First Drive: Nissan X-Trail

AOL Cars has tested the new Nissan X-Trail to see how it stacks up in the competitive SUV market.


What is it?

A revised version of Nissan's popular X-Trail SUV.

At a glance, the changes seem rather minor, particularly the exterior which has had no more than a very light refresh. More changes have occurred in the interior, particularly as Nissan's new ProPilot autonomous technology will be rolled out on the model from autumn 2018.

The X-Trail will be as popular with families as ever, particularly as it is offered with five and seven seats. New safety technology will only add to the X-Trail's appeal.

What's under the bonnet?

Nissan offers three engines in the X-Trail. Two of these being diesels and one petrol. The petrol is a 1.6-litre which has 161bhp. The two diesels are a 128bhp 1.6-litre engine and the range-topping 2.0-litre with 175bhp – the engine we tested.

This engine is available with both a six-speed manual or CVT transmissions. It is also available with two- or four-wheel-drive. The engine seemed perfectly suited to the X-Trail and its size, with more than enough grunt to get it up to speed swiftly.

The engine is also reasonably efficient, with a six-speed manual and four-wheel-drive configuration claiming a combined fuel consumption figure of 50.4mpg with CO2 emissions standing at 149g/km.

What's it like to drive?

Along with testing the X-Trail on tarmac – where the model will spend 99 per cent of its time – we also got the opportunity to try it off-road. The X-Trail was surprisingly fun on this section, the suspension easily coping with bumps and ruts – only large bumps made their way into the cabin. The four-wheel-drive also gives you a lot of confidence on these surfaces.

The X-Trail also impressed us on road too. Despite its size, it still felt reasonably flat through faster corners. The steering is also well-weighted which inspires confidence particularly on twisty roads.

The only downside to the X-Trail was the rather unfortunate six-speed manual. It was far too vague and slushy, and would have hugely benefited from a shorter throw.

First Drive: Nissan X-Trail

First Drive: Nissan X-Trail

How does it look?

The X-Trail really hasn't changed much compared to the model previously, to call it a mild fresh is being generous. It is not exactly a beautiful car, but then neither are the vast majority of SUVs. Yet, it is not an unattractive car and the refresh keeps the car looking modern.

Higher spec models add more chrome around the exterior, which adds to the premium feel the X-Trail is trying to generate. The X-Trail's grille has been revised in a similar way to the Qashqai, although it doesn't look quite as brash as that does.

The X-Trail, while not quite as premium as some of its German rivals, is still a nice place to be. It remains a car which is functional above all else, and this is suited to the market it is mainly aimed at – families.

What's it like inside?

While it may not have the plush feel in which rivals such as the Land Rover Discovery Sport have, it still has a well-appointed and practical cabin. You would not describe it as luxurious, but the Tekna model we tested featured heated leather seats, sat-nav and a new Bose sound system, all of which add to the quality feel of the X-Trail. All trim levels, except the base-spec Visia – which is best avoided - are well equipped too

The fact the X-Trail can be had with either five- or seven-seat configurations only spreads the appeal of the model. While the third row of seats are not really suitable for adults, there should be easily enough room in the back for children.

What's the spec like?

Our test car was a Tekna spec, the top-of-the-range model. Visia, Acenta and N-Vision trim levels all sit under the Tekna. The Tekna starts from £29,595 and comes laden with features. Standard features on this model include electric and heated leather seats, blind spot monitoring, around-view cameras, a power tailgate, intelligent park assist, DAB radio and a Smart Vision Pack, which includes autonomous features such as emergency braking.

Verdict

The X-Trail is an excellent car, there really is little to dislike about it. It is extremely well-equipped, surprisingly good to drive and can seat up to seven people. While it may not be exciting to look at or drive, it makes a great choice for families wanting a capable, spacious and reliable car. There is little more you can ask from a crossover in this price bracket.

The Knowledge

Model as tested: 2.0-litre dCi 177 4WD Tekna
Power:175bhp
Torque: 380Nm
Max speed: 124mph
0-60mph: 9.2 seconds
MPG: 48.7mpg
Emissions: 153g/km
Price: £34,480