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Twin test: Nissan Qashqai vs Kia Sportage

  • New Kia Sportage newcomer faces off with old rival
  • Nissan Qashqai has BIK-busting CO2 emissions and loads of kit
  • Can the fresher-faced Kia beat it with sharp styling and new tech?

For almost ten years now the Nissan Qashqai has been the big dog of the family car world, offering an irresistible combination of SUV ride height and size with a hatchback-like drive.

Low CO2-emitting diesel engines and generous equipment levels also make it a solid company car that is just as happy on a commute as it is on a weekend runaround.

Now though there’s a new Kia Sportage on the scene hoping to replace the Qashqai as the default family crossover company car. Has Nissan’s big cheese finally met its match? Let’s find out.

The cars

We’ve selected an engine and trim combination for each car that offers low BIK tax* and a good standard specification, including sat-nav.

Kia Sportage 1.7 CRDi ISG 2

Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi N-Connecta

For more information on other power and trim options make sure you check out our Nissan Qashqai review and Kia Sportage review.

Practicality

This is perhaps the strongest area for both cars, which major on interior space and the amount of cargo that can be transported in the boot.

It’s early blood for the newer Kia Sportage 2016 though, as its 491-litre boot is a full 61 litres larger than the Qashqai’s 430-litre offering. The Nissan fights back with a lower lip and a reversible floor with carpet on one side and wipe-clean rubber on the other.

Nissan Qashqai boot

Both cars offer plenty of room for four adults inside so there’s no clear winner on passenger accommodation.

However, the Sportage has a larger fuel tank, with 62 litres to the Qashqai’s 55, plus it can tow 1,400kg compared with the Nissan’s 1,350kg.

Winner: Kia Sportage


Performance

Unsurprisingly considering the low CO2 on offer, we’ve picked out a diesel Kia Sportage and a similarly-powered Nissan Qashqai.

The former displaces 1.7 litres while the Qashqai is powered by the 1.5-litre unit seen across the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

Kia Sportage diesel

As you would expect the larger motor in the Sportage packs the bigger punch, with 114bhp and 280Nm at its disposal, meaning a 0-62mph time of 11.5 seconds, compared with the Qashqai’s 11.9 seconds. The Japanese car isn’t massively down on power though, with 108bhp and 260Nm.

Handling-wise there’s not a lot here to separate the two as both feel sharp and more agile than you would expect from a mid-sized SUV. Body roll is present but well managed, and there’s a pervading sense of safety and control rather than an engaging and dynamic experience.

Winner: Kia Sportage

 

Kit

Right, let’s cover the things both cars come with as there is a lot of equipment here to get through. Pick either and you’ll get a seven-inch touchscreen with sat-nav, cruise control, DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity.

You also get automatic lights and wipers, lane-keeping assist, speed-limit display, automatic high beams, tinted rear windows and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

Nissan Qashqai interior

The Qashqai takes the lead a little bit with dual-zone climate control over the Sportage’s manual air-con, 18-inch over 17-inch wheels, front and rear parking sensors rather than just at the back, and full around-view camera, where the Kia has only a reversing one.

Kia Sportage cars can be customised with individual options and of course there are plenty of Nissan Qashqai accessories to choose from too, but be aware that these will increase the amount of BIK tax* you pay per month.

 

Tax*

As you can see from the table below, the Sportage lags behind the Qashqai somewhat when it comes to CO2 emissions, despite the latter’s higher P11D price. Its actually the cheapest to tax each month.  

       CO2      P11D      Monthly cost
Kia Sportage       119g/km      £21,995          £84*
Nissan Qashqai       103g/km      £23,755          £79*

Worked out using the Parkers Company Car Tax Calculator.

Winner: Nissan Qashqai

 

Verdict

Nissan Qashqai wins

While the Kia Sportage is marginally more practical and faster than the Nissan Qashqai, the latter offers more kit. Despite its lower P11D price, the Sportage's higher CO2 emissions push its monthly cost up to £84, a fiver more than the Nissan.

It's basically a dead heat but while we like the updated Kia Sportage's looks, the more generic-looking Nissan Qashqai is a lot less divisive. It's also cheaper and better equipped, so on balance, makes the better company car.

*Based on a 20 percent tax payer for the 2016/17 financial year

Need more help? Maybe the below articles can help...

Your complete guide to BIK tax 

Top cars for commuting 

Top low-tax diesel company cars 

Cars under £50 per month to tax 

Petrol vs diesel – performance vs economy