Nissan Qashqai facelift with driverless tech spied

Nissan will debut new ‘Piloted Drive’ autonomous technology in 2017, with Qashqai crossover set to benefit.

Nissan is plotting to refresh its big selling Qashqai crossover in 2017 with a facelift and big new technology and assistance introductions, and our spy photographers have caught the Qashqai facelift on camera ahead of its anticipated release later this year.

While the changes coming to the Qashqai’s design are still hidden underneath substantial masking front and rear, the makeover will consist only of slight modifications to the front and rear bumpers, lights and grilles. It’s thought that the car’s new look will take after the Qashqai Premium Concept from the Geneva Motor Show last year.

As part of the facelift, Nissan bosses confirmed to Auto Express at last year’s Geneva show that “Piloted Drive” semi-autonomous technology will form a part of the facelift package.

Explaining the tech’s capabilities, Richard Candler, head of advanced product strategy, told us: “It can manage the steering, braking and acceleration and it is especially useful for stop and go traffic and motorway driving.”

And he promised it would be affordable too. “This is accessible. We are not trying to make a 100,000 Euro Qashqai. And in time it’ll be on Jukes and Micras, and we simply can’t double the price of a Micra. It’ll be a reasonable price.”

For the time being, Piloted Drive 1.0 won’t allow driverless lane changes like Tesla’s system, but Nissan will launch “multiple-lane control” some time in the next four years.

Candler added: “This tech will become mainstream on our cars in the same way that Safety Shield is. Last year 50 per cent of the cars sold had Safety Shield. My vision is to get to those kind of numbers – it’s going to be like ABS and airbags, integral to the car.”

In a similar vein to Ford with its new Vignale models, the Nissan Premium Concept Qashqai gets upmarket styling details such as carbon-fibre add-ons, 20-inch alloys and a new grille design.

Said Candler: “We see people coming from BMW and Audi to Qashqai and this is a key motivation for the Premium concept. With that there is the expectation of more tech and more premium features.”

Senior vice-president Colin Lawther added: “Fifty per cent of Qashqais at the moment are top-spec cars. We’re not at the top level yet. Fifty per cent of people buy the Tekna, which is the top grade, and then people personalize on top of that, so we are not at that top grade. We certainly haven’t topped out Qashqai yet.”

Read our in depth review of the Nissan Qashqai here.

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