Best value family cars: Nissan Qashqai vs Skoda Karoq

The Nissan Qashqai and Skoda Karoq are two of the best family cars for a modest budget, but which comes out on top?

​​​​​​If the Scala and Ceed hatchbacks in our compact family car clash don’t quite offer the interior accommodation that you need, then the family crossover segment is fit to burst with alternatives that have a little more space all round.

 Nissan QashqaiSkoda Karoq
Contract type:Personal Contract Hire (PCH)Personal Contract Hire (PCH)
Monthly cost:£235£233
Length of contract:36 months36 months
Initial payment:£2,111£2,098
Mileage allowance:5,000/year5,000/year

One of the UK’s best-selling cars is the British-built Nissan Qashqai. Its appeal stems from maintaining so many of the qualities that made its predecessor such a success, while managing to refine and improve the formula in a number of key areas. Although it looks more substantial than the previous version from the outside, the third-generation Qashqai is  barely any larger than before.

It’s not quite the most spacious car in its class, but it’s a safe place for the family, with Euro NCAP awarding it a five-star rating when it was tested in 2021. Forward-collision warning with AEB, lane-keep assist, rear auto braking and cross-traffic alert are all standard. Other features of the Acenta Premium include an eight-inch touchscreen, a rear-view camera and LED headlights. 

Hop into the smartly presented cabin, and the Qashqai impresses with its refinement on the move. While we’ve criticised top-spec models and their large alloy wheels for a fidgety ride, things are better on the Acenta Premium’s 17-inch rims. Power comes from a mild-hybrid 1.3-litre turbo petrol engine. With 138bhp, it’s got the power to pull clear of its rival here. 

That car is the Skoda Karoq. Starting with the negative – and there is only really one – the Karoq you’re getting for the cash here comes with a 108bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine. That’s a significant chunk of power down on the Nissan’s motor. 

But the difference in performance on the road isn’t that big. The Karoq’s 0-62mph time is only a second behind the Qashqai’s, and a slick manual gearbox means that you’re always able to make the most of the power on offer. 

Other aspects of the Karoq’s drive are very impressive. It sits on the familiar MQB underpinnings used by so many Volkswagen Group products, but this is absolutely one of its most convincing applications across the board. Ride and refinement are better even than the Qashqai’s, with a comfortable and relaxing environment that driver and passengers alike will get on with.

That comfort is down to well judged damping rather than overly squidgy suspension, however, which means that the Karoq remains composed through the corners, too, with only minimal body roll on show. 

But being a family car, it needs to excel at the sensible stuff, and the Skoda doesn’t let the side down. In terms of rear-seat space, the Karoq is one of the most spacious cars in its class. Even though the SE Drive spec misses out on the sliding rear bench of pricier trim levels, it’s a versatile space, with a 521-litre boot that beats the still-generous Nissan’s by 17 litres.

The Karoq’s boot lip is lower than the Qashqai’s, too, which makes it easier to load heavy items on board.   

But what of the finance deals themselves? Both figures – £233 for the Skoda and just £1.45 a month more for the Nissan, come as part of a three-year contract. However, it’s possible to save just a couple of pounds more each month for the Karoq – down to £228 – if you’re happy with a four-year deal.

Verdict

First place: Skoda Karoq

The Skoda Karoq is one of our favourite family SUVs to buy right now, and the same applies if you’re looking to lease. When it comes to comfort, passenger space and load capacity, it’s a very solid all-rounder, and it backs that up with a logically laid-out and well built interior. While it doesn’t have the power to match its rival on paper, it really doesn’t feel that far short in the real world.

Second place: Nissan Qashqai

Once again, Nissan has produced a car that’s well matched to family life. Sales figures prove that you’ll start to see a lot more of them on the road over the coming months, and with such competitive PCH figures, many will be leased. 

Performance is stronger than the Skoda for similar money, but in this case we give its rival the nod here for offering just a little more in most other areas.

Figures

 

Skoda Karoq 1.0 TSI SE Drive

Nissan Qashqai 1.3 DiT-T MHEV Accenta Premium

Monthly lease/total lease cost

£233/£10,489

£235/£10,554

Powertrain

3cyl in-line/999cc turbo

4cyl in-line/1,332cc turbo, mild-hybrid

Peak power/torque

108bhp/200Nm

138bhp/240Nm

Transmission

6-speed manual/fwd

6-speed manual/fwd

Fuel tank capacity

50 litres

55 litres

Length/wheelbase

4,390/2,638mm

4,425/2,665mm

Height/width

1,603/1,841mm

1,625/1,835mm

Boot capacity (seats up/down)

521/1,630 litres

504/1,447 litres

Kerbweight/towing weight

1,346/1,200kg

1,331/1,040kg

Turning circle

10.9 metres

11.1 metres

Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.

20th/16th

15th/7th

NCAP: Adult/child/ped./assist/stars

93/79/73/58/5 (2017)

91/91/70/95/5 (2021)

0-62mph/top speed

11.1 secs/116mph

10.2 secs/122mph

WLTP mpg/CO2

47.9mpg/133g/km

44.8mpg/142g/km

   

Parking sensors/camera/LED lights

Rear/£730*/yes

Rear/yes/yes

Cruise control/lane keep/blindspot

Yes/yes/no

Adaptive/yes/yes

Climate ctrl/leather/heated seats

Yes/no/£330**

Yes/no/no

Sat-nav/digital dash

Yes/yes

Yes/yes

Wireless/CarPlay/Android Auto

No/yes/yes

No/yes/yes

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