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New Nissan Qashqai vs used BMW X1: which is best?

You want a sharp-looking family SUV but you have a choice – do you buy a new example of the car that’s come to define the class, or do you buy a year-old one with a premium badge?

Words By Mark Pearson

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So you’re looking for a car that’ll transport you and your family around in comfort and top that off with a healthy dose of practicality, and you’ve decided that an SUV is the car for you. You want the raised driving position, the rugged good looks and the flexibility of the spacious interior, and you’ve narrowed your choice in this highly competitive class down to just one, the car that defined the class: the Nissan Qashqai.

But wait. For the price of a new Qashqai you could put a one-year-old example of the BMW X1 on your driveway, and that’s a car with a premium badge. The Beemer is quicker, too, and it’s sharper to drive. Is that classy badge enough to tempt you out of a brand new car and into a used one?

Read on as we pit our favourite versions of both of these cars against each other, and attempt to answer that question.


Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi N-Connecta List Price: Β£25,555 Target price: Β£23,588 Official fuel economy: 74.3mpg Emissions: 99g/km CO2 Power: 109bhp 0-62mph: 11.9sec Top speed: 113mph


BMW X1 sDrive 18d SE Price new: Β£29,235 Price today: Β£23,931 Official fuel economy: 61.4mpg Emissions: 120g/km CO2 Power: 148bhp 0-62mph: 9.3sec Top speed: 127mph

Price today is based on a 2017 model with average mileage and a full service history


New Nissan Qashqai vs used BMW X1 – styling

Part of the charm of the original first-generation Nissan Qashqai was its chunky good looks. The car that came to define the family SUV class was initially seen as a bit of a gamble, but it soon paid off, and people were happy to part with their cash to be behind the wheel of the elevated Qashqai with its pseudo-off-road styling. This second-generation model only added to the appeal, with a sharper, more heavily styled shape and more distinctive front and rear ends. A recent facelift has only added to the car’s visual appeal.

The original BMW X1 also succeeded in the styling department by incorporating all the traits that make the regular BMW saloons so popular. This second-gen car is larger than the old car and better proportioned. It looks more solid, as befitting the brand’s premium image, and although not a fashion leader it’s the sort of classy and understated look that many will be pleased to have sitting on their driveway.


New Nissan Qashqai vs used BMW X1 – driving

Another factor in the success of the original Qashqai was its ability to overcome its raised-up stance and still provide the driving manners of a lower-slung hatchback. This second-generation Qashqai actually improved upon the driving characteristics of the first model, with sharper steering and better handling. The ride can be a little jittery around town, but it’s composed and stable at all other speeds. The 1.5-litre diesel engine isn’t especially powerful but it is smooth and gutsy.

It would be a great pity if a car with a BMW badge turned out not to ride and handle well, even one as tall as this car is, but there are no such worries with the X1. The steering is precise and confidence-inspiring, and it attacks corners with a fluidity and stability the Qashqai can’t match. The ride is firm, generally, but if you can find a used car that’s been specified with the adaptive dampers you’ll be able to fine-tune it for softer and more comfortable behaviour. The 148bhp diesel motor in this X1 gives it plenty of punch, so it always feels much quicker than the Qashqai.

Next: What are they like inside? >**