Nissan Qashqai 1.6 dCi 130 Visia
List price when new £19,695
Price today £8000
Available from 2007-2013
The first-generation Qashqai is still an immensely popular family car, and this 1.6-litre diesel is its best engine
Peugeot 3008 1.6 e-HDI Access EGC
List price when new £19,845
Price today £6500
Available from 2009-2016
A strong diesel engine, smart interior and great versatility are just a few of the 3008’s highlights
Skoda Yeti 1.6 TDI Greenline II SE
List price when new £18,505
Price today £8000
Available from 2009-2013
The Yeti has a massive cabin and versatile seating. It’s also cheap to run, and fun to drive.
Price today is based on a 2012 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing
Until a few years ago, if you wanted a family SUV, you’d have to make do with a 4x4 that had a high driving position, but compromised in terms of the way it drove and the amount of fuel it consumed.
But all that changed with the arrival of the Nissan Qashqai. It kept the tall stance, but in length and width it was more akin to a family hatchback than a small estate, giving many buyers the commanding view of the road and easy access they sought, but with dimensions that were far more manageable on narrow urban streets and in tight car parking spaces.
No wonder it was a huge hit. And no wonder, either, that it spawned a whole load of imitators; the Peugeot 3008 and Skoda Yeti among them. Both have had similar success to the Qashqai; the Peugeot thanks to its high-quality interior, easy practicality and relaxed driving manners, and the Skoda for its airy passenger space, versatile seating arrangement, rugged styling and vast, boxy luggage bay.
Back in 2012, we reckoned the Qashqai was still the best of all three, especially in then freshly facelifted form. Five years on, now that all three are well within reach of the average used buyer, it’s time to find out whether that’s still the case.
What are they like to drive?
All of these cars have 1.6-litre diesel engines to keep down emissions and maximise fuel economy. The Nissan’s is easily the srongest, not only in terms of outright power but also torque. Let the revs drop below 1800rpm and it struggles a bit, but above that it pulls smoothly and strongly.
The Skoda has the weakest engine, so you need to work it hard. Long gearing hampers flexibility further, which means overtaking a lorry or tackling a steep hill almost always means changing down a gear or two.
Still, the Yeti easily outperforms the 3008, and that’s largely because the Peugeot is the only car here without a manual gearbox. Instead it has a slow-witted, jerky semi-automatic ’box that takes an age to change ratios.
The Qashqai behaves most like a conventional SUV. It soaks up bumps well, but the downside of its soft suspension is a lot of body roll in corners. Still, the Nissan rarely feels untidy because the lean is progressive and the steering direct. The Qashqai also has the tightest turning circle here.
The Yeti is the most 'car-like' to drive, because there’s little body sway and plenty of grip from the front tyres. The Skoda’s steering also gives you a decent amount of feedback, although it does kick back under hard cornering, while the ride is choppy at all speeds.
In sportier forms, the 3008 comes with Dynamic Roll Control, which reduces body lean and improves ride quality. That set-up isn’t available on the model we’re testing here, so the Peugeot leans almost as much as the Qashqai. The low-speed ride is almost too firm, while mid-corner bumps send nasty shudders through the cabin. The Peugeot also has the widest turning circle of the three, but the steering is quick and light.
Anyone wanting a quiet drive should steer well clear of the Yeti. Its engine grumbles away loudly whatever speed you’re doing, and you can hear the suspension working over scarred roads. The Peugeot and Nissan, however, are much quieter. There’s a bit of wind noise from the 3008’s front screen at speed, while Qashqai occupants are well isolated from wind, engine and road noise.
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