Nissan X-Trail dci 4x4 LE Auto Review

Nissan X Trail

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.

Nissan X-Trail dci 4x4 LE Auto review by John Beale

A cross-over SUV needs to provide both the comfort, performance and handling for in-town driving, as well as the utilitarian nature of the SUV, with some off-road prowess to match and interior space for the camping/biking/kids. It’s a lot to ask, but the Nissan, Honda CRV, Subaru Forester and Toyota Rav4 have been playing here for years.

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.

Nissan X-Trail dci 4x4 LE AT - Conclusion

The benefit of a boxier shape bring more practicality and space in the Nissan X-trail, than the competitors, but the interior is starting to show its age. When driven in a relaxed fashion, the extremely comfortable ride and quiet interior rewards, with the added benefit that the X-Trail has the goods to get going in the rough. I would probably opt for the petrol in manual guise, and get the 4x2, unless you really need the 4-wheel capabilities. Have a look at the new Honda CR-V as a direct rival. Soon to be released is the new Toyota Rav4 coming in April, and the Subaru Forester diesel coming soon.
  • View the Nissan X-Trail dci 4x4 LE AT: New / Used
  • Competitors:
    • Nissan X-Trail dci 4x4 LE AT - 110/320 @ 2000RPM, 7.4l/100km – R462 900
    • Honda CRV 2.2Dtec exclusive AT – 110/350 @2000RPM, 8.4l/100 – R499 000
    • Toyota Rav4 2.2D-4D GX (Manual) - 110/340 @2000RPM, 7.9l/100km - R407 300 (Soon to be replaced)
    • Subaru Forester diesel not yet available
  • Warranty and Service: Nissan – 3yr/90 000 Service plan