What's good? Well equipped. Stylish.
The Nissan X-Trail is no longer a mum's favourite 4x4; it's officially a crossover. This means it needs to offer the looks and drive of a 4x4 with the practicability of a hatchback. The new X-Trail is much different to the older car as I found out, so join me to see what's what.
The new X-Trail is 76mm longer in the wheelbase than the old model and that translates to a 60mm increase in overall length, something which current X-Trail owners will no doubt appreciate. Despite the extra length, the X-Trail looks quite compact, although it's obviously much larger than a Nissan Juke and it even dwarfs a Range Rover Evoque. Acenta trim bags LED daytime running lights and 17-inch alloys, which look fantastic with the car sitting 5mm lower than the previous model, and the car retains black plastic wheel trim surrounds and a black plastic rear diffuser to add to the off-road appeal.
This is also one of the more interesting crossovers to look at from the front. Nissan has designed the headlights so that they sweep into the side pillars and they look great, as does the chrome 'V' accent on the gloss black grille - a feature which comes as standard on Acenta specification models.
Overall, the new X-Trail crossover is the best looking X-Trail yet.
The Nissan X-Trail is powered exclusively by a 1.6-litre dCi engine, which is a turbocharged diesel unit that produces 128 bhp and 236 lb /ft of torque - the same torque you get from a 2.0 TDI in any Volkswagen. This is impressive, but the decision to power the X-Trail by a small engine means compromises have been made. Notably, the X-Trail is rather one-dimensional out on the road, being neither sporty or relaxing. The engine delivers maximum torque low enough in the rev range but it's not the smoothest unit and it fails to feel like a bigger engine, something which 4x4s always benefit from.
This version of the X-Trail has four-wheel-drive. This makes the car heavier, and this affects performance and economy, although I'll get on to that later. In the wet the X-Trail's 4WD system really comes into its own and inspires confidence. That is, until you hit a corner. The X-Trail is a big car, and it handles like one too, with plenty of body roll and not much responsiveness at higher speeds. Around town though it feels just fine, with a sharp turning circle and light steering. The short gear ratios also make nipping in and out of traffic pretty easy.
On the motorway is where the X-Trail feels most comfortable. With cruise control on, you can easily talk to passengers without raising your voice thanks to a high level of refinement and wind noise insulation.
Inside the Nissan X-Trail is a mixture of quality and ruggedness. It has a pleasant and usable cabin with centrally mounted controls and centrally mounted dials. Compared to the old car, the new one is much fresher, and has cast aside the unusual seat fabrics. I would say that there's a lack of imagination in the cabin but overall the dark materials and soft touch plastics make for a nice place to be and travel in.
Other than that, there's not really much to talk about where design is concerned. Where practicability is concerned, the X-Trail has a substantial 550-litre boot that's extremely well designed for large items and it's more than enough for weekly grocery shops. In the back of the car, the rear bench is spacious and comfortable, although the plush front door materials do not carry over into the rear.
There's a reason the X-Trail's headline engine is a 1.6-litre diesel - economy. But in 4WD trim, the engine fails to impress - Nissan claim you will get 53.3 miles per gallon, but I have only ever managed 38.8 miles per gallon on a 200 mile round trip. CO2 emissions are also poor at 139 g/km which translates to annual car tax of £130. This isn't impressive.
Trim and equipment
Standard equipment on this car includes 17-inch alloy wheels, black front grille, rear privacy glass, 5-inch HD colour TFT screen, leather covered gear knob and steering wheel, panoramic sun roof, power folding and heated mirrors, electric windows all round, automatic lights and wipers, start/stop, cruise control, and dual-zone climate control.
The X-Trail is also available in Visia, N-Tec, and Tekna trims. In my opinion, Acenta is the best value for money, with this car coming in at just £26,495.
The Nissan X-Trail is a decent car; it's stylish, practical, and it drives well enough. If you're looking for a family car with these qualities I reckon you can't go wrong, but if you're looking for something that's going to make you smile whenever you drive, this car isn't for you. If you're interested in the Nissan X-Trail, I recommend choosing a 2WD version for they are lighter and more efficient.