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Used test: Honda Civic vs Nissan Qasqhai

If you're looking for a used family car, should you choose an SUV like the Nissan Qashqai or a hatchback like the Honda Civic?...

Used test: Honda Civic vs Nissan Qashqai

The contenders

Honda Civic 1.0 VTEC Turbo SR

List price when new £20,340
Price today £9000*
Available from 2017-2022

The Civic promises a good driving experience, cheap running costs and plenty of kit

Nissan Qashqai 1.6 DIG-T 163 Tekna+

List price when new £29,250
Price today £11,000*
Available from 2014-2021

A popular model and not just within the family SUV class, the Qashqai is comfy and practical

*Price today is based on a 2017 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing

Many family car buyers have switched to a family SUV, whether recently or in the past 17 years. That's a bit specific, you say? Well, it is, because that's how long the Nissan Qashqai has been around – it's been tempting car buyers into SUV ownership since 2007. It's been quite successful, too: millions of them have been sold.

Mind you, even with the Qashqai's success and the popularity of family SUVs the family car isn't dead yet. Many people still buy new and used ones, with famous faces like the Honda Civic still alive and kicking.

Honda Civic front cornering

So, if your heart isn't set on an SUV, then the Civic can be just as tempting, especially used. Both of these cars are very reasonably priced at seven years old. We've brought them together for a little class-vs-class competition. 


Performance, ride, handling, refinement

The Qashqai is the more powerful car. Its 161bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine helped it complete the 0-60mph sprint in 9.0sec against our stopwatch. The Civic's 1.0-litre petrol engine has 127bhp, allowing for 0-60mph in 10.7sec in our hands – we should mention that our track had become wet by the time the Civic stepped up for its run. 

That'll satisfy most people – you'll have enough performance to get by, whether you're pootling around town or getting up to motorway speeds – even though it isn't a match for the Qashqai's punch. 

Nissan Qashqai front cornering

It'd be a stretch to call either of these cars 'fun to drive', but the Civic gets the closest. Of course, being lighter and lower to the ground, the Civic is naturally at an advantage over the taller, heavier Qashqai. Regardless, the Civic feels sharper and more agile, and it leans less in the bends.

Mind you, the Qashqai isn't exactly aloof. For the class, it's composed and capable. There's a good amount of grip at your disposal, too.

Both of our contenders have relatively soft and compliant rides, but it's the Civic that's the smoother of the two. It's only on faster A-roads where we wish it had a bit more composure because it's otherwise very capable.

Nissan Qashqai

The Qashqai's 19in wheels (that come with our test car's Tekna+ trim) are its main weak spot. They make the model too easily upset by large bumps, plus they generate a fair lick of road noise. 

In SR trim, the Civic sports 17in wheels. They whip up some road noise and, generally, we'd prefer if the Civic were even quieter (some of its direct rivals are), but it's more hushed than the Qashqai. 

Next: What are they like inside? >>

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