect the Qashqai to offer any off-road ability - this is very much an on-road focused car.

The setup is even simpler on the E-POWER range extender version, as there’s no traditional gearbox to speak of in this version of the Nissan Qashqai. This is because the electric motor powers the front wheels directly, which means there’s no need for a gearbox and the other ancillaries to transmit the power from the motor to the wheels.


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