Fortune favours the brave so they say and a decade ago Nissan’s launch of the Qashqai bordered on the fearless.

The step into the unknown was met with sceptical reaction from the motoring press which was reluctant to accept there was a market for Nissan's strange vehicle.

Not only did the car pioneer mixing the practicality and desirability of an SUV with the size, efficiency and performance of a compact hatchback, it also had a name that no one knew how to pronounce.

Launched as a replacement for both the Almera and the larger Primera – both decent enough if uninspiring cars – the first generation of the Nissan Qashqai went on sale in February 2007 and the car-buying public were won over instantly.

The Qashqai was an instant success, with close to 100,000 sold across Europe before the end of the year. But the really remarkable fact is that its early triumph has continued, with global sales now topping more than 3.3m and the Qashqai remaining Europe’s most popular crossover to this day.

So ten years on, how is the Qashqai continuing to cut it in the showroom against a wide range of rivals jostling for a slice of one of the most competitive areas of the car market?

It does it by continuing to take the size, driving dynamics and running costs of a family hatchback and adding the practicality and versatility of an SUV. Small wonder then that a new Qashqai rolls off the Sunderland production line every 62 seconds.

Nissan has also been careful to consistently add the latest technology to the Qashqai to keep it ahead of the game. The ‘Around View Monitor’, Nissan’s 360° parking camera technology was added to the Qashqai in 2010, when the car received many mid-lifecycle enhancements. And in 2014 with the launch of the second-generation Qashqai, Intelligent Park Assist was built into the car to make parking even easier.

With prices starting at just under £19,000, the Qashqai remains both great to drive and to be in.

The model tested here, at the top of the Qashqai range, came with a huge collection of luxury equipment from twin-zone climate control, leather upholstery, and colour satellite navigation, to multi-function steering wheel, electrically-heated windscreen and a crash detection system.

Power came from a punchy 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine that combines effortless, quiet motorway cruising with the realistic prospect of fuel consumption of more than 50mpg in day-to-day driving.

Nissan says the Qashqai is a word derived from the name of an Iranian tribe and linked to the car’s positioning as an ‘urban nomad’. Whatever its derivation, the car has defied the convention of product lifecycles, increasing sales by 79% since 2007 and remaining the class leader with a ten per cent share of sales across Europe.

It is also the most successful European model in Nissan's 83-year history. Happy birthday Qashqai.

Auto facts

Model: Nissan Qashqai 1.6 dCi Tekna

Price: £27,885

Insurance group: 19E (1-50)

Fuel consumption (combined): 61.4mpg

Top speed: 118mph

Length: 437.7cm/172.3in

Width: 180.6cm/71in

Luggage capacity: 15.2 cu ft

Fuel tank capacity: 12.1 gallons/55 litres

CO2 emissions: 120g/km

Warranty: Three years/ 60,000 miles