By Mike Torpey on 2017-01-20 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Nissan Qashqai 1.6D
NISSAN produced one of the masterstrokes of modern motoring when the company replaced two of its models, the Primera and Almera, in one fell swoop.
Scary to think that was already a decade ago. But in that time the Qashqai has proven so successful that it has overtaken the Micra as the Japanese brand's most produced car.
Now well into its second generation, the British-built Qashqai is rolling off the production line at Nissan's Sunderland factory at the rate of one car every 62 seconds and holds the distinction of hitting the two million mark quicker than any other model in the history of the UK motor industry.
As a compact crossover the Qashqai operates in one of the most competitive and fastest expanding areas of the new car scene and if anyone should still harbour any doubts about the car, well those production figures underline its position.
The list of rivals, and serious ones at that, creeps ever longer and when it comes to slapping the cash on the table it generally comes down to personal taste and a tempting deal.
The Qashqai, though, is top of the pile for a reason - it's a model that gets everything right, from the way it drives to the simplicity and refinement of its interior and quality of its fittings.
Is there something to criticise? Well okay, at the bottom end of power scale a bit more punch would come in handy. Oh, and there are a lot of them around.
Otherwise what you get with a Qashqai is a car that fits the family formula with its genuine feeling of space and room for five - including in the centre rear position.
The N-Connecta grade from the middle of the trim line-up has a simple, easy to use dash including sharp front, rear and side cameras while there's also a top notch sound system and power start button.
Safety touches like a Smart Vision pack with the likes of a land departure warning, high beam assist, forward emergency braking and an anti-dazzle rear view mirror are part of the package.
Stowage comes via assorted boxes and trays, four cupholders up front and a split-level boot with an extra compartment at either side while those opting for higher spec variants like the Tekna grade get soft leather upholstery and some smart piano black inserts.
Under the bonnet is an efficient engine line-up of two petrol and two diesels, with the option of two- or four-wheel-drive, and every powerplant uses a turbocharger to reduce capacity, emissions and fuel consumption.
The 1.6-litre diesel - one of the front-wheel-drive variants that account for the lion's share of sales - was both enjoyable and competent to drive, its steering light but well balanced and the ride quality first class.
Factor in official average fuel economy of 61.4mpg (my own return was 58mpg), a smart set of clothes plus strong residual values and it becomes clear why the Nissan is so popular.
Nissan Qashqai 1.6D N-Connecta
Mechanical: 130bhp, 1,598cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 118mph
0-62mph: 9.9 seconds
Combined MPG: 61.4
C02 emissions: 120g/km
Bik rating: 24%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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