Family SUVs are more popular than ever, and two of the best-selling examples are the Kia Sportage and Nissan Qashqai.
It can be tricky to choose between these two cars. Both are solidly built, well equipped and practical. That said, there are some key differences, and this article will walk you through them so you can decide which is best for you.
These two cars take a very different approach when it comes to styling, with the Kia Sportage being far more outlandish.
The front end will be the most divisive angle for most people, with the oddly shaped ‘boomerang’ headlights and wide grille being the dominant features. Things calm down a bit towards the rear of the car, and the back looks smart with the full-width light bar.
The Nissan Qashqai is far less polarising by comparison. You get some slim LED headlights as standard, and a smaller grille than the Sportage’s. There are some bold creases down the sides to liven things up, and the rear end features some narrow lights. Higher spec cars get silver trim on the bumper to liven things up.
Choosing between these cars based on looks will depend entirely on your taste. If you want something which stands out, the Sportage is the better car here. However the Qashqai is still smart and more conventionally handsome.
Interior and tech
The Nissan Qashqai has a smart looking interior which is easy to use and solidly built. It may not be the most exciting design in the segment, that prize goes to the Peugeot 3008, however it’s a perfectly pleasant place to spend time.
As for equipment, the base level Visia model is best avoided as it doesn’t have a central touchscreen. Mid-spec cars and up get an eight-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and top spec models get a larger 12.3-inch display. While the screen is bright enough, the graphics aren’t the best and some of the menus are tricky to navigate.
If you covered up the Kia badges in the Sportage, you could be fooled into thinking you were sitting in something much more premium. The material quality is excellent for a car in this class, and everything feels well put together.
All but the entry level car gets an impressive looking display panel with two 12.3-inch screens, one for the infotainment and a digital drivers display. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard as well. The climate controls aren’t as easy to use as those in the Qashqai however, as they are touch sensitive.
Overall, the Kia Sportage has the nicer interior of these two cars. The design and quality are better, and the equipment is more generous as well.
Boot space and practicality
Practicality is the number one consideration for most people buying a family SUV, and the Kia Sportage is one of the most spacious cars in this class.
The 591-litre boot is only really bested by the Hyundai Tucson, and there is plenty of rear seat space to keep passengers happy. Cubby spaces are generous too, and there’s loads of adjustment in the driver’s seat to get comfortable.
By comparison, the Qashqai’s 503-litre boot sounds a bit pokey. There’s still plenty of space for luggage though, and the rear seat room is generous. The Sportage is just that bit more practical.
Driving and engines
If you’re looking for a diesel SUV, then you are out of luck with these two cars. Both the Nissan Qashqai and Kia Sportage are only available with a range of petrol and hybrid engines.
The entry level Kia Sportage gets a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol with 148hp. This can be paired with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic gearbox.
You can also have a 1.6-litre petrol hybrid with 226hp, or a plug-in hybrid with 261hp. Both these engines are automatic only.
The Qashqai has a 1.3-litre petrol as standard with 140hp, or you can have the same engine with 158hp if that’s not enough power for you. You can have these with either a six-speed manual or a CVT automatic gearbox.
Then there’s the e-Power hybrid, which pairs a 1.5-litre petrol engine with an electric motor. The engine is only used to charge the batteries, so it never directly drives the wheels. This gives you the driving experience of an electric car, without the need to plug it in.
Out on the road, the Nissan Qashqai is a comfortable cruiser on the motorway, even with the huge 20-inch wheels. It’s easy to drive in town as well, with light steering and good visibility.
The Kia Sportage does feel slightly more firm, however it’s still by no means uncomfortable. Plus, it’s also slightly more engaging to drive when the road gets twisty. It’s still no sports car though, and a Ford Kuga will be more fun.
Overall, the Kia Sportage offers more engine options, and drives slightly better overall. If it’s all-out comfort you want though, the Qashqai is a safer bet.
MPG emissions and tax
The Kia Sportage is the only car here which is available as a plug-in hybrid, and it’s this model which offers the lowest emissions and highest MPG.
The Sportage PHEV emits just 25g/Km of CO2, and will return a claimed 252mpg if it’s driven carefully and the battery is charged up. Company car tax is also low for this model at just 8%.
The Nissan Qashqai is available as a hybrid, and it’ll return 53mpg while emitting 119g/km of CO2. This model will also be the cheapest in the range to tax for the first year at £180. The Sportage PHEV will cost you nothing in tax in the first year thanks to its low emissions.
Safety and reliability
Both the Nissan Qashqai and Kia Sportage scored the maximum five stars in their latest Euro NCAP safety tests, so they’ll both provide decent protection should the worst happen.
As for reliability, these cars haven’t been around too long so no horror stories have emerged. For added peace of mind, the Sportage comes with Kia’s renowned seven year warranty. The Qashqai also gets a three year warranty, so maintenance costs should be minimal.
There’s no bad choice to be made between these two cars. Both are very capable family cars which serve their purpose very well.
That said, the Kia Sportage offers the most interior space , and it has the nicest cabin. Also, it’s the only car offered as a plug-in hybrid, which may be an important thing to consider for company car buyers.
The Nissan Qashqai may be the most comfortable car, and it’s the cheaper of the two as well, however it’s the Kia Sportage which takes the prize today.
Save on the Nissan Qashqai and Kia Sportage
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