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2021 Nissan Qashqai hybrid confirmed: New Kia Seltos, Honda HR-V and Toyota C-HR rival locks in unique e-Power powertrain for Australia

Nissan is set to go hard on electrification, with its innovative e-Power hybrid locked in for the new Qashqai.

Nissan has divulged further details on its new-generation Qashqai small SUV, with the brand to push its new ‘e-Power’ hybrid powertrain globally, including in markets like Australia.

Talking to international media, regional Nissan executive Guillaume Cartier confirmed the Qashqai’s status as a fully international model would mean the e-Power drivetrain would be “harmonised” across all markets – including ours.

“Qashqai is a global car. Are there different powertrains that will be offered for Australia? The answer is no,” he explained. “We will be able to explain the benefits of [e-Power] through our marketing. The commercial ambition behind Qashqai is really high, we need to be consistent in our global communications on the benefits of hybrid drivetrains.”

The Qashqai e-Power is quite unlike the currently very popular Toyota Hybrid powertrains, or equivalent systems from Subaru, in that the internal-combustion engine does not directly drive the wheels. Instead, the new Qashqai hybrid has a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that only charges its battery, with electric motors exclusively driving the wheels.

Nissan's e-Power looks set to be a unique hybrid alternative to currently-popular options. Nissan's e-Power looks set to be a unique hybrid alternative to currently-popular options.

As drive is primarily electric, outputs are relatively high for the segment at 140kW/330Nm. Due to strong anticipated demand across more heavily electrified markets, Nissan Australia was not able to confirm a timeframe for the e-Power’s arrival yet.

While e-Power will be arriving in Australia, CarsGuide understands that the alternate 1.3-litre four-cylinder 12-volt mild-hybrid (MHEV) powertrain - which the new Qashqai will launch with in Europe - is not yet locked in locally.

This engine option, largely focused on meeting emissions targets for European markets, pairs a 1.3-litre four-cylinder engine with either a six-speed manual or CVT automatic in two states of tune, either 103kW/240Nm or 116kW/270Nm.

Automatic versions of the more powerful MHEV option are capable of supporting all-wheel drive, while the aforementioned e-Power hybrid is front-wheel-drive only.

While Nissan was keen to lock in the e-Power as a technology leader in all its international markets, the brand is still tight-lipped on the full model line-up in Australia. It noted demand for the MHEV drivetrains would be high in the Qashqai’s newfound home market of Europe, a similar sentiment that has seen new electrified options from several carmakers also skipped for new-generation products in Australia.

We would not be surprised to see a more conventional powertrain announced for markets without strict emissions regulations, like the 1.3-litre four-cylinder turbo available in the outgoing European-market Qashqai. That engine option has only been around since 2018 and sports power outputs of 116kW/270Nm. This would still be a significant upgrade on the current Australian-market Qashqai’s MR20DD 2.0-litre non-turbo unit, which produces 106kW/200Nm. Internationally, this engine swaps out the current car’s continuously variable automatic transmission for a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, similar to the setup in the new-generation Juke.

Other new features include a digital dash cluster and an overhauled software suite. Other new features include a digital dash cluster and an overhauled software suite.

Mr Cartier was firm on the idea that the new-generation Qashqai would see a sales share increase in all markets it plays in thanks to its new technology and e-Power drivetrain option, even as the internationally popular diesel model will be dumped. The diesel was discontinued in Australia in 2017, but Mr Cartier said the new-generation Qashqai’s engine options would be better than outgoing ones in every way.

“We understand there are customers who will still want diesel, but the new powertrains are better. More torque, better to drive, less C02 emissions. Our challenge is how we communicate this to the customer.”