Nissan Qashqai Tekna+ DIG-T 163 2wd
Engine: 1.6-litre, four-cylinder, turbo petrol
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Top speed: 124mph
0-62mph: 8.9 seconds
C02 emissions: 134g/km
The Sunderland-built Nissan Qashqai is currently the best-selling vehicle assembled in the UK, representing almost one in five of all British-made cars.
It’s the most successful European market model in Nissan’s 83-year history, with approximately 2.3 million sold since the original version was launched in 2007 and, this year, it is the fourth best-
selling car in the UK with 57,120 sales to date – and the only crossover in the top ten.
Fair to say then that buyers seem to like it.
The first generation Qashqai – which recently netted What Car?’s best used small SUV award for 2018 – helped establish the template for the crossover class which now dominates our roads. It might have had a four-wheel-drive option, but the two-wheel-drive version made up 90 per cent of sales and handled like a C-segment hatch, rather than a military patrol vehicle.
The mark II Qashqai is a marked improvement in almost every area over its smash-hit successor. The sharpened front end is handsome and ties the Qashqai closely in styling to the larger Nissan X-Trail. In fact, you need to see them side by side to tell the two apart they look so similar.
The 2017 facelift to the current generation car also added some more chrome, bigger air intakes and a tweaked headlight and rear light configuration – to good effect.
The interior quality is another leap over the old car.
Sharper styling and better materials mean the car feels more upmarket than its predecessor. The 2017 refresh brings a more premium-feeling flat-bottomed steering wheel with improved controls for the stereo.
The infotainment system has had some upgrades, including a 360-degree parking camera which is on a par with similar systems from premium manufacturers such as Volvo. DAB now comes as standard and safety equipment such as autonomous emergency braking has been added to the mix.
Our range-topping Tekna+ test car features leather seats, a panoramic sunroof and a superb eight-speaker Bose sound system.
It’s a refined car to drive, with cabin noise kept to a minimum and superb levels of comfort, the suspension soaking up bumps and potholes brilliantly. Nissan thickened up the glass and made some bodywork tweaks to improve airflow around the Qashqai, reducing wind noise, and the turbocharged 161bhp petrol engine does a commendable job on the motorway.
It’s less lively around the town – an environment where the slightly heavy steering adds to the sensation of the car being larger than it is.
The facelifted second generation Qashqai is the best looking, best equipped and most refined crossover from Nissan yet.
But somewhat ironically – as a car which captured buyers’ imagination with car-like dynamics in a pseudo-offroad package – it feels more like a proper SUV than ever.