Nissan Qashqai 2.0 Acenta 2WD
List price when new £17,550
Price today £3000-£10,500
Available from 2010-16
Nissan's Brit-built favourite is best as a diesel, but this petrol version still has plenty of appeal
Peugeot 3008 1.6 THP Sport
List price when new £17,795
Price today £3000-£10,000
Available from 2009-13
In petrol turbo form, the 3008 pairs a fantastic engine with a huge, versatile boot
The Nissan Qashqai has been a smash hit with families – and has confounded sceptics who, at its launch, dismissed it as neither one thing nor another.
In truth, it is many things rolled into one. It combines the driving characteristics of a conventional family hatchback, the elevated ride and chunky styling of an SUV, and the space and versatility of a compact MPV. Many so-called crossovers have attempted such a complex blend but then fallen between all stools. However, the Qashqai performs every role very well, which is why first-generation cars, of which plenty are around, make such great used buys.
For a while, it has had few real rivals – until, that is, the Peugeot 3008 came along. It, too, took the approach of merely pretending to be an SUV, and set out to beat the Qashqai by offering a stylish interior and a larger, more flexible boot. But which of these cars has stood the test of time better, and which is as dated as a '90s girl band?
What are they like to drive?
While four-wheel drive was available to Qashqai buyers, most opted instead for the cheaper front-wheel-drive models, such as the 138bhp 2.0-litre petrol version we’re testing here.
By contrast, all 3008s are front-wheel drive, and our test car's turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine serves up more power than the Qashqai’s 2.0-litre unit. The Peugeot engine – developed with BMW – might be smaller than the Qashqai’s, but with its turbo-boosted 148bhp and 177lb ft of torque it feels a lot stronger, especially from low revs.
It’s hard to believe that this sweet-sounding engine also powered the tiny Mini Cooper of the time, because it hauls the heavier 3008 along very effectively, aided by a slick six-speed manual gearbox. It rarely gets stressed or harsh, either.
The Qashqai’s 138bhp 2.0-litre engine, developing a more modest 145lb ft of torque, is weedy by comparison and needs to be worked much harder. As a result it’s a noisier car and less eager than the 3008.
That’s not to say the 3008 feels like a sportier car, though. This particular version, and the 2.0-litre diesel, were equipped with Dynamic Roll Control, an electronic system that helped prevent the body from leaning and improved the ride quality. Even so, these 3008s are relaxed in demeanour rather than razor-sharp, while lesser models without the extra electronics feel rather lumpen.
By contrast, every Qashqai gets the same basic suspension setup, and this makes it far less prone to body lean than 3008s without Dynamic Roll Control. Despite its raised ground clearance, the Qashqai feels neither top-heavy nor cumbersome, and its steering is sharper than the 3008's. It isn’t exactly a high-riding hot hatch, but as a family car that injects a bit of fun into proceedings, it fits the bill perfectly. Shame, then, that this 2.0-litre petrol engine isn’t quite up to the job. The 3008’s 1.6-litre turbo is far more impressive.
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