Nissan Qashqai: Up against the rivals

The VW Tiguan test

The Qashqai is a difficult car to put into context. I'd describe it as a bit like a Ford Focus but with the looks of a scaled-down 4x4. Nissan refers to it as a ‘crossover’ and it does straddle the divide between being either a hatchback or an off-roader.

To see how well it stands up to its rivals I wanted to compare my Qashqai to something of similar size and price. So step forward the Volkswagen Tiguan.

VW's small off-roader is neatly styled, well equipped and powered by some impressive engines, while inside it's well-built, comfortable and there's plenty of room for all on board. All Tiguans have four-wheel drive as standard but, like the Qashqai, it's really designed for on-road use.

The Tiguan copes better with ruts and potholes whereas the Qashqai tends to bounce more over uneven roads. But around town, the Nissan fares better and feels smaller. On paper, there's not a lot of difference in terms of size, but the Qashqai disguises its large body better. There's also less roll on corners and roundabouts.

The interiors of both cars are comfortable and tastefully designed. The Qashqai has chunkier switches and a thick-stitch steering wheel, compared to the Tiguan which is a little more understated with elegant chrome-surround detailing.

These are two good cars and both models offer a great blend of practicality and interior roominess, but a week with the Tiguan hasn't convinced me to part with the Qashqai. I think the Nissan's easy-to-drive nature and tougher-looking interior will win families over.

Current mileage: 1171

Average mpg: 46.2