Has the Nissan Qashqai met its match?
If you’re in the market for a mid-sized SUV, you are well and truly spoilt for choice; Just about every manufacturer and their mother is sparring for the SUV crown. The Nissan Qashqai has been the benchmark for many years, but has its recent mid-life update done enough to stay ahead of competition like the new Peugeot 3008 SUV?
We’ve gone for the 118bhp 1.6-litre BlueHDi in Allure trim for the Peugeot and 108bhp 1.5-litre DCI 110 in the N-Connecta Nissan for this comparison. Don’t worry, it’s not your eyes… The 3008 pictured is in GT-Line trim, but the selected models are the best fit when looking at price, economy and equipment.
Which is the most practical?
As the modern SUV continues to become the family workhorse, practicality is a key factor. Trips to the tip, loading bikes and buggies, the weekly shop… All of it must be accommodated with minimum fuss. Both the 3008 and Qashqai both deliver in this department, but which is best?
The Nissan provides a respectable 430-litres of space with a nice wide opening to make loading bulky items easier. There’s also some underfloor storage for valuables, and configurable dividers to stop your laptop from sliding about. Fold the rear seats flat and 1,585-litres will happily suffice for the odd Ikea trip.
The 3008 brings a larger 520-litre boot to the party, and while the Qashqai Top Trumps it by just five litres when the rear bench is stowed, the Peugeot’s bigger, squarer boot opening will make loading large items a bit easier. On top of that, the Peugeot’s real party piece is that you can fold the front seat flat when you need to load up that surfboard or sofa. There’s also some underfloor cargo space, but it’s not conveniently sectioned as it is in the Qashqai.
Both come with lashing eyes to tie things down, but in these trims only the Peugeot comes standard with a space saver spare wheel. The Nissan, like many new cars these days, comes with a puncture repair kit. If you want a space saver it will set you back £215.
When it comes to passengers, the 3008 happily accommodates adults in the outermost rear seats — providing that you haven’t specced the glass panoramic roof, which eats into headroom quite noticeably. The Peugeot’s achilles heel is to be found when you put someone in the middle seat; Whilst said passenger doesn’t have to straddle a hump in the floor, the protruding air vents take up most of the knee space.
If you want to put three passengers in the back, you’re better catered for by the Nissan Qashqai, as it serves up good head and leg room for all.
Ultimately, while both cars are impressively practical and well sorted for family motoring, boot space is likely to be the more important aspect in this class, so the Peugeot’s usefully larger boot and that folding passenger seat wins it this round.
Which one’s the cheapest?
The Nissan Qashqai. It’s that simple. Or is it? The Qashqai’s starting price of just over £19k undercuts the £22k that you’ll pay for the cheapest 3008, and if you’re on a tight budget, your decision is made. However, the numbers don’t tell the full story.
A Peugeot 3008 in its most basic form comes with an 8-inch touchscreen, 12.5-inch driver’s display, DAB radio, Bluetooth, automatic lights and wipers. To get those goodies on a Qashqai you need to step up to this N-Connecta trim which is just shy of £24k.
Things are better-matched when you compare the 3008’s Allure trim and the Qashqai’s N-Connecta. Each SUV comes with navigation, cruise control, traffic sign recognition and lane departure warning, but the Peugeot still has a few more gadgets as standard, including Apple CarPlay which is totally absent on the Nissan.
If you’re not worried about those extras, then these chosen diesel guises the Nissan comes out the cheapest by some £600, but on PCP finance there’s only a few quid in it. A healthy £3k deposit means that you can have these cars in the above trims for about £360 a month over three years.
Ultimately, the Nissan is cheaper if you’re willing to sacrifice the equipment levels, but the Peugeot is better value overall.
Which is the best to drive?
Neither of these cars are the Lotus Elise of the SUV world, so if you’re looking for keen handling you might want to head in the direction of the Mazda CX-5. However, in a straight fight between these two, the Qashqai wins for driving satisfaction.
The Peugeot is stable and has plenty of grip, but its steering lacks weight and leaves you feeling a bit disconnected. There’s also the usual side order of body roll that taller vehicles suffer from.
