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Used test: Nissan Qashqai vs Skoda Karoq

Buy either of these family SUVs at two years old and you'll save yourself almost £10,000, but which is the better all-rounder? We have the answer...

Used test: Nissan Qashqai vs Skoda Karoq

The Contenders

Nissan Qashqai 1.6 DIG-T 163 Tekna+

List price when new £29,250
Price today  £20,500*
Available from 2014-present

Almost iconic in SUV circles and ever-popular, but is the Qashqai getting a bit long in the tooth now?


Skoda Karoq 1.5 TSI 150 Edition

List price when new  £27,110
Price today £20,400*
Available from 2017-present

One of our favourite family SUVs is great to drive and looks good value on the used market.

*Price today is based on a 2018 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing


Hard to believe, but the car that kicked off the whole family SUV class and has since gone on to define it is now, at 13 years old, a teenager. The Nissan Qashqai has gone through a couple of generations – and a couple of facelifts – since its 2007 launch and, despite it being seen as a bit of a gamble when it was initially launched, its story is one of undeniable success. 

Over the years, though, other manufacturers have cottoned on to the idea that producing something similar might be lucrative for them, too, and one of the newer rivals to impress us most in recent years is the Skoda Karoq. Launched in 2017 as a replacement for the venerable Yeti, the handsome and affordable Karoq is both practical and good to drive. 

Qashqai

Here, we’ve lined a two-year-old and top-spec example of the Karoq up against a similarly range-topping Qashqai of the same age to see which one of these two makes more sense when bought used. Can the reception kid sock it to the fourth former? Read on to find out.


Driving

Performance, ride, handling, refinement

With 161bhp on tap from its 1.6-litre petrol engine against the 1.5-litre Karoq’s 148bhp, it’s not surprising the Qashqai is the quicker car of the two. The Qashqai’s shorter gearing also helps it build speed swiftly from low revs in the higher gears. However, the Karoq has a smoother power delivery than the Qashqai and is therefore much easier to drive, especially around town. Having said that, the Karoq’s gear shift is a bit stiff, while the Qashqai’s has a longer throw but is generally more effortless and precise.

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The Karoq is the stand-out car in terms of handling and is easily the most agile of these two. This is helped by quick, precise steering, good grip and tidy body control through corners. Meanwhile, the Qashqai sways about more and behaves more like a traditional SUV along winding roads. Its steering isn’t as accurate, either.

On top of that, in Tekna+ trim, the Qashqai becomes annoyingly unsettled at higher speeds on its standard 19in wheels. This range-topping Karoq also rides on 19in wheels as standard, so it’s firmer than we’d like at low speeds, but it’s still the least fractious of the two.

Head out on the motorway and the Karoq is nicely refined, whereas the Qashqai’s increased road noise makes it the louder car at speed.


Next: What are they like inside? >>

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