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Kia Sportage vs Nissan Qashqai: which is best?

Many modern families pick SUVs to ferry them around thanks to their excellent practicality, lofty driving positions and road-car-like driving experiences. The Kia Sportage has earned a spot outside many family homes thanks to its eye-catching looks, broad range of talents and its reassuring seven-year warranty. The Nissan Qashqai, on the other hand, has recently been updated in an effort to push it into the top spot again – read on to find out if Nissan’s done enough…

Check out our Kia Sportage deals and our Nissan Qashqai deals or view carwow’s latest savings on our car deals page. Click ‘login’ on our homepage to sign up and configure a new car or view our extensive range of new, nearly new, pre-reg and ex-demo stock cars.

Kia Sportage vs Nissan Qashqai prices

Prices for both cars are very similar – the Qashqai is priced from £18,955 for a 1.2-litre turbo petrol with 115hp and a manual gearbox, compared to £18,795 for a 1.6-litre 130hp non-turbo Sportage. Equipment on both basic cars is roughly comparable too with both featuring Bluetooth connectivity, air con, cruise control and AUX inputs.

Mid-range diesel models – expected to be some of the best-selling versions – are also comparable. The Qashqai costs £22,805 for a 1.5-litre diesel with 110hp in Acenta trim, compared to £22,745 for a Sportage with a 1.7-litre 115hp diesel in ‘2’ trim. This mid-range Sportage counters with slightly better standard equipment including sat-nav and a reversing camera – options that cost a £795 premium in the Nissan.

Kia Sportage vs Nissan Qashqai styling

The Kia’s styling is somewhat divisive – whether you love it or loathe it, however, you can’t deny that it’s eye-catching. At the front, piercing headlights sit above a sizeable interpretation of Kia’s ‘tiger-nose’ grille while much of the bodywork features rounded edges rather than strong creases. In the metal, the Sportage looks noticeably taller and bulkier in every dimension, which is either a good thing or a bad thing depending on your personal taste.

After three years on sale, Nissan has opted to refresh the Qashqai’s styling. The car’s neat profile and handsome proportions remain along with the sharp creases down its sides but the front is noticeably redesigned. The chromed V shape around the badge is now wider and the headlights have been made thinner, while rounded shapes in the lower front bumper are now replaced by more angular features. Subtle enhancements to the brakelights and rear bumper round off the upgrades.

Kia Sportage vs Nissan Qashqai interior

Inside, the Kia’s cabin looks a little more modern than the Qashqai’s. The upper portion of the dashboard houses the touchscreen infotainment system and physical controls for the heating and air con, while the layout is fairly straightforward. Some of the plastics used feel a little scratchy and cheap but most of the surfaces you touch are pleasingly high quality. Space is also a little more impressive than the Qashqai, with more room in the back for three passengers and better overall headroom.

The Qashqai’s interior design is noticeably older than the Sportage’s – a fairly ugly swathe of shiny hard plastic forms the centre stack with climate controls and the touchscreen infotainment system. A refreshed steering wheel compared to the pre-facelift Qashqai helps the driving environment feel a little more up to date but struggles to mitigate the generally dull styling. Cabin space is decent but very tall adults in the back might find they run out of headroom and won’t thank you if you ask them to sit three abreast.

Kia Sportage vs Nissan Qashqai driving and engines

On the road, the Sportage lives up to the ‘sport’ part of its name surprisingly well. It remains admirably level through corners and the firm suspension keeps things stable at high speeds – the inevitable trade off is that it’s not quite as comfortable as the class best, although it stops short of being tiring on long journeys. All the controls respond keenly and you don’t have to make constant corrections to the steering angle to keep it going straight. The popular diesel engines are responsive if a little noisy when you floor it – the turbo petrol, however, doesn’t feel quite as fast as its 174hp figure might suggest.

In contrast to the Kia, the Nissan focuses much more on comfort. Its suspension is comparatively advanced compared to other models in the class so copes admirably well with both broken road surfaces and big potholes. The controls are light and accurate so it’s easy to drive, but more pronounced body roll than the Sportage through corners means it’s not quite as good a choice for keen drivers. The 1.5-litre diesel is a stand-out choice thanks to its responsive throttle and excellent economy but the 1.2-litre turbo petrol also makes a good choice for city drivers.

Kia Sportage vs Nissan Qashqai verdict

Neither choice here is a bad one but both will suit particular buyers better. If you’re looking for the most space for your money or fancy a family SUV that won’t shy away from a twisty back road, the Kia Sportage makes a great choice. If, however, you value comfort over driver involvement the Qashqai is among the most cosseting family cars you can buy without going for a pricey German alternative.

Save money on your next car

Check out our Kia Sportage deals and our Nissan Qashqai deals or view carwow’s latest savings on our car deals page. Click ‘login’ on our homepage to sign up and configure a new car or view our extensive range of new, nearly new, pre-reg and ex-demo stock cars.

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