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Nissan Qashqai or Juke?

By raccars Published

Nissan's Qashqai and Juke compact SUVs are not only two of Britain's most popular new car buys, they've compelled other manufacturers to up their game in this market segment. Since the Qashqai's release, every brand has clambered on to the compact SUV bandwagon.

The cars are so successful due to their blend of chunky, SUV styling, without the high purchase and running costs of traditionally expensive Chelsea tractors. Both have a range of petrol or diesel and two or four-wheel drive options.

On the road the two cars offer a quite different driving experience. The sporty Juke's sharp steering and excellent body control are countered by a less than silky ride and woolly traction. The Qashqai suffers from a similarly vague grip on the tarmac, but is a lot smoother and quieter. As a result, it wallows around corners where the Juke stays taut.

The two cars share a 1.6 litre petrol engine, which is joined by a couple of higher tuned turbos of the same displacement for the Juke and a 2.0 litre for the Qashqai. The turbos are the ones to go for – the naturally aspirated models have plenty of guts but make you work for it.

The diesels are more impressive, with the two cars again sharing a 1.5 litre unit that works very well in the Juke, with a nicely balanced power range and excellent fuel economy. The Qashqai also gets 1.6 and 2.0 litre diesel options, of which the 1.6 litre is the better all-rounder.

In the cabin, the Nissan Juke is funky and futuristic but the bold styling would benefit from the use of higher quality materials. The Qashqai's interior looks old-fashioned in comparison and suffers from the same use of cheap trim. However in both cases, the layout of the controls is neat and user-friendly, particularly higher-spec versions with an integrated touchscreen satellite navigation. The Qashqai is the winner in the comfort stakes, with more driver position adjustment options and better visibility and rear access. With its slightly roomier interior, the Qashqai scores on practicality too – although both cars are stingy on headroom for rear passengers.

The Juke is certainly a more fun choice for smaller families and is fantastic value for money. Pick of the bunch is the 1.5 dCi Visia, which is the entry-level model but comes with the most desirable engine and equipment, including alloys, air-con, electric windows all round and a stereo with auxiliary input.

The Qashqai is more is expensive but also larger and more mature, so probably a better option for larger families.

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