Nissan Qashqai dCi

130 2WD Tekna+

Nissan Qashqai, 2017, front, static
Nissan Qashqai, 2017, rear, static
Nissan Qashqai, 2017, front, action
Nissan Qashqai, 2017, rear, action
Nissan Qashqai, 2017, side, static
Nissan Qashqai, front
Nissan Qashqai, 2017, interior
Nissan Qashqai, 2017, rear seats
Nissan Qashqai, 2017, boot

WHEN you're the king of the crossovers there are challenges a plenty in terms of maintaining that status - not least a host of pretenders snapping at one's heels, eager to claim the crown.

Amazingly it's more than ten years since Nissan launched the Qashqai, a vehicle that would literally turn the car market on its head.

Pre-Qashqai I remember Nissan announcing plans to release a whole range of SUV-inspired vehicles big and small. It certainly seemed an interesting prospect but many probably wondered what the rationale was.

Bearing in mind one of those early pioneers was the not so enthusiastically embraced Murano one might have imagined it was a plan that would be reappraised.

But in the event Nissan became the crossover pioneers and the Qashqai was the vehicle that blazed a trail most others have since followed with the kind of enthusiasm usually reserved for a 19th century gold rush.

Now the Qashqai has a veritable army of competitors in the shape of the Mazda CX-5, Ford Kuga, Peugeot 3008 and plenty more besides. And not only that but crossovers come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Given the Qashqai was the defining crossover how does it rise to the challenge of staying ahead of the pack?

The answer is undoubtedly to evolve in the same way something like the Volkswagen Golf - which pretty much wrote the rule book in terms of survival and longevity in the automotive world.

And that's what Nissan have done. The second generation version launched in 2013 was instantly recognisable as a Qashqai and recently it was given a midlife makeover.

Essentially there are four elements to that upgrade - a new exterior design, an enhanced interior, improved driving performance and the addition of new Nissan Intelligent Mobility technologies.

On the outside there's a new-look ridged bonnet, the nose has been sharpened, there are new headlights, wraparound LED lights at the rear and a new-look grille with distinctive chrome bars.

The upgraded cabin is noticeably more refined and plush and the instrumentation suitably contemporary.

Trim-wise there's a choice of five - Visia, Acenta, N-Connecta, Tekna and Tekna+.

Equipment levels are fairly generous across the range, with all models offering cruise control, parking sensors front and rear, daytime running lights and Bluetooth connectivity.

This was a range-topping Tekna+ and it had pretty much everything one could wish for.

Features include a fabulous Bose sound system, snazzy 19-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic glass roof, electric memory seats and leather upholstery.

It also offers an automatic parking function, something that's becoming increasingly popular and actually rather useful in an ever more congested urban world.

Other welcome features are the electronic parking brake's auto hold function, a 360-degree camera and automatic emergency braking.

The 7in touchscreen navigation and entertainment system is excellent and wonderfully easy to use.

The Qashqai's cabin is super roomy and it has a 401-litre boot capable of swallowing most of the stuff it needs to be able to on a daily basis as a family all-rounder.

The split level boot is splendidly designed and has removable ‘shelves' that can be repositioned to create perfectly sized shopping bag compartments. Oh so simple but tremendously effective and useful.

To drive the Qashqai is more than decent. Pitch and roll is evident but minimal and it managers to deliver the ‘car-like' handling that's the holy grail for any crossover engineer.

The suspension has been revised to sharpen the handling and also boost ride quality, which again is good.

The proven 1.6-litre Renault diesel engine that's shared widely across both the Nissan and Renault marques is an adept performer.

It has been revised to be leaner and greener, improving economy and lowering emissions, though its performance is essentially the same.

FAST FACTS

Nissan Qashqai dCi 130 2WD Tekna+

Price:£30,830

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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