We’re back with another small SUVs battle, and this time, it’s the 2021 Nissan Qashqai taking on the Honda HR-V.

Small SUVs are the perfect around-towners. They are easier to park, drive in traffic, but still spacious enough in the cabin that you can get comfortable on a long drive. Not to mention there’s ample boot space for groceries. 

These two small SUVs are both great cars now let’s see what sets them apart. 


Both of these cars look very similar from the exterior.

One key difference is that the Honda HR-V has a more vibrant colour pallet to choose from. The Qashqai only has two colour options that aren’t black or white. They are the ‘Magnetic Red’ and the 'Vivid Blue’.

On the other hand, the HR-V’s colourful pallet includes various colours along with Honda’s signature ‘Phoenix Orange’ colour, which is a popular choice for Honda drivers. 

Nissan has aimed for a very simple and sleek look. The V theme on the front of the car with its angled grille and strip of headlights is what distinguishes the 2021 Qashqai. By comparison, the HR-V isn’t as much of a head-turner. Honda has gone for a vibrant and sporty look. They’ve used athletic rims with a chromium finish. The HR-V is known for having a bit of an edge, which is very important in this busy segment. The Qashqai has fairly standard rims.

The 2021 Nissan Qashqai is a better car for off-road driving. It has a ground clearance of 7.4 inches, compared to 6.7 inches on the Honda HR-V. You also get 19-inch alloy wheels on the higher-end variants of the Nissan Qashqai, where the HR-V only offers up to 18-inch alloy

Related Reading: Honda HR-V vs Toyota CHR Comparison 


The interior is where the real difference between these cars is truly shown. The Honda HR-V has a more modern and sleek layout for its interior, while the Nissan Qashqai’s layout feels a bit outdated by comparison. Both of them have a 7-inch touch screen. However, the Qashqai has a very button-heavy interface. 

There’s a lot of buttons surrounding the touch screen, including 2 dial knobs. While it is a more practical design for quick access while driving, it does feel outdated. The HR-V went for a minimalistic design and only has five very small buttons on the right side of the screen. That doesn’t mean it’s not practical. The HR-V puts the necessary quick access buttons on the steering wheel. 

Also, instead of having the traditional button-based climate control panel, the 2021 Honda HR-V has a touch-based interior climate control interface. So, you can just swipe up and down to adjust the cabin temperature.

The Nissan Qashqai has a lot more storage space in the front. The centre console and the glovebox are much bigger than what you get in the HR-V. Both of the models are quite spacious in the back. There’s good legroom and headroom for an average-sized adult. Especially on the Nissan Qashqai, the headroom is insanely good because of its low and slightly tilted back seats. 

The Honda HR-V has a marginally bigger boot size of 437 litres, compared to the 430 litres on the Nissan Qashqai. But the HR-V has a very unique feature called ‘Magic Seats’. Honda’s rear seats can be folded in 18 different ways, in a tall, long, or utility setting. It allows cargo of any shape or size to easily fit inside. 


All variants of the 2021 Nissan Qashqai come with a 2.0L four-cylinder petrol engine, with 106kW of power and 200Nm torque. It has front-wheel drive (FWD) and a fuel economy of 6.9 L/100km

The 2021 Honda HR-V also has the same engine for all of its four different variants. It comes with a 1.8L four-cylinder petrol engine, with 105kW of power, 172 Nm torque, and 6.7L/100km fuel economy. Its considerably lower torque means that you won’t get a powerful acceleration or high speed like the Nissan Qashqai. 

To put it into context, the 2021 Nissan Qashqai takes 8.5 seconds to reach 0-60, while the Honda HR-V takes 13 seconds. So it’s safe to say that the HR-V won’t break any speed records, but it still holds up pretty well as an urban driving-focused SUV. 

nissan qashqai vs honda hrv 2021


2021 Nissan Qashqai

  • Powerful Engine. 
  • Great ground clearance and high profile tyres for off-road driving. 
  • Excellent headroom. 

2021 Honda HR-V

  • Spacious boot size, with unique rear seats that can be adjusted in 18 different ways.
  • High-tech and modern interior layout. 

Why You Should Buy the Nissan Qashqai 

The 2021 Nissan Qashqai is a compact, high-performance SUV.  In addition to its looks, It has good fuel economy, considering its powerful engine. The Qashqai has a very spacious and practical interior. If you’re gonna be doing a lot of off-road driving, especially in the countryside, then the Nissan Qashqai is a great choice. 

Related Reading: Top 7 SUV's Under $30,000 In Australia

Why You Should Buy the Honda HR-V

If you’re all about modern design and high-tech features, then the 2021 HR-V is a perfect choice. It has a lot of boot size along with the ‘Magic Seats’, which makes it a great crossover if you value space and comfort over anything else. While the Honda HR-V is not the fastest or most powerful car out there, it’s definitely not a slouch. 

Related: 7 Best Small SUV's In Australia 2021

Final Verdict

Although it’s hard to look past the vibrant outlook, modern interior, and unique cabin features of the HR-V, the Nissan Qashqai’s powerful engine, spacious seating and off-road driving convenience makes it the stand out choice among the two. 

Both of these cars have their own pros and cons, so there’s no ultimate ‘better choice’. It boils down to personal preference. Those who prefer performance will find the Nissan Qashqai a better choice, and those who value space and appearance will prefer the Honda HR-V. 

Other Options to Consider 

Kia Niro

If you’re looking for a more fuel-efficient and eco-conscious option, then the 2021 Kia Niro is a great alternative. Its hybrid variant has a 1.6-litre petrol engine with 3.8L/100km fuel economy. The Kia Niro also has a very posh interior with a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system. 

Read More About The 2021 Kia Niro

Toyota C-HR

If you’re looking for a small SUV that stands out in terms of looks, then the 2021 Toyota CHR is one of the best options in the market. It has a very sporty exterior and a spacious interior. On top of that, it has a hybrid variant for better fuel economy. 

Learn More About The 2021 Toyota C-HR

Mazda CX3

If you don’t mind splashing a bit more cash to get a more powerful and stylish alternative, then the Mazda CX3 is the perfect option. Not only it has a luxurious design that can’t be replicated by any other brand, but it also comes with a powerful 2.0L 110 KW engine, with 6.3l/100km fuel economy. 

See How The Mazda CX-3 Compares To The Hyundai Kona

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Jordan Ballard

Jordan Ballard

Automotive Content Editor

Jordan is a car finance and automotive industry specialist at Only Cars. With over 20 years of experience with frontline and management roles in sales, finance and other areas, Jordan has an incredible understanding of the automotive industry. As Automotive Content Editor, Jordan loves sharing his passion for cars with the Only Cars audience.