Work your way down the list of top-selling fleet cars for the first six months of 2009 and there, just one place and 363 units outside the top 10, is the Nissan Qashqai.

Up a very commendable 24 positions on the 2008 mid-year chart, fleet registrations for the Qashqai have well-exceeded Nissan’s own expectations and show an increase of 75% year-on-year.

One contributory factory behind the model’s success is the introduction of the Qashqai+2, a larger seven-seat Mini-MPV version to compliment the standard lower medium five-seater. And having previously had the latter on long-term test in two-wheel drive 1.5dCi form, it seemed logical to try the new bigger version to make a comparison.

According to Nissan, a big reason for fleet customers rejecting the original five-seat Qashqai was the lack of space, so a big selling point for the +2 is the extra luggage capacity, not just the two small rear seats that fold flat into the boot floor. The result is that luggage capacity is increased from 410 litres in the five-seat version to 450 litres with the rearmost seats folded in the Qashqai+2 [1].

Further features on our top-of-the-range Tekna specification long-termer include satnav [2], rear-view parking camera, heated door mirrors, aux socket for MP3 players [3] and 17in alloys, which all come as standard. In fact, the only option added is the bold, £440 Metallic Fired Iron paintwork.

Our car also comes equipped with a 150PS 2.0-litre diesel engine, although with a CO2 output of 188g/km, it’s over the 160g/km capital allowance threshold.

As well as comparing the car with the five-seater, and seeing first hand just why the Qashqai is proving so popular, there is another reason why we’ve slotted one in for a 12-month stint with our fleet.

Nissan has picked BusinessCar to take part in its Intelligent Driver Project. It’s an eight-month study of drivers in the UK, using advanced telematics to monitor and advise on driving habits and behaviour, with the target of reducing consumption and CO2. Just 100 vehicles are involved and BusinessCar is the only fleet magazine invited. We’ll tell you more later as the shroud of mystery clears, and we get to grips with this exciting trial.

Nissan Qashqai 2 2.0 dCi Tekna
Mileage 3351
Claimed combined
Our average
P11D price £22,970
Model price range £15,395-£25,630
CO2 (tax) 177g/km (26%)
BIK 20/40% per month £100/£199
Service interval 12,500mls
Insurance group
Warranty 3yrs/60,000mls
Boot space (min/max) 130/1520 litres
Engine size/power 1995cc/150PS
Top speed/0-62mph 118mph/10.9secs
Why we’re running it To be part of, eventually,
Nissan’s Intelligent Driver
Positive Practicality, user-friendly
tech on dash
Negative Camera but no rear
parking sensors