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The first generation Nissan Qashqai was a platinum smash hit throughout its six-year lifecycle, and even remained one of the top 10 most sold cars in 2013 despite a sharp rise in competition.
It wasn’t the first crossover, but was among the first to tap into the concept from a mainstream, family-size and affordable standpoint. That, in the UK at least, it also replaced the Primera and Almera in 2007 shows the extent to which Nissan had bet all its chips on a single hand.
A decade down the line, the gamble better resembles a masterstroke – even if it leaves the second generation version with the tough task of carrying on in the tyre tracks forged by its predecessor.
Still, the omens were good. Like Volkswagen reworking its Golf or Ford fettling the Focus, it seemed on paper as though little had been left to chance – or, indeed, dramatically changed.
Five years and a 2017 facelift later, the second-gen Qashqai has remarkably continued the success of the original and managed to keep the burgeoning competition at bay, with none being able to hold a candle to until Seat ruined the party with its stylish and fun to drive Ateca.
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The facelift saw the Japanese manufacturer focus on improved plushness, with improvements made to the design, finish, equipment and refinement. There are now five trim levels on offer, starting with the relatively well-equipped Visia model, rising through Acenta, N-Connecta, Tekna and the range-topping Tekna+.
There are two petrol engines: a 1.2-litre, 113bhp four-cylinder and a 1.6-litre 160bhp four-cylinder, plus two diesels: the familiar 109bhp 1.5-litre Nissan shares with Renault, and a 128bhp 1.6-litre unit.
All come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, although the 1.2 DIG-T and the 1.6-litre diesel are also offered with a CVT. Those after four-wheel drive can only choose the highest powered diesel paired with a manual ‘box.
Convincingly reworking your best-selling car is the secret of being a successful car maker, and if by the end of this review Nissan has managed it, the triumph is once again indebted to homegrown expertise.
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