Our journey began at the source: Nissan's Sunderland Plant where our Qashqai was born
Not Sunderland: we encountered some pretty poor roads in central Europe
Outside of the vast Palace of the Parliament in Romania's capital, Bucharest
Autocar's Nissan Qashqai poses in front of the Bosphorus strait in Istanbul
Qashqai's 1.6 diesel powerplant possesses plenty of torque for mountain roads
Stunning scenery meant regular stops for photos as our journey progressed
Military aeroplane museum in Czech Republic looked inviting, but was closed
New European motorways seemed rather over-engineered in terms of signposts
Our journey breached 5000 miles in rural Germany on the final day
When we left Sunderland, the 63-plate Qashqai was still a relatively rare sight on the UK's roads
Autocar made fast progress through France, Belgium and deeper into Europe
Our route through the Alpine countries was punctuated by several tunnels
Our unfamiliar UK-registered car turned heads wherever we parked
The Qashqai's effective winter tyres negated the need for snow chains
Bereft of tourists, out-of-season Lake Garda in Italy was tranquil
Autocar's Nissan visited the important sights in Sofia, Bulgaria
The picturesque bay at Bakar in Croatia was an unexpected highlight
You see some interesting automotive sights on a 5000-mile road trip
Our trip detoured out of the EU to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina
Posing for selfies passed the time during long motorway cruises
Our diesel-powered Qashqai didn't miss a beat at any stage of the trip
In Budapest we sought refuge from manic drivers on rain-soaked roads
The Hungarian capital marked the end of the first week of our odyssey
The Nissan Qashqai's sat-nav switched to cyrillic letters in Bulgaria
The horse and cart remains a staple form of transport in rural Europe
Evidence of Serbia's automotive history was easy to spot in Novi Sad
Autocar stops for Qashqai fuel... and probably some fresh pastries
Team Autocar made a whistle-stop visit to Belgrade in Serbia
This MiG aeroplane was parked at the side of the road in Bulgaria
The start of a daunting 12-mile lorry queue at the Bulgaria-Turkey border
The waterfront in Istanbul, with the New Mosque in the background
By the time Autocar reached Instanbul, our Qashqai needed a clean
Street vendors in Istanbul sell cooked fish and produce at nightfall
Romanian countryside was magnificently varied, as was the road quality
Autocar reached Krakow late at night, when the Polish city was at its best
Breakfast at Bagelmama in the back streets of Krakow was a rare treat
Doran, a contender for the world's biggest dog, was keen on the Qashqai
The narrow streets of Randersacker in Germany's wine-making region
Rain turned to full snow as we travelled from Liechtenstein to Trieste
After a brief stop in Innsbruck we turned south and headed for Italy
Beautiful Plitvice Lakes was our final port of call in Croatia
Stunning waterfalls at Plitvice Lakes were a scenic highpoint
The signs of conflict made a sobering sight throughout Bosnia
Five days after leaving Sunderland, our Qashqai arrived in Budapest
Some press-on driving was required to keep our trek on schedule
The town of Novi Sad in Serbia blended 1800s architecture with modern developments
Damp hangs over downtown Sofia – rain was a constant factor of our trip
The Qashqai at the apex of its journey – the bustling city of Istanbul
To put the new Nissan Qashqai to the ultimate test, we set out on a journey from the car's birthplace at Nissan's production facility in Sunderland to Istanbul, where Europe ends and Asia begins.
Picking the right Qashqai in which to travel 5400 miles in 13 days was an important task. Petrol or diesel? Manual or automatic? Front drive or all-wheel drive? And which gadgets to add? Decisions, decisions.
In the end we chose the 128bhp, 236lb ft 1.6 dCi turbodiesel engine, driving the front wheels only via a six-speed manual gearbox. We went for the biggest diesel on offer due to the amount of motorway cruising we’d be doing, and fancied as much torque as we could get in case the going got rough.
Equipping our car, OU63 ZBT, with winter tyres largely negated the need for all-wheel drive, given how unlikely it was we’d do any proper off-roading, and we’ve still got reservations over using a CVT auto for those kind of antics, making the slick manual option a no-brainer.
As for spec, the upper-mid-range Acenta Premium was chosen for its generous standard equipment; given the amount of miles we would cover, we wanted to sample as many of the new Qashqai’s toys as possible.
Included with Acenta Premium trim is everything from safety kit such as traffic-sign recognition and a lane departure warning system to new, pan-European satellite navigation. A few luxuries can also be found in our car, such as a panoramic roof, ambient interior lighting and leather trim for the steering wheel and gear knob.
We only chose one cost option: white pearlescent paint at £725. That brought the total price of our Qashqai to £24,720, which is some £7000 more than the entry-level model but still £3000 shy of the range-topper.