When Nissan launched its Qashqai crossover 10 years ago company bosses could never have dreamed it would become such a massive best seller.
It’s a car which caught the public’s imagination early on and soon became the benchmark for other manufacturers to aim for.
Back in 2007 it was the first of a new breed of car, combining the comfort, drivability and running costs of a quality family hatchback with the upright stance and ground clearance of an SUV.
Its success means that today it is now one in a massive and ever expanding sector of the market currently numbering around 20 models. But with 10.3 per cent of sales it’s still the leader of the pack.
And after a week of driving the latest generation Qashqai I can see why it had such an impact early on and, more to the point, why it is still the one to beat today.
Changes to the exterior of the latest incarnation of the Qashqai include a completely new face with redesigned clamshell bonnet, integrated new front bumper which makes more use of the car’s body colour and a new look grille which has an upgraded radar system behind it as part of the car‘s emergency breaking system.
The grille also discreetly houses the front facing camera which is part of a system which gives a 360 degree on-screen image around the car to make parking simple.
But it’s changes to the ride, handling and steering which make the new Qashqai even more rewarding to drive than before.
New dampers means it soaks up the challenges of typical British road surfaces with even greater ease while at the same time allowing you to corner at speed with confidence and without worrying rear seat passengers.
Changes to the steering means less vibration reaching the driver’s hands and the wheel now returns to dead centre more naturally while improvements in noise and vibration suppression ensure the car’s cabin is far more refined and cosseting.
At the same time as introducing changes to the Qashqai Nissan has also introduced a new range-topping model, the Qashqai Tekna+.
This flagship model, tested here, comes with electrically adjustable seats in the finest quality soft nappa leather with what Nissan calls a “3D quilting” affect, a Bose eight-speaker sound system, silver door mirror caps and roof rails.
Get behind the wheel and you soon see why so many discerning people have spent their hard earned money buying one. It’s a car which just feels right from the moment you push the starter button.
It’s quiet, comfortable and while on paper the 110bhp engine doesn’t sound that exciting it does everything you ask of it.
There’s an abundance of pulling power even with five up and it just doesn’t run out of steam like some of its competitors with similar powered engines, which have you changing down all the time to keep up with traffic flow or on any sort of incline.
It’s easy to drive and relaxing and for a lot of motorists those are two of the most desirable qualities.
Add to that the fact that it will average more than 74 miles per gallon and is still built in the UK and what’s not to like?
Model: Nissan Qashqai Tekna+
Mechanical: 110bhp, 1,461cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox.
Max speed: 113 mph
0-60mph: 11.9 secs
Combined mpg: 74.3
CO2 emissions: 99 g/km
Warranty: 3 years/60,000 miles