Nissan Qashqai 2017

Review

Nissan Qashqai, 2017, front, action
Nissan Qashqai, 2017, side, action
Nissan Qashqai, 2017, rear, action
Nissan Qashqai, 2017, front, static
Nissan Qashqai, 2017, side, static
Nissan Qashqai, 2017, rear, static
Nissan Qashqai, 2017, interior
Nissan Qashqai, 2017, rear seats
Nissan Qashqai, 2017, boot
Nissan Qashqai, David Cameron at wheel
Nissan Qashqai concept design sketch
Nissan Qashqai  No 2m

FROM pencil line to production line, the Nissan Qashqai is as British as they come.

Conceived at Nissan's design studio in London, engineered at its technical centre at Cranfield in Bedfordshire and built at the Nissan factory in Sunderland, the Qashqai has made millions for UK plc.

Since it first appeared ten years ago some 2.3 million have been made, most have been exported and 450,000 snapped up in Britain.

It's our favourite crossover and last month was number three in the nation's Top 10 new car sales charts, pipped to the post only by the Ford Focus and VW Golf - both of which are made in Germany.

Now there's a new Qashqai on the way with the second generation model - launched in 2014 - getting a heavy facelift inside and out.

As mid-life makeovers go the changes are radical and see the latest Qashqai with sharper lines, a reshaped bonnet and grille and some shiny body highlights.

There's also a new range topper in the form of a Tekna+ model which comes with Nappa leather upholstery in a distinctive 3D pattern, a high-end Bose sound system and a sporty-looking D-shaped steering wheel.

In such guise it is now possible to spend more than £30,000 on a Qashqai - a far cry from the £23,249 it cost to get behind the wheel of the poshest Qashqai back in 2007.

Back then the range started from a shade under £13,500. Now it kicks off at £19,295 but what's onboard is light years ahead and the latest Qashqai is still a pacesetter.

The Qashqai Tekna+ 1.5-litre diesel we just tried tipped the scales at £30,325 and that included a Vivid Blue metallic paint job which accentuates the new car's lines a treat.

For a family hatch-cum-SUV the cabin is very upmarket - albeit it overly black and that included the headlining - and the seats, taken from a specification devised by NASA are exceptionally comfortable.

There's carbon-effect trim in the dash, chrome handles on the doors and the technology features the latest generation of the NissanConnect system which uses a seven-inch touchscreen for full connectivity and satellite navigation.

The Bose digital sound system is genuinely impressive with eight speakers front and rear, woofers housed in the boot and tweeters below the windscreen. The tonal quality is quite exceptional, even at motorway speeds.

Other smart technology includes automatic emergency braking, automated parking, cross traffic sensors when reversing and an auto hold function with the electronic parking brake.

On the road it feels sharper to handle than the previous Qashqai and noise levels have been improved although mechanically it is little different.

The 1.5-litre diesel is well proven across the Nissan-Renault Alliance and with 110ps on tap results in 0 to 60 time of 11.9 seconds, a maximum of 113mphg and an official fuel return of 74.3mpg with emissions of 99g/km no matter what size of wheel is fitted - and the Tekna+ sat on 19-inch rims.

We saw an average of 51.9 to the gallon which is well acceptable for a family car.

The Bose set up eats into the luggage space a little and the Tekna+ has a boot of 401 litres extending to 1,569 - about a rucksack less than you'll get in other grades of Qashqai.

As before, it is well composed and behaves without issue either in traffic or when cruising which makes the Qashqai an exceptional all-rounder.

Few cars can hit the mark in such fashion and with the current trend for upmarket models, breaking the £30,000 barrier will prove no obstacle.

Indeed, Nissan calculates that almost half of all Qashqais sold in the next few months will be high specification models.

Without doubt, the Qashqai's rein as king of the crossovers looks set to continue for many a year to come.

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