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Nissan Qashqai, dynamic
Nissan Qashqai, interior
Nissan Qashqai, interior rear
Nissan Qashqai, boot
Nissan Qashqai, front quarter
Nissan Qashqai, rear quarter

GIVEN the choice, I probably wouldn't have selected the Nissan Qashqai for a 400 mile return journey over every kind of road.

But while I had the most powerful model with the latest tweaks recently, I enjoyed the drive immensely.

The Qashqai has always been good, but in this latest sleeker incarnation it really is close to the top of the list.

The most powerful engine is the same 1.6 turbo petrol Nissan uses in the top Pulsar and Juke, but detuned slightly to give 163bhp instead of 187.

I don't know why they bothered with the change because it's a great engine in either guise - smooth, quiet and refined at all speeds, and capable of excellent economy.

Over that journey - which it managed on a single tank - it averaged more than 40 miles to the gallon and I wasn't driving particularly carefully.

The whole car performed beautifully and is accomplished in every way, with a very refined chassis.

There is not much urge under 2,000 revs, as there is with some other turbos, and there's little in sixthgear of six even then. It does have enough for lane changing on the motorway, but little more.

I had to drop down to fourthor even thirdfor overtaking but when I did it was brilliant, pulling hard and making light of the task.

The ride is a little unsettled at slow speeds in town but perfectly comfortable the rest of the time.

The Nissan strength of car-like handling is still as good as ever and for 2017, there are changes to the spring and damper rates, together with steering that is a little more weighty at speed giving better feedback.

There are plenty of electronics to keep you happily on the road, with different levels of braking force applied to each individual wheel in corners.

This keeps the body as flat and stable as possible, making the car more nimble.

I drove the N-Connecta two wheel drive towards the top of the range which comes with a split fold back seat and a double level boot.

It also has excellent keyless entry and starting, very good stop/start, climate, stability and traction control, DAB stereo with aux in and USB, sat nav, parking sensors, alloys and audio remote control on the leather multi-function steering wheel.

FAST FACTS

Price: £25,225

Mechanical: 163bhp, 1,618cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 124mph

0-62mph: 8.9 seconds

Combined MPG: 48.7

Insurance Group: 19

C02 emissions: 134g/km

Bik rating: 25%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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