SURPRISINGLY it has been a few years since I sat behind the wheel of a Nissan Qashqai, the British manufactured crossover that is Europe's best-seller.
I got back behind the wheel of one recently and was pleasantly surprised to find out just how much the Qashqai had developed and improved.
It is also better looking these days especially in Tekna trim - which gives it added exterior styling - and in classy Blade Silver paint.
The Qashqai was given a major makeover last year with improvements to its styling, handling, ride comfort and interior.
The cabin is now a very pleasant place to be and features good quality materials and stacks of equipment including a new Seven-inch touchscreen which has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
In this model you also get a premium Bose Sound System with eight speakers, DAB radio, Navigation, Tom Tom connected services, Bluetooth, carbon effect dash trim, a D-shaped leather steering wheel, graphite part leather trim, sports seats and much more.
The exterior boasts 19-inch diamond cut alloys, silver roof rails, a black rear diffuser, rear roof spoiler and rear privacy glass to give it a sporty look. A panoramic glass sunroof costing an additional £450 adds to the appearance and provides bags of light.
Nissan has also ditched its 1.2 and 1.6-litre petrol engines and replaced them with an all-new 1.3 unit developed with Daimler.
Smaller, lighter, cleaner and more efficient the engine also features in Mercedes models and gives better economy and performance.
They come in a choice of two power outputs and I sampled the 140ps version which costs more than a grand less than its 160ps sibling. It comes with a six-speed manual gearbox while the more powerful unit can also be ordered with a seven-speed automatic.
Prices for the 140ps line-up range start from £19,995 for the entry level Visia spec rising to £28,095 for top-of-the-range Tekna Plus. Prices for the 160ps model start from £23,995.My car in Tekna trim cost £26,895.
I was impressed by the new engine which delivers the goods smoothly and quietly with enough punch to keep you happy. Apparently it only needs to be serviced every 18,000 miles to reduce running costs and it offers a combined consumption of 49.4mpg with emissions of 130g/km.
It is capable of well over 100mph and takes 10.5 seconds to reach 62mph. It is nippy around town and cruises quietly at motorway speeds and does it all without fuss.
Nissan expects that the new engines will feature in more than half of all new Qashqais built from now on and it could be even more.
The latest Qashqai also comes with an impressive list of safety equipment including intelligent driver alert, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, moving object detection, traffic sign recognition, high beam assist, lane departure warning, emergency braking with pedestrian recognition and front and rear parking sensors as well as lots more.