By Bill McCarthy
When you have been Europe’s best selling crossover it’s inevitable it will be challenging to hang on to that crown.
The Qashqai came from left field and became a best seller in the crossover market, with many brands subsequently following.
In the UK in the first quarter of 2022 it was the third best selling car, rising to top spot in the month of April.
The latest model will have plenty to do with that, featuring upgrades including to engine, suspension and a number of technological changes, as well as being available in both two and four-wheel drive.
Designed in the UK, the latest Qashqai has developed a bolder, more muscular and modern look, although still instantly recognisable as a Qashqai.
It is longer and slightly taller, it still sits high off the ground to give a commanding driving position. It now features a bigger V-design grille which is flanked by slim full headlights, glass roof, privacy glass and roof bar and the option of 19 or 20-inch diamond-cut alloy.
The new 1.3 DIG-T petrol engine Is available with 138 bhp and 156bhp driven here and combined with mild hybrid technology, delivers more power, better economy and lower emissions.
The system extends torque, idle stop, quick restart and coasting stop with the auto or Xdrive version driven here, with improvements to both fuel economy and CO2 output (-4g/km).
It offers lively performance, hitting 60mph, in 9.2 seconds.
Not startlingly rapid, but quick enough for most needs, and delivering good economy of a claimed, but pretty accurate 43.8mpg. Such is the efficiency of petrol engines these days, that they are delivering near diesel like economy.
The interior of the car, certainly on this model has a real premium model feel, and will set you back over £36k.
But for that money it is packed with high-end kit, including patterned leather seats, comforting ambient lighting and high-end, soft touch finish.
Nissan says attention has been paid to the ergonomic and aesthetic quality of the switchgear and buttons with high quality, tactile feel giving users a sense of confidence and refinement. Well they certainly feel robust and logically placed.
The central nine-inch screen houses the now familiar NissanConnect set services, the app which monitors how the vehicle is performing.
It allows connectivity for smartphones and WiFi and connected services, together with navigation and infotainment. In addition there are USB A and C ports.
In addition it features 12.3 inch TFT multi-information screen offers a choice of configurable layouts to display navigation, entertainment, traffic or vehicle information, all controlled from a dial switch on the steering wheel.
The interior is roomier than its predecessor with extra legroom in the rear and better head and leg room in the front seats.
It really goes without saying that the Qashqai is a practical beast, pretty much having built its reputation on that premise. This model offers powered hands-free tailgate which opens up to capacity which has increased by 50-litres. The split-folding rear seats offer 16 combinations to accommodate loads of all different shapes and sizes with a capacity of 436 to a maximum of 1,379 litres.
There are also various other cubby holes, side pockets and cupholders for extra practicality.
On the road, the car is a very able performer and while not blisteringly quick offers a good driving experience with uprated suspension offering decent handling, sitting tight on twisty roads and offering a firm, but still comfortable drive, so important in a family car. It only seems unsettled on the very worst roads
All Nissans are packed with safety kit including stability control and full complement of airbags, including the latest central airbag, which deploys from between the two front seats, to prevent the front row occupants from making contact in the event of a side-impact.
Plus, the ProPILOT driver assistance on this model delivers important driver assistance, like monitoring fatigue, adjusting speed in heavy traffic using radar to automatically move the car forward or hammer on the brakes in an emergency situation.
Nissan Qashqai 1.3 DIG-T Tekna + auto
Mechanical: 156bhp, 1,332cc, four cylinder turbo petrol engine driving front wheels via Xdrive auto gearbox
Max speed: 124mph
0-60mph: 9.2 seconds
Combined mpg: 43.8
Insurance group: 16E
CO2 emissions: 146g/km
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles