WE should have become accustomed to expecting innovation from Nissan.
After all, it was the Japanese marque some 12 years ago that launched the radical SUV/crossover trend on to an unsuspecting market in the shape of the Qashqai.
Today more than a third of all new cars sold here are crossovers, with the Qashqai still one of the main players.
The latest Qashqai comes with an autonomous driving package designed to take the hassle out of driving and boost road safety. Called Propilot, it's as autonomous as you can get at the moment.
That is, you can't exactly sit back a do a crossword while you're in the driving seat, because it doesn't allow you to take your hands off the wheel. This, fortunately, remains a legal demand.
It does, however, very simply combine a number of driver aids neatly on the right of the steering wheel.
Lane assist corrects your steering with a tug if you stray from one carriageway to another without indicating, adaptive cruise control keeps the car at a steady speed and traffic jam assist allows you to set a chosen distance from the car in front as you brake and accelerate in a queue of cars.
As well as these ‘guides' there's blind spot alert which sparks an orange light on the door mirrors when a vehicle approaches on either side. All useful stuff and in the Nissan you don't need to hunt around to operate them or spend two days reading the driver's manual.
The Qashqai has been a familiar sight for the last decade and was facelifted a year or so ago to keep up to date with the growing band of copycats.
It may be a tad generic-looking but it's easy enough on the eye with flowing lines that disguise the car's sensible height and generous size. There's ample space in the front width-wise and legroom is enough for most.
A tidy facia with decent quality plastics that look good and are tactile help make the cabin a nice place to spend time. A seven-inch touchscreen which incorporates sat nav comes as standard.
Legroom for rear passengers is less spacious. But the boot which holds 401 litres of luggage with rear seats in place has partitions that prevent shopping and oddments rattling around when you brake or corner.
The 1.6-litre diesel engine linked to a six-speed automatic gearbox is a relaxed and efficient alliance producing acceptable, if not breathtaking, performance - 62mph comes up in about 11 seconds and max is 114mph.
It's an economical unit and most owners will easily manage 50mpg, as I did. Like most Qashqais sold here, the test car was front drive rather than four wheel drive. Handling is neat and predictable but don't expect a sporty nature...this is a family car chiefly and behaves accordingly in a safe, predictable and comfortable fashion.