By Mike Torpey on 2018-05-27 - 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 1.6
dCi 130 Tekna 2WD
IT has been a top seller on the SUV scene for fully a decade but the Nissan Qashqai certainly hasn't rested on its laurels.
The line-up keeps on evolving - to the point that it is now the most successful vehicle in the Japanese company's history in Europe with more than 2.3 million sales.
A responsive ear to customer feedback has always been a part of the plan and the latest version, launched this summer, comes with the most comprehensive set of upgrades yet seen in the model's 10-year journey.
Particular focus has been placed on the key areas of design, quality, technology and performance in Nissan's quest to keep Qashqai ahead of the game.
Nissan's collective name for it is 'premium dynamism' which gives the Qashqai a really fresh appeal - clean and sharp, with tight bonnet creases, side vents, chrome surrounds and new boomerang daytime running lamps.
You can add to that a more premium ambience in the cabin that makes the passengers feel more welcome in slimmer tapered seats that improve visibility for those in the rear.
Then there's a new trim level, Tekna +, which becomes the flagship grade above Visia, Acenta, N-Connecta and Tekna, and with the likes of soft leather, lumbar support and a new BOSE eight-speaker audio set-up, it's aimed at buyers seeking the ultimate Qashqai.
The model's engine range has been carried over from the previous line-up, offering the choice of petrol or diesel, six-speed manual or CVT automatic transmissions, and two or four-wheel drive.
It includes the 1.5-litre 110ps diesel unit which, with CO2 emissions of 99g/km and 74.3mpg potential fuel economy, is accounting for the lion's share of sales.
Thsi version, a 1.6-litre diesel with 130ps of punch, offers a touch more performance, is a rewarding car to drive with an easy-shift six-speed manual gearbox.
It boasts an official average fuel consumption of 64.2 miles per gallon, though my own return was below that on 55.7mpg.
What buyers can really enjoy though is a more polished, premium and quieter car to drive following a number of initiatives.
For instance Nissan engineers have re-tuned the dampers for a more settled ride quality, the steering wheel returns to the centre position more easily, there's better door sealing plus thicker rear glass.
As 45 per cent of wind noise comes from underneath the vehicle, this too has been addressed with an updated design.
Also new to Qashqai is Stand Still Assist which works on both slopes and flat ground, and holds the car still for up to three minutes allowing the driver to take their foot off the brake.
You also get forward-looking safety features, including emergency braking with pedestrian recognition, park assist, cruise and stability control, tyre pressure monitoring and six airbags as standard.
And this spring sees the arrival of a feature called ProPILOT, the first stage of Nissan's journey towards autonomous driving.
It controls the steering, acceleration and braking in a single lane on major roads during heavy traffic congestion and high-speed cruising and is based on three technologies - Lane Keep Assist, Intelligent Cruise Control and Traffic Jam Pilot.
Nissan Qashqai 1.6 dCi 130 Tekna 2WD
Mechanical: 130PS, 1,598cc 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 118mph
0-62mph: 9.9 seconds
Combined MPG: 64.2
Insurance Group: 15
C02 emissions: 116g/km
Bik rating: 28%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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