Is Nissan's Qashqai coming to U.S.?
The Nissan Qashqai at the Moscow auto show in Aug. 2014. Photo credit: BLOOMBERG
Jay Ramey is an associate editor with Autoweek, an affiliate of Automotive News.
It’s a wonder the compact-ish Nissan Qashqai crossover has managed to stay out of the U.S. this long, having been a best-seller in Nissan’s lineup elsewhere in the world since 2006.
Now rumors suggest the Japanese automaker could bring this model to the U.S. to slot in between the midsize Rogue and the smaller Juke. The Truth About Cars reports that the Qashqai is headed to the Detroit auto show this month to shore up Nissan’s offerings amid strong demand for crossovers and SUVs.
Popular in Europe, the Qashqai is a marginally smaller version of the Rogue, and it’s expected to compete with the Honda HR-V, Hyundai Tucson and Ford EcoSport while offering Nissan crossover shoppers an additional alternative. It’s produced in the U.K. for the regional market, which could make certifying it for the U.S. a relatively easy proposition.
The possible addition of the Qashqai to Nissan’s U.S. lineup marks a quick response to a market rapidly shifting to crossover and SUVs following the economic recovery of the mid-2010s; some automakers have been faulted for a slow reaction to changing trends after years of planning for smaller and thriftier cars. The success of the Rogue, which shares a platform with the Qashqai, has not been lost on Nissan. The Rogue topped the venerable Altima sedan for the first to became Nissan’s best-selling U.S. model last year.
It’s not known what engines will be offered in the Qashqai in the States if the model is introduced here in late 2017; in Europe, it is available with a choice of gasoline and diesel powerplants ranging in displacement from 1.2 to 2 liters, paired with a CVT or a six-speed manual transmission. A 2.0-liter inline-four connected to a CVT would be an obvious choice for the U.S. market.