Honda and Nissan will soon launch new versions of their beloved crossover models, the HR-V and Qashqai. Unsurprisingly, both embrace electrification.

Honda HR-V

Honda has unveiled the latest generation of its popular HR-V compact crossover, available with a powerful and responsive two-motor e:HEV powertrain as standard for the first time.

Available in Europe from late 2021 but as yet unconfirmed for South Africa, the new HR-V expands Honda’s electrified line up as the brand moves further towards its goal of electrifying all of its European mainstream models by 2022.

The next-generation HR-V e:HEV ditches the current model’s conservative looks in favour of a clean, uncluttered design mimicking that first seen on the latest Jazz. As has become de rigueur for EVs, the HR-V incorporates an integrated grille, while the body shape is more vertically sculpted to maximise interior room.

On that note, Honda promises exceptional spaciousness thanks to optimised packaging of the vehicle’s drivetrain. As a result, the brand says the HR-V retains its predecessor’s class-leading interior space, with four adults able to sit in maximum comfort.

The cabin utilises contemporary fabrics and soft-touch materials. The modern, minimalist aesthetic, and a feeling of airiness and space, is elevated by a new air-diffusion system that creates a curtain of fresh air beside and above passengers, flowing from unique L-shaped vents positioned in the top corners of the dashboard. The new HR-V also retains the versatile Magic Seats that offer both fold-flat or flip-up seat flexibility.

More details on the powertrain will be released soon.

Crossover Honda HR-V Nissan Qashquai

Nissan Qashquai

Arguably the pioneer of the compact-crossover segment (it was first launched in 2007), the Qashqai will undergo its biggest step-change yet with the introduction of the third generation. Part of Nissan’s NEXT transformation plan, through which the company will prioritise sustainable growth, the new Qashqai range will kick o­ff with a mild-hybrid model followed soon after by a fully electric option.

Externally, the new model is unmistakably a Qashqai, but Nissan has refined the details for a more contemporary, neater appearance. LED lights are slimmer, character lines have been reduced in number and alloy-wheel sizes shoot up to 20 inches.

Inside, Nissan claims a more upmarket look and feel. The box-fresh infotainment system will o­ffer in-car Wi-Fi for up to seven devices, while Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa home-to-car tech is also supported. The instrumentation is a 12.3-inch digital display, supplement with a full-colour 10.8-inch head-up display setup.

Under the bonnet, the new Qashqai will be familiar to Mercedes-Benz A200 drivers. The Japanese vehicles employ the same 1.3-litre turbopetrol engine, here supplemented with a 12 V system enabling energy regeneration during deceleration.

The big news, however, is the upcoming e-POWER drive system, which will feature a world-first variable-compression-ratio petrol engine acting as a generator to feed the electric motor.

Under the skin, the new Qashqai is the first Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance model underpinned by the CMF-C platform. It’s lighter, saving 60 kg over the previous model’s platform, and further weight reduction’s been achieved through composite materials (the hatchback, for example, is 2.6 kg lither). Two-wheel-drive models will be equipped with a torsion beam aft, while AWD options gain a more advanced multilink setup.

ProPILOT will be offered, too, as an interim autonomous-driving solution. The new Qashqai is scheduled to land locally later this year.

Crossover Honda HR-V Nissan Qashquai