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Kia Sportage vs Nissan Qashqai – Which is Better?

Compare two of the UK’s most popular compact crossover SUVs. Our complete guide to the Kia Sportage & Nissan Qashqai will tell you everything you need to know

While the Kia Sportage combines a sleek silhouette with surprising off-road capability, the Nissan Qashqai gives it a run for its money with a sophisticated aesthetic, feature-packed interior and superb Japanese engineering. Both are classed as compact crossover SUVs and have emerged as two of the most popular family-sized models on British roads.

At first glance the two are very similar, though with a little research you'll find some key differences between the Kia Sportage and the Nissan Qashqai…

Brand History

First introduced in 1993, the Kia Sportage has been reimagined several times over the past few decades. The Korean-based company is one of the top auto manufacturers in the world, with more than one million cars sold in the UK alone.

On the flipside, the Nissan Qashqai promises power and practicality from one of Japan's premium manufacturers. The model was first introduced to British roads in 2007 and quickly emerged as one of the top selling compact crossover SUVs in the country.

Popularity

In 2015, the Sportage accounted for more than a quarter of Kia’s European sales. It maintains a serious presence on British roads and is the Kia's best-selling model in the UK, according to TopGear. The Nissan Qashqai is another top-performing model in the UK, winning over city drivers, families and adventure seekers alike.

Performance

Designed to enhance driving pleasure and improve energy efficiency, the new Nissan Qashqai is available with either 140 or 160 PS engines - roughly 138hp or 158hp - both boasting 1.3-litre four-cylinder turbos. This may seem small compared to some SUVs but rest assured, the Nissan Qashqai promises plenty of power. In fact, the same 1.3-litre engine is used in the latest Mercedes A-Class models.

The Sportage offers a powerful engine, making it a good choice for towing trailers and caravans. The high-powered diesel version features a 1.6-litre CRDi with 114bhp or 134bhp. The basic unit can travel from 0-62mph in an impressive 11.4 seconds, with a top speed of 109mph. Sportage petrol models offer a choice of two 1.6-litre engines, including a non-turbocharged GDi unit offering 132hp and 161Nm of torque. The manual gearbox offers slightly better performance than the seven-speed DCT automatic.

Technology

Both the Kia Sportage and Nissan Qashqai spoil motorists with a suite of high-tech gadgets. Expect inbuilt satnavs, Bluetooth connectivity and climate control in almost all models. The Sportage goes one step further with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, making it a favourite with tech savvy motorists. That said, the Qashqai doesn't scrimp on technology and offers extras like park and lane assist, as well as an all-around camera.

Design

The Kia Sportage makes an impact with an athletic design and bold silhouette. Rounded edges give the car a fluid look, while the signature front grill creates an imposing façade. It's been compared to luxury models like the Porsche Cayenne, with analogous features including the bonnet-mounted lights, curved edges and tailgate strip light.

In comparison, the Nissan Qashqai champions sharper angles designed to improve aerodynamics and create a sleek aesthetic. Standout features include the striking 'V Motion' grille and unique front and rear bumper designs.

Space

When it comes to boot space, the Sportage outclasses the Qashqai with a huge 491 litres compared to 430 litres. That said, with the seats folded down the Qashqai offers capacity of 1598 litres versus the 1480 litres offered by the Sportage. Both models offer plenty of leg and head room for a spacious ride whether you're behind the wheel or in a passenger seat. 

Practicality

There's a reason compact crossover SUVs have emerged as one of the most popular auto genres in the UK. Models like the Kia Sportage and Nissan Qashqai combine the space and off-road freedom of an SUV with the manoeuvrability and urban friendly appeal of a compact vehicle. So, whether you're zipping around the city or gearing up for an adventure, both the Kia Sportage and Nissan Qashqai are ready to hit the road.

Engine/Fuel Choice - Green Credentials

When it comes to fuel economy the Nissan Qashqai offers an impressive 74mpg with the 1.5 litre diesel engine. Both versions of the engine meet strict new European standards and offer vigorous acceleration and smoother response when driving at low speeds. You'll also enjoy better fuel consumption rates and lower CO2 emissions. The Kia Sportage doesn't quite keep up, with the 1.7 CRDi diesel engine offering a maximum of 61.4mpg and CO2 emissions starting at 126 g/km.

From a life-cycle emissions perspective, some buyers prefer the Nissan Qashqai as it's made in the manufacturer's British Sunderland plant. Not only does this support the British economy, but it also slashes the overall carbon footprint of the Nissan Qashqai.

Benefit in Kind (BIK)

The final point of comparison? Benefit-in-kind, or BIK for short. The Kia Sportage offers BIK rates starting at 32%, while the Nissan Qashqai is roughly on par, with a BIK Percentage of 30%.

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