By Mike Torpey on 2020-04-04 - 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 1.7
dCi 150 Tekna
THE quest for perfection in a compact family-focused SUV is clearly illustrated by the various generations of the Nissan Qashqai.
Despite being a top seller in its area of the market for more than a decade, the Qashqai hasn't rested on its laurels.
Far from it, the model has kept on evolving to the point that it is the most successful vehicle in the Japanese company's history in Europe with more than 2.5 million sales in the bag.
The past 12 months has seen the arrival of two new engines as efficiency and performance within the range continues to reach fresh heights.
And one of them, the 1.7-litre four-cylinder diesel on our tested variant, is definitely one to consider.
Sweet, sprightly and well refined, it is a development of the former 1.6 dCi version but now developing 148bhp, giving it 20bhp more punch.
That may not sound a lot but it makes a difference, even if we aren't entering hot hatch territory - as 0-62mph in 9.5 seconds confirms.
As for economy, 200 miles of mixed fast and urban motoring - including a pre-Christmas clearout trip to the tip - saw the Nissan return an average 47.5 miles per gallon, which is half decent given the nature of the driving.
Performance and economy are all well and good, but where the Qashqai really makes its mark is in the way it engages with its owner.
It's simple and its sensible, with everything, from instruments to info, just where you would expect to find it.
That's all down to 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 car a really fresh appeal - clean and sharp, with tight bonnet creases, side vents, chrome surrounds and smart boomerang daytime running lamps.
Then there's the premium ambience in the cabin that makes the passengers feel more welcome in slim tapered seats that help improve visibility for those in the rear.
What buyers can really enjoy though is a really polished, upmarket and quiet 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.
And as some 45 per cent of wind noise comes from underneath the vehicle, this too has been addressed with an updated design.
Useful too is the Qashqai's Stand Still Assist which works both on slopes and level ground, holding the car still for up to three minutes allowing the driver to take their foot off the brake.
Nissan Qashqai 1.7 dCi 150 Tekna
Mechanical: 150ps, 1,749cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 119mph
0-62mph: 9.5 seconds
Combined MPG: 50.2
Insurance Group: 18
C02 emissions: 127g/km
Bik rating: 29%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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