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Car Reviews Faceoff: Nissan Qashqai SL AWD vs. Hyundai Tucson Ultimate AWD

Shopping for a compact crossover is tough, these days. There are so many options. Here’s how two of the more recent contenders stack up.

2019 Nissan Qashqai SL AWD

The Nissan Qashqai.

Petrina Gentile

Base price/as tested: $19,998/$35,548

Engine: 2.0L 4-cylinder engine with 146 hp and 147 lb-ft of torque

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Transmission/Drive: Six-speed manual or continuously variable automatic/Front-wheel or AWD

Fuel consumption (litres/100 km): 9.1 city/7.6 hwy

2019 Hyundai Tucson Ultimate AWD

The Hyundai Tucson.

Petrina Gentile

Base price/as tested: $25,599/$39,804

Engine: 2.4-litre four cylinder with 181 hp and 175

Transmission/Drive: Six-speed automatic/Front-wheel or AWD

Fuel consumption (litres/100 km): 11.0 city/9.1 hwy

Looks

Qashqai: The Qashqai looks like a smaller version of its big brother, the Nissan Rogue, with a shorter wheelbase (2.3 inches) overall length (12.1 inches less). Colour is a big trend in CUVs – the bolder, the better to make them stand out from the crowd. The Qashqai comes in cool shades of the rainbow including monarch orange, scarlet ember, nitro lime, and Caspian blue metallic.

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The Qashqai looks like a smaller version of its big brother, the Nissan Rogue.

Petrina Gentile

Tucson: Likewise, the Hyundai Tucson gets vibrant colours such as aqua blue, gemstone red and dusk blue. On the exterior, refreshed design cues include Hyundai’s trademark hexagonal grille, new front and rear facias, redesigned headlights and taillights, and new wheel designs. It’s an attractive and sporty design with tinted rear windows for added privacy.

Interior

Qashqai: The Qashqai’s cabin is spacious and nicely appointed; it looks like a more expensive Rogue inside. The dashboard is simple and uncomplicated – larger dials for the volume, track scrolling, and HVAC are easy to use and find, even in the dark. It has an ideal seat height, which makes it easy to slide into the front seats – the ingress and egress is excellent.

Tucson: The Tucson doesn’t feel or look as upscale as the Qashqai. The LCD display screen appears out of place – like an afterthought; it doesn’t blend in well with the dashboard design. On the plus side, the rear seats are more comfortable than the Qashqai’s – the 60/40 rear seats also recline for added comfort. A massive panoramic roof makes it feel airy and spacious for rear-seat passengers. Be careful getting into those seats – it’s easy to bang your head every time you enter and exit the rear. Ducking is required for taller passengers.

Performance

Qashqai: As with many crossovers, the Qashqai and Tucson won’t provide an exhilarating, sporty ride and handling. Both feel lacklustre from behind the wheel. When pushed, the Qashqai’s engine is noisy. Getting up to cruising speed when merging on the highway takes a bit of time and patience. But it’s an adequate commuter car that’ll get you from point A to point B without any issues. Parking and driving in busy downtown cores is a breeze thanks to its compact size and tight turning radius.

The Tucson has an attractive and sporty design with tinted rear windows for added privacy.

Petrina Gentile

Tucson: The Tucson isn’t the fastest out of the gate, either. But the ride is balanced and comfortable. It also soaks up bumps and degradations in the road well. And the interior remains relatively quiet with little engine, wind or road noise seeping into the cabin.

Safety

Qashqai: The Qashqai gets top marks for offering Nissan’s ProPilot Assist – driver assistance safety features you’d expect to find on more expensive, luxury cars. ProPilot Assist helps drivers stay centred in their lane, navigate stop-and-go traffic, and hold a set speed and distance with the vehicle ahead to help reduce driver stress on congested single lane highways. Other available innovative technology includes intelligent emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear intelligent emergency braking and a lane-departure warning system.

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Tucson: The Tucson has Hyundai’s SmartSense safety features, including lane keep assist, a driver attention warning system and forward collision avoidance assist, which uses radar to detect other vehicles and warns the driver of a potential collision. If the driver doesn’t respond to the warning, the system can apply the brakes to help you avoid an accident. This package is available on the base trim for only $400; it’s standard on the other trims.

Cargo

Qashqai: At 566 litres, the Qashqai’s space is large. Fold down the second row and it expands to 1,509 litres. Six luggage hooks on the bottom and side are useful, too. It also has a cool divide-and-hide system so you can store valuable items under the floor away from peering eyes.

The Tucson has 1,754 litres of cargo space when the rear seats are folded in.

Petrina Gentile

Tucson: Cargo space in the Tucson is even larger – 877 litres behind the rear seats. When folded, it expands to 1,754 litres of space.

The verdict

Nissan Qashqai: 8

An affordable, compact CUV that gets extra points for delivering top safety features such as Nissan’s ProPilot Assist for the first time on the Qashqai.

Hyundai Tucson: 7.5

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The Tucson is value-packed for the price. It’s spacious, stylish and filled with items that won’t break the bank.

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