The second generation Nissan Qashqai has been officially unveiled, before going on sale in the UK from February 1st 2014.

Nissan hopes to recreate much of the success of the first Qashqai, which since its 2007 launch went on to sell two million units globally.

Designed and engineered in Europe, the new Qashqai is 49mm longer than the outgoing model, although 15mm lower and 20mm wider.

The design of the front is now more distinctive, with a large V-shaped grille, clamshell bonnet, and LED daytime running lights, with full LED headlights available on top-spec models.

The cabin sees the most changes, with a greater emphasis on quality and materials.

Despite the lower stance, headroom has been increased by 10mm, while cargo space increases by 20 litres to 430 litres with the rear seats in place.

Gaining access is now easier, with redesigned door apertures and a tailgate that opens 150mm higher than before.  There’s also more versatility in how that space can be used, with a new dual-floor system, a space to stow the load cover when not in use, and reversible luggage boards to help protect the interior when carrying heavy or muddy loads.

The seats have been redesigned for greater comfort, with the rear seats folding forward to create a flat load area.

Elsewhere in the cabin, the cup-holders are now deeper to prevent bottles from interfering with a driver’s arm when changing gear, while the adoption of an electronic parking brake frees up even more space.

There’s also a new ambient lighting system, with a choice of options configurable via the car’s menu system which also allows the driver to alter settings like the sensitivity of the automatic headlights and activation of the lane-change indicator function.

Two petrol and two diesel engines will be available, plus the option of two- or four-wheel drive.

A new 1.2-litre DIG-T turbocharged petrol engine develops 115PS and 190Nm of torque, and emits 129g/km of CO2 while achieving 50.4mpg on the combined cycle.

A larger 1.6-litre DIG-T with 150PS will follow in the autumn of 2013 and, with 240Nm, is set to be the most powerful engine of the range.  Despite this, it can still record 50.4mpg with CO2 emissions of 132g/km.

The diesel range kicks off with the 1.5-litre dCi with 110PS, although now with 20Nm more torque than the previous version.  It’s set to be the most efficient power plant, too, with emissions of just 99g/km placing it in VED Band A, and fuel ec0nomy of 74.3mpg.

The larger 1.6-litre dCi 130PS isn’t far behind, with 115g/km and 64.2mpg in 2WD form or 129g/km and 57.6mpg in 4WD guise.  It’s also available with a new Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT), where it records 119g/km and 61.4mpg.

Nissan say they’ve designed the new Qashqai’s suspension for greater comfort and enjoyment, with traditional MacPherson struts at the front and two different designs at the rear: two wheel-drive models use a twist-beam set-up, while four wheel-drive models use a multi-link system.

Nissan is particularly proud of their use of double-piston dampers, said to provide optimised performance with both low- and high-frequency oscillations.

There’s also a new electric power steering system with a quicker ratio, and two modes of operation: Normal with maximum assistance, and Sport mode which is said to offer greater feedback and reduced assistance.

The new Qashqai will feature a variety of driver aids and safety systems including Front Collision Avoidance, Traffic Sign Recognition, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Warning, Moving Object Detection (to warn the driver if something moves into the vehicle’s line of travel while manoeuvring) and High Beam Assist.

The Qashqai also carries a new NissanConnect system with seven-inch touch-screen offering satellite navigation, Google search and Send-to-car functions.  An additional display between the instrument cluster’s dials offers a choice of 12 screens covering vehicle speed, fuel economy, navigation instructions, audio information, traffic signs, eco driving advice, etc, all with customisable colours based on the Qashqai’s exterior finish.

The new Nissan Qashqai will be built at Sunderland, alongside the Note, Juke and Leaf.  Full specifications and prices will be announced later.