Nissan Qashqai Tekna

dCi 110

Nissan Qashqai, front
Nissan Qashqai, front
Nissan Qashqai, front
Nissan Qashqai, side
Nissan Qashqai, rear
Nissan Qashqai, rear
Nissan Qashqai
Nissan Qashqai, sun roof
Nissan Qashqai, interior
Nissan Qashqai, interior
Nissan Qashqai, interior
Nissan Qashqai, interior

FEW new cars in the last decade can claim to have had the impact that the Nissan Qashqai has.

Launched in 2007 it proved to be a real game-changer for the motor industry when it single-handedly kick-started the crossover craze.

Other manufacturers have been falling over themselves to get in on the act ever since, and the popularity of these SUV-hatchback mash-ups shows no sign of abating any time soon.

Crossovers have quickly become a ubiquitous sight on UK roads and there was considerably more competition about when the second-generation Qashqai was introduced in 2014.

Improvements in space, quality, practicality and economy, however, were all designed to appeal to the target family market and it remains a dominant force in an increasingly crowded sector.

Demand was so great that 500,000 raced off the Sunderland production-line in just 21-months - smashing the previous record for that milestone and equating to one car produced every 62 seconds.

The huge success is irrefutable - but it's down to more than just rugged SUV-looks.

With 1.2 and 1.6-litre petrol engines as well as 1.5 and 1.6-litre diesels, the option of four-wheel drive and four well-equipped trim levels the Qashqai can meet the needs of those who just pootle around town, reps clocking up the motorway miles and those who like to get off the beaten track.

The 1.5-litre diesel I drove - although only available in two-wheel drive form - makes a sensible all-round choice thanks to its blend of versatility, performance and economy.

The 0-62mph sprint may take the best part of 12 seconds - but once on the move there's plenty of low-end pull at your disposal from this willing powertrain. Paired with a six-speed manual transmission it displays perfect manners in urban traffic while offering enough power to make smooth and refined progress on the motorway.

With average fuel economy of up to 70mph and carbon emissions of just 103g/km, running costs won't break the bank - and those figures improve to 74mpg and a road-tax dodging 99g/km if you opt for 17-inch alloys rather than the 19-inch rims on my car.

The engaging driving dynamics which characterised the original Qashqai are pleasingly retained in the current version and, despite a slight increase in overall size, it is still a largely enjoyable drive on the open road while compact enough to manoeuvre relatively comfortably in busy city centres.

The well-weighted and responsive steering inspires confidence from behind the wheel and combines with the well-balanced suspension to allow some nimble handling, with little body roll despite the SUV-style elevated ride height.

The modest increase in external dimensions, combined with some clever packaging, help to make all the difference inside, though.

The second-generation Qashqai feels a much more roomy and grown up car than its predecessor, much more capable of meeting the needs of everyday family life.

Better quality, soft touch materials adorn many interior surfaces and bring a much more upmarket feel to the cabin, enhanced in my range-topping Tekna version by comfortable leather upholstery and a range of high-tech driver aids and creature comforts.

Kit includes keyless entry and ignition, an intuitive seven-inch touchscreen navigation and entertainment system, DAB radio, Bluetooth, heated front seats, heated windscreen, dual-zone climate control, rear privacy glass, auto-folding mirrors and automatic lights and wipers.

A boost of 20-litres in boot capacity to 430 is welcomed, while the addition of a flip up divider and adjustable floor, which creates a flat load bay when the 60/40 split rear seats are folded down, also offer increased practicality and versatility.

And safety is certainly not a worry. The Qashqai boasts the top five-star rating in Euro-NCAP crash tests and features all the usual aids such as six airbags, stability control and cruise control across the range.

The flagship Tekna model also gets Nissan's innovative 360-degree around view monitor, blind spot and lane departure warning, emergency brake assist and parking assist systems to help you avoid any bumps in the first place.

FAST FACTS

Nissan Qashqai Tekna dCi 110

Price: £25,830

Mechanical: 110ps,1,461cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:113mph

0-62mph:11.9 seconds

Combined MPG: 70.6

Insurance Group: 15

C02 emissions:103g//km

Bik rating:18%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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