Nissan’s latest upgrades to the Qashqai were confirmed at the Geneva motor show, with styling changes and updated technology to keep it in contention. They couldn’t have come at a better time, with recent SUVs like the SEAT Ateca, Peugeot 3008 and the closely-related Renault Kadjar all stealing the limelight from the popular Nissan.

While the exterior changes are hardly revolutionary, reprofiled bumpers, Nissan’s ‘V-motion’ grille and slim headlights with ‘boomerang’ LED daytime running lights align the Qashqai with the seven-seat Nissan X-Trail and keep it fresh. Two new paint colours and redesigned alloy wheels should help it stand out in showrooms, especially the Vivid Blue seen in these pictures, along with Chestnut Bronze.

Nissan says that most of the work has gone into the cabin though, where materials have been improved and there’s a new flat-bottomed steering wheel. Plump for the Tekna+ trim level and the seats are upholstered in nappa leather with ‘3D quilting’ for the main panels. Technology upgrades include a new user interface for the NissanConnect infotainment system and the option of a Bose audio system with seven speakers. Pedestrian detection has been added to the autonomous emergency braking system, and sensors have been included to warn of approaching vehicles when reversing out of parking spaces. The SUV will also be available with adaptive headlights for the first time to improve visibility at night.

Expected to arrive in July, its main innovation will be the introduction of ProPilot. This will make the Qashqai Nissan’s first European model with autonomous technology, allowing the car to steer, brake and accelerate within a single lane on a motorway or dual carriageway.

Under the skin, the suspension has come under scrutiny and the dampers and steering have been modified to improve refinement. Better sound deadening and thicker rear windows have also been fitted to reduce wind and road noise.

Nissan claims the latest Qashqai has a class-leading drag coefficient of Cd 0.31, helping the 1.5-litre dCi diesel engine to keep CO2 emissions below 100g/km. The engine line-up is unchanged, so customers will still be able to choose between this engine and the larger 1.6-litre dCi model, also available with the option of fourwheel- drive. The model line-up will consist of Visia, Acenta, N-Connecta, Tekna and Tekna+ models, with prices expected to remain largely similar to the outgoing model.