Nissan took a huge punt on the original Qashqai, and this time, unsurprisingly, it is being rather more conservative. As such, the new model follows the massively successful formula.

Built on a new Renault-Nissan Alliance Common Module Family (CMF) platform, the new Qashqai is 47mm longer than its predecessor, while being lower and a touch wider. Hence it looks a bit more dynamic and slightly less amorphous than before, with sharp lines and attractive detailing. Certainly, its appearance will do it no harm in a sector that is now thriving with alternatives.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
The Nissan Qashqai's engines are transversely mounted and drive the front wheels or, in certain cases, all four

Nissan announced its CMF architecture, telling the world that it would underpin 14 models across the Renault-Nissan Alliance in the near future and be in even more widespread use by 2020.

Rather than being a common platform, CMF is a group of modular areas such as the engine bay, cabin and separate front and rear body elements. This allows it to be expanded to cater for a greater range of vehicles of different sizes.

The CMF architecture will provide a home for 11 Renaults, including the closely related Renault Kadjar and the forthcoming Koleos. Nissan, meanwhile, is using it first in the car you see here, followed by the new X-Trail and, in the US only, the Rogue.

What’s the same as before is that the Nissan Qashqai was designed in London, is built in Sunderland and has been engineered mostly in the UK or Spain, giving it, Nissan claims, suspension ideally suited to European roads.

The Qashqai’s steel monocoque is suspended by MacPherson struts at the front. The rear suspension follows a common modern trend, with some models getting suspension that is more expensive than others. Here, two-wheel-drive Qashqais get torsion beam rear suspension while four-wheel-drive versions get a multi-link arrangement.

When the first Qashqai was launched, a crossover was a radical proposition in itself, without the suggestion that it could have come with low CO2 emissions, too. Yet the two-wheel-drive model emits just 99g/km, equipped as it is with a 1.5-litre, 109bhp turbodiesel engine that drives through a six-speed manual gearbox.

Like the other engines in the range, it’s a Nissan-tuned variant of shared Renault-Nissan motors. 

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