The Nissan Qashqai and Range Rover Evoque are both similarly sized, but exude very different images
A used Range Rover Evoque eD4 from 2012 now costs £25,750
When it was launched, this Evoque cost £27,955
A new Nissan Qashqai 1.6 dCi Acenta Premium costs £25,155
This Qashqai can reach 62mph in 9.9 seconds
The Evoque is significantly slower to 62mph, taking 11.2 seconds
The Qashqai is the more economical choice here, returning 64.2mpg
The Evoque may be a used choice, but it still offers a high-class, high-quality cabin
Leather trim features throughout, and the Evoque offers decent legroom in the rear
The Evoque's 4-cylinder turbodiesel engine produces 148bhp and 280lb ft
The Evoque may be the smallest model in the range, but it keeps the front-end look of the larger Range Rover
This eD4 version of the Evoque emits 133g/km
The Qashqai's cabin is full of useful tech and is ergonomically sound
Rear legroom is apt in the Qashqai, but its sloping roofline can hinder headroom
The Qashqai's 1.6-litre diesel engine develops 128bhp
The Qashqai gets Nissan's V-shaped front-end design, which is echoed on the facelifted Juke
The Evoque handles tidily and grips well
The Nissan's firmer set-up suits corners
Both the Qashqai and the Evoque's powerplants exhibit turbo lag, but the Nissan pulls better
The Evoque has a tendency to fidget on the motorway
This pairing occupies a very specific space. It’s that almond-shaped sliver in the Venn diagram where Nissan’s plaudit-winning family crossover meets Land Rover’s plush, hot-cake-selling compact 4x4.
From new, even the most expensive Qashqai costs less than the cheapest five-door Range Rover Evoque, but delve into the Evoque’s back catalogue and there’s pricing parity: our long-term Qashqai 1.6 dCi Acenta Premium with pearlescent paint lists at £25,155 new, while 2012 Evoque eD4s in entry-level Pure spec can now be had from £25,750 with fewer than 20,000 miles on the clock.
Both have five doors and five seats and drive their front wheels only via a four-cylinder diesel engine and six-speed manual gearbox.
This second-gen Qashqai is sharper-looking, more upmarket and more refined than the first. It is an impressive piece of kit – engineered for purpose with a good helping of quality to boot.
But can it really hope to mix it for style and comfort with something wearing a Range Rover badge? And can the Rangie offer the practicality and parsimony to take it to the Nissan when it comes to daily chores and household finances?
Our thoughts on how these cars look shouldn’t carry much weight, but the ways in which they fill what is essentially a common footprint – the Evoque’s extra 159mm of width is the only notable exterior discrepancy – could barely be more different.
And in such an image-conscious market, it’s hard to argue that the Evoque’s arresting aesthetic isn’t a major reason why it’s the fastest-selling used car in the UK. Sure, this new Qashqai looks bolder than the über-conservative original, but beside the Evoque, it seems more than a little plain.
That theme continues inside. The Qashqai’s cabin is hard to fault for ergonomics, comfort and solidity, but its aesthetic anonymity means you’d struggle to pick it out in a line-up if you stuck gaffer tape over the steering wheel boss. Meanwhile, the Evoque serves up new levels of design and luxury.
There’s high-quality leather on the seats, dashboard and grab handles, and the cabin’s smart, geometric shapes contrast with the Qashqai’s faddier, swoopy lines.
Dinginess is a complaint that you could level against both interiors, and that sensation is heightened in the Evoque, with its smaller glass area.
However, although the Range Rover’s squashed-sandwich profile means that there’s not much light in the back, it does allow for a decent amount of space – a six-footer can happily sit behind another with enough room above and in front, although the Qashqai offers a fair bit more legroom despite its fractionally shorter wheelbase.
The rear seats split and fold in both, boosting load space from 430 to 1585 litres in the Qashqai and from 575 to 1445 litres in the Evoque.
The Nissan’s space is more uniform and easier to access, and its two movable boot panels add flexibility, including the option to make an entirely flat floor with the seats folded, which the Range Rover can’t quite manage.
Litreage at the other end is less closely matched, but the Qashqai’s 1.6 makes a respectable 128bhp against the Evoque’s 148bhp 2.2, and the Nissan is actually quicker, taking 9.9sec to reach 62mph instead of the Evoque’s 11.2sec. In reality, both are nippy around town.
It’s only on the motorway that the Evoque’s extra 90kg and bulkier form start to tell, with the granular but well mannered engine straining when goaded while the Qashqai’s smoother unit springs on. Both exhibit turbo lag but pull comfortably from below 2000rpm and simmer down nicely in sixth.
Shifting gear is far more rewarding in the Range Rover. Its stubby lever’s short throw is enjoyably compact and stocky whereas the Nissan’s longer action feels looser. So it is with the steering, the Evoque’s helm feeling much weightier than the Qashqai’s, even when the Nissan is in Sport mode.
Both set-ups are nicely progressive, though. Spirit these cars down a twisty road and the British-built Japanese offering yields the more car-like experience, containing roll and resisting dive better than Gaydon’s finest, but the Evoque’s greater track and wider tyres lend it higher limits of grip.
The flipside is that the Evoque has the comfier ride in all situations, smothering scars and ridges with a stately lope, and with only a slight tendency to fidget on the motorway to threaten the peace. The Qashqai’s ride niggles that bit more, most obviously in town, and, in sum, it feels tauter but less settled.
The Nissan boasts more gizmos. Items such as sat-nav, traffic sign recognition, auto low-beam, lane departure warning, front and rear parking sensors (the standard Evoque gets rears only), panoramic roof and rear privacy glass are all included here but cost extra on the Range Rover.
Typically, the Evoque counters with luxury and style: leather, 18-inch alloy wheels and an 11-speaker audio system are standard fit. Those hungry for kit could defer to a higher-mileage Evoque equipped with the Tech pack and stay in the same price range. The pack cost £1900 from new and includes sat-nav, front parking sensors and rain-sensing wipers.
Official figures say that the Evoque will cost about 12 per cent more in fuel, and its higher emissions attract £130 in annual road tax to the Qashqai’s £30. Nissan London West charges £159 and £249 for the Qashqai’s alternating minor and major annual services.
Lookers Land Rover in Battersea, London, asks £392 and £515 for the Evoque, but that drops to £325 and £429 for cars more than three years old.
If you can stand those extra running costs, the Evoque is the clear winner. It’s a mite less practical and has less safety kit, but you’d never call it impractical or unsafe, and the luxury and comfort that it ladles on put it well beyond the Nissan’s reach.
Nissan Qashqai 1.6 dCi Acenta Premium
Price £25,155; 0-62mph 9.9sec; Top speed 118mph; Economy 64.2mpg; CO2 115g/km; Kerb weight 1535kg; Engine 4 cyls, 1598cc, turbodiesel; Power 128bhp at 4000rpm; Torque 236lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox 6-speed manual
Range Rover Evoque eD4
Price £25,750 (price new: £27,995); 0-62mph 11.2sec; Top speed 112mph; Economy 56.5mpg; CO2 133g/km; Kerb weight 1625kg; Engine 4 cyls, 2179cc, turbodiesel; Power 148bhp at 4000rpm; Torque 280lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox 6-speed manual
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