The Nissan Qashqai is well known as being the car that started the trend for mainstream family SUVs, despite the fact that Nissan took a bit of a risk when they launched the first generation Qashqai back in 2006 and subsequently invented the crossover family SUV. The current third generation, the All-New Nissan Qashqai SUV, was revealed in 2021 and brought with it a new style into an increasingly competitive market.
The Nissan X Trail was first introduced by the brand in 2004 in the UK as a big and boxy SUV to rival brands like Land Rover. Over time it's been redesigned and refined and is currently on it's third generation, with the fourth awaiting a European release, and has stayed popular in the SUV market.
Currently worth noting is that at time of writing the newest iteration of the Nissan X Trail is currently not available for purchase from brand new. The Nissan website advises that it is "coming soon" but has no date for when they expect new stock to be available. If you are looking to purchase brand new, the Qashqai is currently your only option from the two models.
The main design difference between the Nissan Qashqai and the Nissan X Trail is the size. The latter is 246mm longer and gives you more space in the rear half of the car. The X-Trail is much closer to being a replacement for the Qashqai+2, which also offered an extra row of seats to make it a seven seater, rather than a vastly different X-Trail model.
It's easy to mistake one model for the other at a first glance as they do look incredibly similar, as you would expect cars from the same brand to do. Many people have said that the chrome trims, LED daytime running lights, and detailing that they share makes both cars look appealing and sophisticated. There are some small design differences to the two cars though, such as the styling of their front bumpers, the Qashqai is much more squared off on the front, and their rear light clusters.
The Qashqai is more versatile than rivals, including many hatchbacks that it is often compared to, thanks to having more ground clearance and being sturdier to drive in all weathers. The X Trail is a little more practical as it's a larger model and is cheaper than many rival SUVs like the Hyundai Santa Fe and any Land Rover model.
One of the main reasons to choose the Nissan X-Trail over the Nissan Qashqai is the amount of room that it provides. With the option for 7 seats it's 246mm longer than the Qashqai and means that even as a family of five you can take friends with you if you need to.
As this third row of seats go in what would be the boot space it does reduce your room from 565 litres to 445 litres but is still more cargo space than in the Qashqai, which is 430 litres with all five of its seats in use.
If you do have the rear seats folded to use all of the space you can expect to have a completely flat surface in both cars to load into and have 1598 litres of room in the Qashqai compared to 1996 litres in the X-Trail.
The interior design and layout is incredibly similar for both models, with a touchscreen infotainment system only being available from an upgraded trim level and high quality materials finishing the cabin. With either model its worth opting for a trim level above the Visia to have a little more equipment.
Coming from the same brand, the Qashqai and the X-Trail are well matched for equipment. You can expect a digital driver's display, LED daytime running lights, and cruise control in either of the two cars but some differences even in basic models.
Looking at more expensive models for either car will also increase the equipment you have and add things such as roof rails, dual zone climate control, satellite navigation, and leather upholstery.
They do have a few differences in equipment that's available as standard, although most options can be added on to either model for an additional cost or by purchasing a higher trim level.
The Nissan Qashqai will give you automatic headlights where the Nissan X Trail requires you to step up to the Acenta trim for these. Similarly the Smart Vision pack is an option on the X Trail until you reach the N-Connecta level. This pack includes traffic sign recognition, lane departure warning, intelligent forward emergency braking with pedestrian recognition, and front and rear parking sensors but are all standard across the Qashqai range (aside from front parking sensors) as part of the range of features that fall under the Nissan Intelligent Mobility umbrella.
Looking at how both cars drive, the Qashqai has been described as having a sportier feel to it, although it isn't how you would normally describe it, thanks to the handling response being comparable to some hatchbacks. The X-Trail has some more body roll when you take corners as it has larger dimensions and provides a lot of assured grip as you drive, making it have a really authentic SUV feeling to it..
The Nissan X Trail offers more choice for engines, including two diesel options, whilst the Nissan Qashqai has only one petrol engine with two power outputs. For fuel consumption, the X Trail's diesel 1.6 litre 130PS engine offers the highest combined cycle mpg at 57.6 although many people are moving away from diesel options in favour of lighter petrol and hybrid vehicles.
The Qashqai engine range are all mild hybrid so the engine power is supported by an electric motor. This is mostly used in the initial pull away of the car which means that you get a smooth and punchy movement whilst also improving your fuel consumption, particularly in urban driving scenarios.
Most likely your decision between the two models will come down to whether or not you need the X Trail's extra row of seats or additional boot space if you choose to use it as a five seater.
If you're not sure which is better suited to you our helpful team at Specialist Cars Nissan Aberdeen are always on hand to answer any questions that you might have and to help you on your journey to your new car.