Nissan Qashqai vs rivals

15 Jan, 2014 11:31am

All-new Nissan Qashqai is eyeing crossover crown, so it has to beat Kia Sportage and Suzuki Sx4 S-Cross

It’s been nearly seven years since the Nissan Qashqai burst on to the scene, setting the crossover template and turning the family car sector on its head. Since then the rugged five-door has been a consistent fixture in the UK sales chart top 10, even with a raft of high-riding new rivals keen to cash in on its success.

Nevertheless, Nissan isn’t willing to rest on its laurels, and now it’s launched an all-new model. Promising more space, improved refinement and lower running costs, the Qashqai MkII aims to address all the old car’s weaknesses. It’s also packed with hi-tech safety kit, has a sleek new look and promises to match premium brands with its interior’s upmarket appeal. Yet before Nissan can uncork the celebration champagne, the Qashqai needs to front up to some formidable competitors.

Nissan Qashqai review

• Kia Sportage review

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross review

First up is the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross – our previous crossover road test winner and current class favourite. Good to drive, roomy and cost-effective to run, it provides a stern challenge for any new arrival.

The final member of our welcoming committee is the Kia Sportage, which sets the standard for style and quality. It’s also well equipped and backed up by excellent aftersales care. So which of our tough trio will emerge with victory?

Head-to-head

Practicality

All of our contenders make great family runarounds, with little separating them for cabin space. However, when it comes to boot size the cavernous Kia takes the honours, serving up a healthy 564 litres.

If it’s versatility you’re looking for, the Qashqai is the best bet. For instance, its neat false boot floor and load divider set-up promise 16 load-carrying combinations. Also, the Nissan’s cabin is full of useful storage.

On the road

Looking for a little fun behind the wheel? The agile, entertaining and eager Suzuki gets the nod. However, the capable Nissan isn’t far behind, and both feel more composed and agile than the slightly lead-footed Sportage.

All versions of the new Qashqai get a clever system that automatically dabs the brakes in order to reduce the effect of big bumps on the car’s body movement. Ultimately, this results in a smoother ride.

Lights

Lighting tech has come on a long way in the past few years – and each of our contenders takes a different approach to improving your night vision. The Nissan is available with the latest LEDs, which deliver a brilliant white light and use 50 per cent less power than xenons.

The latter are fitted as standard to the Kia – although the main beam units are traditional halogens. Suzuki’s High Intensity Discharge lamps have similar tech, but use the same bulb and reflector for main and dipped beams.

Verdict

1st place: Nissan Qashqai

Nissan Qashqai static

It’s a well deserved debut victory for the new Nissan. With its grown-up looks, strong refinement and low running costs, the original crossover has regained its place at the top. It may have lost some of its predecessor’s character, but a lengthy spec list, practical cabin and raft of safety kit more than make up for this.

2nd place: Suzuki SX4 S-Cross

Suzuki SX4 static

After a short reign at the top, the SX4 tastes road test defeat for the first time. Yet it’s still an attractive choice thanks to its engaging driving experience, generous tally of gadgets and low price. However, the S-Cross is not quite as spacious inside as its rivals, and it looks a little dull.

3rd place: Kia Sportage

Kia Sportage SUV 2013 static

We love the way the Sportage looks, plus its interior effortlessly blends space and style. And while it’s pricey, it comes with plenty of equipment and Kia’s seven-year warranty. Unfortunately, there’s no escaping its lacklustre driving dynamics, high CO2 emissions and heavy thirst for fuel.

Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi Premium Acenta Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 1.6 DDiS SZ5 Kia Sportage 1.7 CRDi 3 Sat Nav
On the road price/total as tested £22,690/£22,690 £21,749/£21,749 £23,395/£23,395
Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000) £10,301/45.4% £9,243/43.3% £11,885/51.7%
Depreciation £12,389 £12,506 £11,510
Annual tax liability std/higher rate £634/£1,268 £738/£1,475 £1,067/£2,134
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles) £1,774/£2,956 £1,263/£2,113 £1,908/£3,180
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost 14/TBC/A/£0 19/£334/B/£20 12/£368/F/£140
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service TBC £120/£220/£150 £329 (3yrs/30k)
Length/wheelbase 4,370/2,646mm 4,300/2,600mm 4,440/2,640mm
Height/width 1,595/1,800mm 1,575/1,765mm 1,645/1,855mm
Engine 4cyl in-line/1,498cc 4cyl in-line/1,598cc 4cyl in-line/1,685cc
Peak power/revs 108/4,000 bhp/rpm 118/3,750 bhp/rpm 114/4,000 bhp/rpm
Peak torque/revs 260/1,750 Nm/rpm 320/1,750 Nm/rpm 260/1,250 Nm/rpm
Transmission 6-spd man/fwd 6-spd man/fwd 6-spd man/fwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel 55 litres/foam 50 litres/space saver 55 litres/full-size spare
Boot capacity 430/1,503 litres 430/875 litres* 564/1,353 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight 1,365/545/1,350kg 1,305/565/1,500kg 1,490/500/1,200kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient 10.7 metres/N/A 10.4 metres/N/A 10.6 metres/N/A
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery 3yrs (60,000)/3yrs 3yrs (60,000)/1yr 7yrs (100,000)/1yr
Service intervals/UK dealers 20k miles (1yr)/225 12.5k miles (1yr)/149 20k miles (1yr)/170
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos. 12th/11th 29th/19th 7th/10th
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped/assist/stars N/A 92/80/72/81/5 93/86/49/86/5
0-60/30-70mph 11.9/12.5 secs 9.7/9.2 secs 10.1/9.9 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th 5.2/7.9 secs 3.4/4.8 secs 3.8/5.3 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th 11.6/15.2 secs 6.2/7.6 secs 6.8/10.4 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph 112mph/2,000rpm 111mph/1,800rpm 107mph/2,100rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph 49.8/39.1/9.6m 52.0/37.8/10.4m 53.3/38.5/9.2m
Noise outside/idle/30/70mph 65/46/63/73dB 68/48/63/69dB N/A
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range 42.6/9.4/515 miles 59.6/13.1/656 miles 39.6/8.7/479 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 67.3/78.5/74.3mpg 55.3/76.3/67.2mpg 44.8/56.5/52.3mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 14.8/17.3/16.3mpl 12.2/16.8/14.8mpl 9.9/12.4/11.5mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket 178/99g/km/14% 178/110g/km/17% 191/143g/km/23%
Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/camera Six/yes/yes/yes Seven/yes/yes/yes Six/yes/yes/yes
Automatic box/stability/cruise control No/yes/yes No/yes/yes No/yes/yes
Climate control/leather/heated seats Yes/no/no Yes/yes/yes Yes/yes/yes
Metallic paint/xenon lights/keyless go £525/no/yes £430/yes/yes £495/yes/no
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/Bluetooth Yes/yes/yes/yes Yes/yes/yes/yes Yes/yes/no/yes

Disqus - noscript

Amazing real world fuel economy for the Suzuki must make it top of the list for many; the sharp handling is just a bonus. I like the look of the Qashqai though.

I'm surprised Toyota sell any cars nowadays. They're directionless - they had to perfect opportunity to revitalise their Rav 4 on the back of the Qashqai's success but were asleep once again. Now Kia is getting in on the act and they're nowhere. And does anyone buy Auris's??

Choosing any of these three makes a lot of sense but the fact Suzuki came second is a great achievement for them. If it was my money I would take the Qashqai

Think the RAV4 is in the SUV class above isn't it? ie the X Trail is the direct rival...

Yes, they misread the market and moved the RAV 4 up a level with the Mk3. The 'Urban Crossover' was the disaster that filled the gap.

There is a 59-reg SX-4 parked across my street. While this new one certainly improves over that one, still it doesn't hold a candle to the new Qashqai and Sportage in terms of styling.
Suzuki seems to have copied a lot from the old Qashqai and hence not surprisingly already looks 10 years old. The new Qashqai's interior is a class above these two rivals.

I know looks are always a subjective thing, but the Nissan seems to be a bit more complete in design terms that the others in this market. It's a very attractive car even though it's not the type of car I would normally look at.

For all intents and purposes, it seems Nissan have done a brilliant job and raised the bar again in this class in every way.

The new Qashqai does look smart. That said I have seen an S-Cross (like the one above in white) on the road and was impressed. While it may not be as bold as its two rivals here its clean lines look good in the flesh.

Well, I think I'll buy the Suzuki. I had a drive in one and it was fantastic fun, nimble and quick, as seems to be confirmed by the test. And I was getting 59mpg, with three up and quite a bit of town work, plus a short run at seventy. And I actually like the subdued interior and simple exterior. But, the slightly better lock and smaller footprint also matter to me as I need to park regularly in small gaps. Finally, the real world economy is noted by everyone who has driven it, and the standard kit it comes with can't be ignored either. This test has only confirmed my feelings about the car. The Nissan is very good, obviously, but just bit too grown up for me. The fun and the economy win out. I've surprised myself!

The new qashqai is going to be a clear winner fro sales, looks and running costs. The old model was good and set some standards, but sunderland knows how t make cars, with more cars being made their every year than in the whole of italy.

I'd never usually look at cars in this market segment as well, the Sportage caught my eye, but not enough to want one over a standard hatch. The new Qashqai, however, is a beautiful machine in the flesh (especially in white with the 19" wheels). Me, a 24 year old, would be more than happy to be seen driving one.

AEX 1337
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