Nissan X-Trail – A Worthy SUV Contender
Nissan X-Trail is not a silly or meaningless name for a car – unlike some I could mention. It conjures up an image of the great outdoors and of rugged exploration. Like almost every other car in these lifestyle days, or so it seems to me, it is now softer in its approach to the SUV market.
In fact, not so much Texas Ranger as Park Ranger, if you will. Still and all it has been a popular choice in various iterations since 2000, which, if you remember, was the year when nothing went wrong after all. During that time it has been a consistent seller with buyers who appreciate the Nissan way and it remains a hugely competent car to this very day.
The X-Trail’s all-wheel-drive set-up is an adaptive 4x4 system. It can be switched between the more economical front-wheel drive only set up or an auto mode, which will only send power to the back wheels under hard acceleration or in risky road conditions where more grip is called for. For the worst weather and off-road situations there's a 4x4 lock.
Nissan even supply a live information graphic on the dashboard screen for the driver to see where the drive is going which is, if unnecessary, quite interesting.
The model tested and pictured was a 1.6L dCi with 128bhp (130PS) and 236lb/ft of torque (320Nm). Kitted out with desirable Tekna trim and with the addition of an extra pair of seats (optional) in the substantial boot that fold dead flat when not in use. Handy.
There's a 2.0L diesel which would be my choice for a bit of extra grunt or alternatively a 1.6L petrol motor which wouldn't. I often say (if anyone will listen) that to me, many SUV / crossover models are beginning to look the same. I guess it is the nature of the beast. The Nissan X-Trail also joins this fashionable trend but is at least curvy with quality styling touches.
The interior is also stylish and has obviously been given some thought. Sit back and enjoy tasteful touches like a powered panoramic roof which really brightens the interior while double stitched leather abounds. LED interior lighting, gloss black trim and all the usual toys creates a really nice environment for all. It's all there: navigation, 360° parking, Bluetooth, Aux, CD and USB and it is all straightforward to use.
Some SUVs (no names, no pack drill) have a tendency to handle the corners like a potentate's barge on a choppy sea. Not so the Nissan X-Trail. I was pleasantly surprised by the overall comfort of this vehicle.
It is effortless to drive; just like piloting a regular hatch. The test vehicle had a very good six speed manual gearbox which would be my preference over the CVT automatic, a development that I am finding difficult to like from any manufacturer. The 1.6L diesel isn't quick but is full of punchy purpose thanks to the smaller capacity, stop-start and a 90kg weight saving.
The current model Nissan X-Trail is thus the most efficient yet and the company believe that well over 50mpg is achievable. This will of course depend upon how the car is driven, inevitably.
The Nissan X-Trail as specified here has the whole set of safety equipment, variously standard or optional. The proximity warning is a bit over-anxious but otherwise it all worked seamlessly whilst on test. This sort of kit is pretty much tried and tested now and, even if it sometimes seems a bit over-the-top, has got to be worthwhile on our busy roads.
Because of their ubiquity these days the SUV in general is not my personal choice of vehicle but as an all-purpose family motor I have to agree that they're hard to beat. The Nissan X-Trail driven here cost the thick end of £35k being so fully featured but prices start from around £23,000 for base two-wheel drive models.
Although not a vehicle for raising the pulse I can certainly recommend the Nissan X-Trail for its quality fit and finish and an effortless, comfortable drive.
Author: Geoff Maxted