All of the Nissan’s controls feel more precise. The steering is more direct, the manual gearbox is slicker, and there’s less roll through the corners, so it feels keener to change direction, too.
Both cars offer an array of petrol and diesel engines, but when comparing the Peugeot’s 1.6 BlueHDi to the Nissan’s 1.5 DCI, it’s the French car that wins out. The 3008’s diesel provides plenty of shove right from low revs through the mid-range, and once up to speed it’s pretty quiet. A claimed 70.6 MPG isn’t bad either. In the real world expect high 40s.
Nissan’s diesel engine is perfectly good, but it’s less refined with that traditional diesel grumble remaining in the background. It’s also not quite as strong as the competition when it comes to the mid-range sprint. Still, this 1.5-litre might be 10bhp down on the Peugeot, but it does benefit from a better claimed 74.3 MPG. Around 40-45mpg is achievable in reality.
You can have the Nissan Qashqai with a more powerful 128bhp 1.6-litre diesel, but the power gain isn’t worth the increase in price or decrease in fuel economy.
Again, you’re not going to buy one of these when a Caterham would have suited better, but when it comes to handling the Nissan Qashqai takes it.
Which is the comfiest?
Comfort and refinement is a game of two halves with this pairing.
At low speeds things play into the Qashqai’s hands. It’s better at absorbing the lumps and bumps that litter our British roads, and it also features a clever system that nips at the brakes as you clamber over speed humps to ease the see-sawing motion.
The Peugeot has a tendency to thump into potholes and transmit road imperfections through to the cabin when you’re pottering about town, but at higher speeds the comfy slipper is on the other foot. The 3008 is smooth and quiet, whilst the Qashqai fidgets and is more susceptible to engine, wind and road noise.
Interiors are an important thing to consider — it’s where you spend most of your time after all. They have to be comfortable, practical, and capable of withstanding the most destructive force on Earth… Toddlers.
The Qashqai’s cabin is more function than style. There are plenty of storage compartments for the family’s gubbins and hardwearing materials feel like they’ll stand up to the rigours of life with a ravening pack of kids in tow. It’s not as plush-feeling as the Peugeot, but rear passengers are better off in the Nissan.
In the 3008 you are greeted by cascading surfaces and mood lighting. It’s a big departure from Peugeots of old and this design is a standout in its class. There are a few hard plastics to be found, but generally the perceived material quality is good.
Which is best for you will come down to how you use your car, so high mileage commuters will be better off with the long-legged 3008, but the more supple around-town ride comfort and better three-person rear accommodation of the Qashqai is great for the school run.
Which has got the best infotainment?
The Peugeot’s 8.0-inch touchscreen system comes as standard, but it isn’t the most intuitive with some key functions hidden away in sub-menus. The screen can also become laggy and unresponsive at times. Like a printer from the ‘90s it eventually catches up with itself. Mind you, if you have an Android or Apple smartphone you can use Android Auto and Apple CarPlay to bypass the Peugeot’s irritations altogether.
The standard 12.3-inch driver’s display also does a similar trick to Audi’s Virtual Cockpit. This customisable dashboard can nestle a map between the display to provide a detailed look at your surroundings at a glance.
A 7.0-inch touchscreen display with DAB radio and navigation is included on N-Connecta, but the system feels a bit dated and lacks Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. The grainy graphics aren’t a match for the animated dance the Peugeot’s screen does, but more importantly the Nissan’s system is easier to use and more responsive.
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but sometimes the old dog does just fine.
And the winner is…
Both of these mid-sized SUVs will be fine family cars, so choosing between them is a tricky task.
The Peugeot 3008 has been a long time coming for a brand that has been satisfied with mediocrity for the past decade. It’s striking to look at inside and out, comfortable and spacious. The Nissan is well priced at entry level and continues to be a contender for class leadership over a decade on from the Qashqai’s inception.
Overall it is the Peugeot that we would spend our money on. Its refinement, value for money, and strong diesel offering being key reasons why. The Qashqai is still a strong rival, but next to the Peugeot it’s beginning to show its age.