Nissan Motor Co.'s popular new QASHQAI model has been awarded the maximum five-star rating for adult occupant protection from the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP), with the highest ever recorded score for any vehicle.

QASHQAI was awarded 36.83 points out of a maximum 37 points by the independent crash test organization, receiving almost full scores in Euro NCAP's strict front and side impact tests, as well as a full score for seatbelt reminders.

The vehicle, which went on sale in Europe earlier this year, also received an impressive four stars for child protection. Currently no vehicle in the small family category has received the maximum five.

"QASHQAI is a dynamic-looking compact crossover that offers the best attributes of a traditional family hatchback with the ability and practicality of a 4x4," said Brian Carolin, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Nissan Europe. "Today I am pleased to announce that QASHQAI is also among the safest vehicles on the road."

In pedestrian protection, the vehicle received two stars, only 0.38 point short of three stars. Currently no vehicle in the small family category has received the maximum four.

Orders for QASHQAI are off to a strong start with total orders approaching 60,000 units. As of the end of April, sales totalled 23,551 units. The majority of QASHQAI buyers are migrating from the C segment, consistent with Nissan's forecast.

The car is available in two and four-wheel drive, as well as four engine options two petrol and two diesel, including the all-new 2.0-diesel version.

QASHQAI is produced at Nissan's Sunderland plant in the UK and has been developed for markets around the world. Starting today, the model will go on sale in Japan where it will be named "Dualis". QASHQAI will also go on sale in the Middle East and other overseas markets later this year.