There’s no doubt that Nissan are the crossover kings – and they seem determined to hang onto their crown. This year, all three of its ‘soft-roader’ models – the Juke, Qashqai and X-Trail – have been treated to comprehensive overhauls to help them stay one step ahead of the competition. Here we put the new X-Trail, the biggest of the three, through its paces.
It’s perhaps over-simplifying things a bit to say the X-Trail is basically a bigger version of a Qashqai, with seven seats rather than five, but if you haven’t got time to read on, that’s pretty much where we’re at. To play a quick round of carmaker bingo, it’s been redesigned ‘from the ground up’ and showcases Nissan’s new ‘design language’. What that means is that X-Trail’s lost its slightly boxy look and is a lot more sleek and streamlined. There’s some new, clever tech on board, the quality of the interior has been improved and the car has been equipped with a cleaner and more economical 129bhp 1.6-litre diesel engine, the only option for now. Don’t worry that it might not be up to the job though. It is – and produces the same amount of torque as the 2.0-litre lump it replaces. The X-Trail is a capable off-roader too in optional four-wheel-drive guise.
You won’t be surprised to read that the driving experience won’t raise the hairs on the back of your neck, but for such a chunky vehicle, the X-Trail does handle very well. Having said that, we drove it with a single travelling companion. With seven people on board plus bags and belongings, it might be a slightly different story. The split-level dashboard, similar to a Qashqai’s, is well-designed and thoughtfully laid out and we found all-round visibility pretty good, so even those unfamiliar with the Nissan brand will find it pretty easy to find their way around the on board tech and infotainment system.
In the spirit of the recent ‘Fast Show’ revival – niiice. Well, a lot nicer than its long-in-the-tooth predecessor, anyway. The cabin area features a host of high-quality materials, including chrome and piano black trim detailing, and leather upholstery with contrasting stitching. Nissan says it examined every surface that the driver or passenger comes into contact with to improve perceived quality. A particularly eye-catching feature is the large, electrically operated panoramic glass sunroof.
The Nissan X-Trail starts from £22,995
Yes. A key point we haven’t drawn attention to yet is that this car has a wheelbase (the distance between the two axles) that’s 76mm longer than before. That might not sound like a lot but it makes a surprising difference. The car has space for an optional third row of seats and a clever touch here is a ‘theatre-style’ layout with each row a bit higher than the one in front, helping visibility and increasing the feeling of interior space. The smart and innovative double load floor provides flexible storage options with up to nine configurations. Some of the tech is worth a mention here too. Already tried and tested on other Nissan cars are features such as Driver Attention Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Warning and Moving Object Detection. We love tech that’s actually useful and all of the above fall into that category, making journeys safer by covering any minor attention lapses from the driver.
If you regularly need to carry six people around in comfort and safety, with a bit of off-roading ability thrown in, then yes! If your family is a bit smaller but you’re still keen on Nissan as a brand, the Qashqai would suit you better. With the competitive pricing structure of the new X-Trail, you do get a lot of kit for your cash so it’s definitely worth a look. There’s certainly a good chance it could suit you, sir. (Or madam.)
Don't want to buy new? You can browse for a used Nissan X-Trail in our classifieds here.
List price: £22,995-£31,695
Engine: 1.6-litre, turbocharged diesel
Power: 129bhp, 320Nm
Top speed: 117mph
0-62mph: 10.5 seconds
Fuel economy: 53.3-57.6 mpg (combined)
Emissions: 129-139g/km CO2
Euro NCAP rating: Not yet tested
May 21, 2014