New 2014 Nissan X-Trail Driven

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Hot off the back of the Nissan Qashqai launch, Nissan South Africa has launched the new X-Trail. The X-Trail sits above Juke and Qashqai and appeals to the family that requires a bit more space in their SUV with aspirations of off-road adventure holidays. Previously the X-Trail sold on its rugged looks and comfortable ride together with the practicality of a mid-to-large size SUV. Now though, the X-Trail has softened up its appearance but claims to be just as capable off-road with more features and even more practical.

Space is up

The overall length and width of the new X-Trail remains very similar to the outgoing model but the major change is the wheelbase. The new model has a 75 mm longer wheelbase and Nissan says that this makes more room inside the cabin for people. It does, rear legroom is ample and the seats have the ability to slide forward and recline for added comfort and adaptability.

The rear seats can be folded flat as well upping load space considerably. The front passenger seat can also be folded rearwards, that should please canoe enthusiasts or long-boarders who don’t like to carry their toys on the roof. The new X-Trail has the option of seven seats but that obviously reduces boot loading space when they are in use. Boot space in the seven-seater is 135-litres whilst the standard five-seater has 550-litres.

Engines

Nissan has introduced the X-Trail with two petrol engines and one diesel. The petrols are both naturally aspirated and come in 2-litre - 106 kW, 200 Nm, two-wheel drive guise or 2.5-litre - 126 kW, 233 Nm, all-wheel drive. The 2-litre feels a little sluggish up at altitude where the launch took place, but Nissan seems assured that new turbocharged variants will become available in the near future.

The 2.5-litre was only available to drive for a short time on the off-road course that had been set up for us to test the X-Trail’s skills on. There’s a rotary dial to swap the all-wheel drive X-Trail from two-wheel drive to all-wheels drive and a quick press of the VDC (traction control) button and you’re ready to crest mounds, descend ravines with hill-descent control and enjoy life in the great outdoors. The X-Trail proved capable over the course and the electronics did a good job of sending power to the correct wheels when traction was lost.

The pick of the engine range though is the 1.6-litre turbodiesel. With 96 kW it might not sound like much, but it’s teamed with 320 Nm of torque and that gives the X-Trail sufficient shove that it needs to be capable on road.

Ride and Drive

The X-Trail has maintained its comfortable ride and feels smooth on the road. It’s one of the great features of a SUV that isn’t trying to be sporty, you get a comfortable ride and a vehicle that’s not averse to the odd bump or pothole in the road. Steering is acceptable, it’s well-weighted and complete with multi-function controls for the radio and cruise control.

In standard format the interior looks a little plain with a basic radio setup, air-conditioner, USB and Bluetooth compatibility. What you really want is the optional Techno Pack that pumps up the kit you get. The pack includes a seven-inch touchscreen, Navigation, around view camera, Smartphone integration, blind-spot monitoring and moving object detection.

Nissan X-Trail Pricing

The Nissan X-Trail comes in at a competitive entry price that competes with the likes of the Ford Kuga and Chev Captiva if you want seven seats. Prices start at R327 700 for the 2-litre petrol and go up to R473 600 for a fully-loaded 1.6-turbodiesel. See the full pricing here. The Nissan X-Trail appears to be a competent, comfortable and spacious option to the family that wants the option to go off the beaten track.

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