Nissan Qashqai vs X-Trail: which used car is right for you?

August 03, 2022 by

The Nissan X-Trail has been off sale for a few years now, however it still makes a good used purchase. But should you choose one over a used Nissan Qashqai?

The Qashqai was built to excel in an urban environment whereas the X-Trail provides vast levels of practicality and the ability to tackle rougher terrain in the countryside. Both will make a good used buy, and this article will explain the key differences to help you choose which is best suited to your needs.


Ever since the first Qashqai was launched back in 2007, it’s been a huge sales success for the company, consistently ranking within the top five best selling cars in the UK.

The Qashqai is the more sporty-looking car of the two

Park these two cars next to each other and you’ll notice that they look pretty similar, with the X-Trail looking like a Qashqai which has been photocopied at 125%. This is by no means a bad thing – as both cars look smart enough with their LED daytime running lights and sharp creases in the bodywork.

The X-Trail was updated in 2017 with a bolder front grille

However, if you look really carefully, you can distinguish between the two by their subtly different designs for the front bumper as well as the rear light clusters.

The main difference between the two is their size – the X-Trail is 100mm longer than the Qashqai, as well as being slightly wider and taller. This is to accommodate an extra row of seats in the back to make it a seven-seater, something you can’t get with the Qashqai.

Interior and infotainment

Like the exteriors, the interiors on both cars are extremely similar. So similar, in fact, that if you were to sit in both cars without looking at their exteriors, you really wouldn’t be able to tell which you were sat in (note the fractionally different moulding around the gearstick).

The Qashqai has a well made, if a bit bland, cabin

Again, this isn’t a bad thing – both cars have a high quality, well built interior which is easy to use and logically laid out. They may be looking dated these days compared to new models, but everything still looks smart enough.

You’ll be hard-pressed to spot the differences in the X-Trails’ cabin

For both cars, you get excellent standard equipment levels even in the most basic models. Bluetooth phone connectivity, air-conditioning and cruise control are all standard. Some even have luxuries such as satellite navigation, dual-zone climate control and a panoramic sunroof in more expensive models. Touchscreen infotainment systems were available for both cars, however don’t expect them to be as slick or easy to use as newer systems.

Practicality and boot space

This is where the differences between the X-Trail and Qashqai start to show. The main one being the extra pair of seats the X-Trail can occupy in its boot.

Seven-seater models of the X-Trail have 455 litres of boot space with the rearmost seats flipped down

Without the extra row of seats, the X-Trail’s boot space is 550 litres with the rear seats in place and 1,982 litres with them folded down. The seven-seater model, however, loses a little because the mechanism for the third row eats into boot space making it shrink to 445 litres. Boot space in the Qashqai is rated at 430 litres with the seats up and 1,585 litres with the rear seats folded.

The Qashqai has a much smaller boot, however it’s still a usable shape

Thanks to the larger dimensions of the X-Trail, it has a more airy cabin with class-leading levels of rear legroom and it also has a bit more rear headroom than the Qashqai.

When the rear seats are folded down in both cars it creates a flat loading bay which aids packing larger items.

Engine and gearbox

The previous generation Nissan Qashqai was available with either a 1.2 or 1.6-litre petrol engine, or a 1.5 or 1.6-litre diesel. If most of your driving is done in town, the 1.2-litre petrol is your best bet. It’s punchy, economical and available with either a six-speed manual or a CVT automatic gearbox. For those doing more motorway miles, the 1.5-litre diesel will be the best on fuel and it’s got plenty of power as well. All Qashqai models come in front-wheel-drive format, apart from the 1.6-litre diesel which was available with all-wheel-drive.

The X-Trails’ engine lineup wasn’t as extensive as the Qashqai. You had the choice of a 1.6-litre petrol, a 1.6-litre diesel or a 2.0-litre diesel. The 1.6-litre diesel is the most economical, however none of these power plants are as efficient as the ones in the Qashqai. If you want to tow heavy trailers or spend a significant amount of your time off-road, you’ll want the X-Trail with a 2.0-litre diesel engine as it offers the most power and torque. It’s also available with a choice of a six-speed manual or a CVT automatic gearbox.

Driving and performance

For buyers at this end of the market, the last word in driving dynamism is not usually at the top of the list of priorities. With this in mind, however, a car that drives badly is a car not worth buying at all.

Thankfully, both of these cars are up to the task. The Qashqai is the more sporty of the two – though you wouldn’t associate it with being a sporting car. It manages body roll well enough, almost being comparable to its hatchback alternatives. The X-Trail on the other hand leans a bit more in the corners – which isn’t a surprise considering its larger dimensions – but still provides plenty of assured grip.

Refinement is generally good in these cars, though the Qashqai can be a bit fidgety over rough ground. Try to avoid the 19-inch alloy wheels in more expensive models for both cars as they compromise the ride comfort, but not too severely.

Both are very easy to drive thanks to light but accurate steering and a slick shifting manual six-speed gearbox. The CVT gearbox does feel a bit old-fashioned compared to some alternatives, and it can be a bit noisy under hard acceleration.

Prices and running costs

A previous generation Nissan Qashqai will set you back around £16,000 for a 2018 example, whereas an X-Trail will cost closer to £17,000. That’s not a massive price jump when you consider how much bigger the X-Trail is.

That said, the X-Trail will be more expensive to run than the smaller, more efficient Qashqai. The 1.5-litre diesel engine you can get in the Qashqai is great on fuel, returning around 70mpg if you drive it carefully. The most economical X-Trail on the other hand is the 1.6-litre diesel, and this will return 55mpg.

Neither of these models were offered as hybrid models, you’ll need the latest generation Nissan Qashqai or a Toyota RAV4 if that’s what you’re after.

Safety and reliability

Both the Nissan Qashqai and X-Trail scored the maximum five-stars in their Euro NCAP safety tests back in 2014, so both should provide a decent level of protection should the worst happen.

As for reliability, there are no horror stories to be told for either of these cars. Nissan has a good reputation for reliability, so both should be dependable. All new Nissans get a three-year manufacturer warranty, so if you get one of the last previous generation Qashqai models you’ll still have some coverage left. Cars purchased through Nissans’ approved used scheme also come with a 12-month warranty.

Which should I buy?

It depends if you really want – or need – the extra space and extra pair of seats. The X-Trail starts from £17,000 on the used market for a 2018 car, whereas an equivalent Qashqai will set you back around £16,000.

Let’s sum up – the Qashqai provides extra versatility over its hatchback rivals with more ground clearance and all-weather drivability without the shortfalls in handling that plagues most SUVs and without the increased running cost. Plus it’s well priced.

The X-Trail is more practical thanks to its larger dimensions but the trade-off is blunted handling and efficiency. However, it’s still well-equipped and comfortable, and it’ll be better off-road than the Qashqai.

So essentially, whichever car you choose, you won’t be disappointed.

Save money on the Nissan Qashqai and X-Trail

Once you’ve decided which of these cars is best for you, then check out the latest deals on carwow. There are thousands of quality used cars available, all from a fantastic network of trusted dealers.

You can also sell your car through carwow, and it’s quick and easy. Just upload some pictures and tell us a bit about your car, then our dealers will make you the best offers and can even collect the car from your home.