What will they cost?
Most private buyers will opt to take out PCP finance. Put down a £4000 deposit on a 36-month contract – with a 12,000-mile annual limit – and the Sportage is the cheapest option at £247 per month. The same terms bring monthly costs of £265 and £303 for the Qashqai and RAV4.
The Sportage’s CO2 emissions aren’t particularly competitive and result in it costing £537 more than the Qashqai to run as a company car over three years – assuming you’re a 40% taxpayer. The RAV4 has higher emissions still, making it an even pricier company car; it costs £1307 more than the Qashqai over three years. If you’re leasing, the Nissan is the cheapest option, the RAV4 most expensive and the Sportage roughly splits the difference.
The RAV4 also falls into higher road tax (VED) and insurance bands than its smaller rivals. It costs around £300 more to insure each year, while 12 months’ VED costs £110, compared with £30 for the Sportage, and £20 for the Qashqai. In fact, if you go for smaller 17in alloys on the Nissan (a no-cost option) you’ll enjoy free road tax and even cheaper company car tax because emissions fall to 99g/km.
All three cars come with alloy wheels, cruise control, a multi-function steering wheel and some form of air-conditioning. To this, the Sportage and Qashqai add automatic lights and wipers, dual-zone climate control (which can automatically maintain a set cabin temperature rather than just blow hot or cold air on demand) and sat-nav.
The Qashqai is best for safety, with traffic sign recognition, automatic high-beam assist, lane-departure warning and automatic emergency braking (AEB) fitted as standard. The Sportage gets all of these apart from AEB, which disappointingly can’t even be added as an option. This important safety feature can’t be added to the RAV4, either.
Thatcham rated all three cars equally highly for their resistance to being stolen and broken into. The only weak area for the Nissan is its three-year warranty; Toyota and Kia provide five and seven years of cover respectively.
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