NISSAN X-TRAIL REVIEW
Nissan's X-Trail comes with a longer spec sheet for 2011, as well as an updated interior and exterior.
Despite the average back-seat accommodation, the AWD X-Trail dCI offers good pulling power from its willing diesel and plenty of holiday versatility for the young family.
Quality: Trim quality and fit is good, with all materials feeling solid and durable. The leather trim is supple and appealing but we could already see some creasing on the driver's-side bolster of our test car.
Comfort: The heated front seats offer good comfort and are electrically adjustable. X-Trails now feature a tilting and telescopically-adjustable steering wheel.
The panoramic sunroof eats into headroom, and rear legroom isn't exceptional for this segment. Back-seat passengers get an extra 10mm of knee-room thanks to re-profiled front seat backrests though.
Equipment: The X-Trail TL is equipped as standard with rain-sensing wipers, dusk-sensing xenon headlamps, panoramic sunroof, keyless entry and ignition, climate control air-conditioning, cruise control, sat-nav, trip computer, single-CD audio system with auxillary USB input, Bluetooth, reversing camera, heated front seats and 18-inch alloy wheels.
Storage: The boot area measures 433 litres with the rear seatbacks in place. A drawer system allows smaller items to be carried securely beneath the raised boot floor. With the rear backrests folded a completely flat load area is created expanding total cargo volume to 1651 litres..
ON THE ROAD
Driveability: X-Trail's diesel is one of the better units around, with great torque and an ability to rev to a very un-diesel like 5500rpm.
There's a slight torque hole below 2000rpm. It's not as noticeable as other vehicles, mind you, and power delivery is linear once the turbo comes on boost.
With a good AWD system and good ground clearance, it can cope with lighter forays off-road. Here, the diesel works a treat.
Around town, both clutch and gearshift are light, visibility is good thanks to the tall seating position, and the standard reversing camera is a boon when parking.
Refinement: The diesel is fairly quiet and clatter-free while driving. There was the odd rattle from the plastic rear storage tray, but otherwise the X-Trail's cabin is one of the quietest in its class.
Suspension: Ride quality is excellent, with compliant damping and good body control. The steering is light at low speeds too, making tight car parks a breeze.
Braking: Disc brakes all round, with ABS (and brake assist), give the X-Trail secure braking performance.
ANCAP rating: 4 stars
Safety features: Six airbags (front, front side and full-length curtain) are standard, as are front anti-whiplash headrests, three-point seatbelts on all seats, ABS, EBD, brake assist, traction control, stability control and hill descent control.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: Three years/100,000km
Service costs: Servicing costs are capped for the first 120,000km or six years. Before purchase contact your local Nissan dealer, as capped prices may vary.
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
Hyundai ix35 Highlander diesel ($38,490) – The ix35 has slightly less interior space, but a diesel engine that's just as good – if not better – than the Nissan's. However, its ride is stiffer and it can't match the X-Trail's spec. (see ix35 reviews)
Ssangyong Korando SPR ($36,811) – A new arrival with standard auto and a solid powertrain, but, like the ix35 it, the Korando can't equal the X-Trail's impressive list of standard features. (see Korando reviews)
Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
It's one of the more expensive compact SUVs around, but a very generous standard equipment list is reason enough to check the versatile X-Trail out.
Not only that, but its well sorted ride - both on road and off the highway - excellent diesel powertrain and secure handling make it one of the better drives in the segment.