It can still carry your bike in the back and get you through the mud, unlike many newer rivals,Nissan X-Trail, you’re still good in my books.
Exterior and Interior
The competition has moved to softer, rounder angles (Honda, Koleos & old Rav4) where the Nissan X-Trail is still rather boxy and a bit more macho in looks. I like that. The 18-inch alloy rims, ¾ privacy glass and roof mounted spotlights give the top spec X-trail a bit more class.
Inside it’s typical Nissan fare, with a lot of hard plastics throughout the cabin, and familiar Nissan switchgear. It’s not exciting at all, but it meets the specification standards I would expect at this price, such as auto lights and wipers, keyless go (where you actually still turn the ignition, just without a key…weird!), panoramic sunroof, full leather seats, Bluetooth and reverse camera … sans touch screen / nav.
Open the hatch and there’s a pair of drawers that slide out, as well as storage space under the hardboard and roller cover for security. A total of 603 litres of luggage space, with over 1773 litres when seats are folded flat, which compares well to the Honda CRV’s 488/1557. The high rear tailgate also makes it ideal for taller items into the back, as the roofline doesn’t slope like more modern SUVs. Unfortunately the rear seats are a bit tight for adults, but visibility out of the vehicle is good, and I found it fairly easy to park and manage in town.
Nissan X-Trail engine
What is not so nice in town is the delay in power getting to the wheels. Foot flat to quickly sneak into traffic and there’s significant delay from the 2-litre 4cylinder (110kW/320NM @ 2000RPM )diesel working through a 6 speed Auto to the front wheels. The full turbo shove kicks at around 2300RPM, and once you’re moving, there’s a small band of power to work with. Even though the unit is fuel efficient, I achieved a combined 8.3l/100km (Claimed 7.4l/100km), I feel like it’s slightly underpowered and towing (750kg unbraked / 1350braked) could mean you won’t be overtaking and might struggle up the hills. The auto box is also not really a master of switching. Slow upshifts and downshifts in manual mode meant I just left it to do its thing in Auto, where it seems happiest.
Ride and handling
I unfortunately didn’t get to test the full capability of the 4x4-i system, which rather unique in this segment. It lets the driver select either 2/auto/full time locked 4-wheel drive. Advanced Hill Descent, Hill Start assist and Vehicle Dynamics control add to make this the most equipped against the competition. Ground clearance of 201mm (Against the Honda’s 170mm) reinforce the fact that the Nissan X-Trail has been engineered to make it off the beaten track. This does play against it in town, where it does tend to sway and pitch a bit more than expected, but there has to be some sacrifice to achieve the extremely comfortable ride that the X-trail offers. Steering feel is incredibly light, and takes some getting used to, as it pulls back to centre rather violently.