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NISSAN HAS REVEALED one of the most significant cars of 2014 – the new Qashqai crossover.

The new model, which goes on sale in February, promises better economy and emissions, improved practicality and more high-tech safety kit.

From launch there’s just one petrol engine, a 1.2 turbo with 113bhp. Nissan quotes fuel economy of 50.4mpg on the combined cycle. A 1.6-litre turbo with 148bhp will follow in the summer.

Diesel drivers will have a choice between 109bhp 1.5 dCi and 128bhp 1.6 dCi engines. The smaller unit promises 74.3mpg on the combined cycle and emits just 99g/km of carbon dioxide. The more powerful engine achieves 64.2mpg on the combined cycle and emits 115g/km of CO2.

Most Qashqai buyers are expected to choose a front-wheel-drive model, but the more powerful diesel also comes in four-wheel-drive form – handy for anyone who likes to tow in all weathers. It can also be specified with a CVT automatic gearbox, but not both together.

The new car is longer, lower and wider than the current Qashqai. Colleagues who’ve had the chance to sit in the car say it’s noticeably more spacious than before, and that interior quality has improved. Boot space increases to 430 litres with the seats upright, an extra 20 litres compared with the old car.

Back in 2007 the original Qashqai achieved a five-star rating for adult occupant protection from the safety experts at Euro NCAP. The new model should build on that standard with high-tech safety aids such as Traffic Sign Recognition (which displays the current speed limit on the dash), Lane Departure Warning (which detects if the car is changing lane without the driver indicating) and Blind Spot Warning (which illuminates a light in the door mirror if there’s a vehicle in the blind spot).

Prices, kerbweights and detailed specifications have yet to be released. We’re looking forward to testing the car next year.