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.