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The second-gen Nissan Qashqai (Nissan Dualis in Japan) has officially broken cover. Looking considerably tauter and more athletic than its predecessor thanks to prominent body creases, sharp-edged headlamps and an angular greenhouse, the crossover is also now 49 mm longer, 20 mm wider and 15 mm lower. It’s set to go on sale in Europe early next year.

Like the third-gen Nissan X-Trail, the new Nissan Qashqai is based on Renault-Nissan’s Common Module Family (CMF) platform. Designed and engineered in Europe, for Europe, it’s the work of Nissan Design Europe in London as well as Nissan Technical Centres in Cranfield, UK and Barcelona, Spain. It will be built in Sunderland, UK.

MacPherson struts sit up front; out back, 2WD cars get a torsion beam while All-Mode 4×4-i models ride on multi-links. There’s double-piston dampers and a redesigned electric power steering system with 5% lower gearing, plus Normal and Sport modes of feedback. LED DRLs are standard; higher-spec variants get all-LED headlamps with a unique light signature. 19-inch alloys are optional.

A roof spoiler with winglets, a flat floor and an Active Grille Shutter help the 2014 Nissan Qashqai achieve a 0.32 drag coefficient. Active Grille Shutter, standard on manual-gearbox diesels, closes off airflow through the radiator when not needed, automatically shutting at speeds above 30 km/h and only opening when sensors detect that cooling is needed.

The interior shares more than a few similarities with the new X-Trail’s. There’s more leg and shoulder room, and despite the car being lower, there’s 10 mm more headroom. The boot holds 430 litres of luggage with the back seats up – 20 litres more than the outgoing Qashqai – and the tailgate now opens 150 mm higher.

Like the X-Trail, it’s got a dual floor – there are two reversible floor panels that can be raised or lowered, offering 16 possible configurations to either maximise luggage volume or provide a flat floor when the rear seats are folded.

The seats benefit from extra bolsters in the pelvis, lumbar and chest areas – Nissan claims its engineers were inspired by NASA to use advanced medical scanning techniques to analyse pressure and blood flow in the lower back of seated passengers.

A new NissanConnect infotainment system now incorporates smartphone connectivity and a seven-inch touch-screen. Additionally, there’s a five-inch colour TFT screen within the instrument panel that boasts 12 graphic displays on rotation.

Two petrol and two diesel engines have been announced – we’ll start with the petrols. Replacing the previous car’s naturally-aspirated 1.6 litre unit is a 115 PS/190 Nm 1.2 DIG-T that’s capable of returning 5.6 litres per 100 km and emitting 129 grams of CO2 per km. The engine is connected to a six-speed manual, and comes standard with start/stop and a regenerative alternator.

Set to join later in 2014 is a 150 PS/240 Nm 1.6 DIG-T that’s capable of returning 5.6 litres per 100 km and emitting 132 grams of CO2 per km. The oil burners, of which torque figures have not been disclosed, are a 110 PS 1.5 dCi and a 130 PS 1.6 dCi. Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of the smaller engine are quoted at 3.8 litres per 100 km and 99 grams per km.

The bigger engine does 4.4 litres per 100 km/115 grams per km in 2WD manual form, 4.9 litres per 100 km/129 grams per km in All-Mode 4×4-i manual form and 4.6 litres per 100 km/119 grams per km with the Xtronic CVT.

Safety Shield tech on the second-gen Nissan Qashqai includes Front Collision Avoidance, Driver Attention Support, Traffic Sign Recognition, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Warning, Moving Object Detection and High Beam Assist. There’s also Chassis Control (Active Ride Control, Active Engine Brake and Active Trace Control), Intelligent Parking Assist, Hill Start Assist and Around View Monitor.