European Nissan Qashqai gets complete makeover

(January 21, 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."

The Qashqai, sold in Europe and the Middle East since 2007, is a small SUV crossover. In the U.S. the vehicle is sold as the Nissan Rogue. The Rogue was completely redesigned for the 2014 model year.

Drawing on Nissan's crossover family DNA, new Qashqai features a bold, sporty stance that is instantly recognizable 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 hood 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.

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?"