What are they like inside?
Drivers of all shapes and sizes will be comfortable in any of these SUVs because all offer plenty of space, supportive front seats, well-positioned pedals and adjustable lumbar support as standard. One quibble, however, is that the front head restraints in the Sportage and RAV4 are angled too far forwards.
You won’t find yourself baffled by any of the dashboard layouts, either, because all have straightforward air-con controls and buttons that are thoughtfully laid out and clearly marked. Each car has a centrally mounted touchscreen; the Sportage and Qashqai’’s are both quick to respond and easy to comprehend. It takes more time to learn the RAV4’s menu system, and its touchscreen doesn’t always respond quickly when you press it.
The Qashqai has the classiest interior, with the best blend of dense-feeling materials, although the Sportage isn’t far behind. The RAV4 trails its rivals with some clunkier damping to switches, and brittle-feeling plastics around key areas like the window control and door handles. It feels the cheapest of the trio inside by some stretch.
Where the RAV4 does outshine its rivals is on sheer space. It’s easily the biggest car here with the most head room in the front and leg room in the back. The Sportage and Qashqai aren’t cramped, though; they’re both roomy enough in the rear for a couple of six-footers to stretch out and relax. The Kia even matches the Toyota’s standard reclining rear seats.
Inevitably, the RAV4 has the biggest and most practical boot. It’s longer and deeper than its rivals’ (below the tonneau cover), with a usefully wide aperture and a low load lip that’s flush with the boot floor. The spring-loaded rear seatbacks also fold virtually flat at the tug of a lever.
That said, it’s easy to drop the seats in the Sportage and Qashqai to get a smooth, extended load bay. Many will value the false boot floor that’s standard in the Nissan but missing in the other two – it allows you to divide up the load bay in several different ways.
Forward visibility is good in all three cars, as you’d expect given their fairly boxy shapes. The RAV4’s chunky rear pillars create a blind spot when looking over your shoulder, although huge door mirrors do help counteract this. All three have reversing cameras, and the Qashqai also comes with front parking sensors and a camera with a 360deg bird’s eye view of the car.
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