Any suspicion that Volkswagen’s downsized 1.6-litre diesel engine might not be quite up to the job of satisfactorily lugging around a shapely new crossover prove largely unfounded.
The Ateca’s venerable 1.6 TDI may not qualify as spring chicken, nor particularly accelerate like one, but a life cycle pockmarked by tweaks and updates means that the unit’s performance is never less than dutiful – an impression corroborated by a recorded 10.5sec 0-60mph time that is a full second quicker than advertised.
As is the case in this engine’s other applications, wide throttle openings are required to keep up a modest head of steam; sagging much below 2000rpm is generally fatal due to the engine’s tendency to wilt when not being subsidised by its turbocharger.
Given that this tends to occur at 40mph in the predictably long final ratio, it can make economical driving seem a bit more tiresome than in the more giving 2.0-litre variant.
But as it revs keenly enough and comes furnished with the snappy gearchanges of the Volkswagen Group’s six-speed manual ’box, it’s rare that you feel yourself getting grouchy with the quality of progress.
Such a reaction is best reserved instead for the amount of noise the engine generates.
The core strength of the current Nissan Qashqai is its striking refinement, the cabin being very well isolated from the combined racket of road and engine.