After over 15 years on sale the Nissan X-Trail is one of the longer-running nameplates in the burgeoning medium SUV segment, but time has brought a long list of competitors offering all kinds of variations to the SUV formula.
The current generation X-Trail, which debuted in 2014 has come in for a mid-life update, but more than just a nip-and-tuck to Nissan’s V-Motion grille, the Japanese automaker has created a family-freighter that’s safer and more convenient for families.
Unlike most of its competitors in Australia, the X-Trail also continues to offer a seven-seat version - by its own admission it isn’t the most popular variant, but it does provide added flexibility for growing tribes roped into car-pooling duty.
Vehicle Style: Medium SUV
Price: $27,990-$47,290 plus on-road costs
Engine/trans: 106kw/200Nm 2.0-litre 4cyl petrol, 126kW/226Nm 2.5-litre 4cyl petrol, 130kW/380Nm 2.0-litre 4cyl turbo diesel | 6sp manual, CVT automatic
Fuel Economy Claimed: 6.0-8.3 l/100km
Meet the new Nissan X-Trail - its bigger, bolder grille is the first giveaway that something’s changed. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find smoked tail lights, new headlights, and on the top-spec versions new alloy wheels borrowed from the smaller Qashqai.
On the inside, changes have been kept to a minimum as well, with a smaller three-spoke steering wheel, fresh soft-touch dashpad, and at the top of the range a new tan leather colour scheme on offer.
As before, Nissan has kept to a three model range: base ST petrol and TS diesel, mid-range ST-L petrol, and the flagship Ti petrol and TL diesel twins.
Engineering changes have been kept to a minimum with no alterations to steering or suspension.
Pricing holds firm for front-wheel drive petrol models starting at $27,990 for the ST with a 2.0-litre petrol engine and a five-speed manual. Move to an auto, with a bigger 2.5-litre engine and the price moves to $30,490 with the auto-only ST-L from $36,490
Seven seats on auto 2WD ST and ST-L only adds $1500 and all wheel drive bumps an ST auto up by $3490 or an ST-L up by $2900.
The single-spec 2.5-litre Ti AWD has had its price reduced slightly to $45,190 and the diesel range starts at 35,490 for the TS and $47,290 for the TL, both with five seats and all wheel drive.
- ST/TS: Fabric seat trim, heated and cooled cupholders, keyless entry and push-button start, auto headlights, LED running lights, 17-inch alloy wheels
- ST-L: Leather trim, powered-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, motion activated tailgate, rear privacy glass
- Ti/TL: heated rear seats and steering wheel, rain-sensing wiper, self-dimming rearview mirror, panoramic sunroof, 19-inch alloy wheels
- Infotainment: 5.0-inch display, AM/FM/CD/MP3 playback, USB and Aux input, Bluetooth connectivity, six speaker audio, 7.0-inch touchscreen DAB+ radio (ST-L, Ti, TL), eight-speaker audio (Ti, TL)
- Cargo Volume: 565-945 litre (5 seat) 135-445-825 litres (7 seat)
From the front seats, the X-Trail offers great fit and finish with a simple and understated dash design that’s free from clutter.
Disappointingly the entry-level ST's urethane-rimmed steering wheel and tiny 5.0-inch infotainment display feel out of step, even for the price, whereas the top-of-the-range Ti starts to appear chintzy for $45K-plus.
Beyond the ST's standard keyless entry and start, cloth trim, cruise control, heated and cooled cupholders, and 17-inch alloy wheels, the ST-L adds front fog lights, and upgrades to a 7.0-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation and digital radio, leather trim plus power adjustable heated front seats.
At the top of the range, the Ti and TL add 19-inch alloy wheels, motion-operated, auto high-beams, Bose audio, plus heating for the steering wheel and rear seats.
A five-seat cabin is standard on all models, but buyers looking to add an extra two seats in the rear can do so on the front wheel drive 2.5-litre petrol automatic ST and ST-L variants only. The compact third row is ideally suited to kids, and will be particularly useful any time your kids decide to bring a buddy home from school on short notice, rather than as a full-time seven-seater.
To maximise versatility the second row can be slid fore and aft, and includes face-level air vents for passenger comfort
In five-seat form the X-Trail boasts one of the segment’s most capacious boots at 565 litres. In the seven-seat that space drops to 445 litres with the third row folded or a tiny 135 litres with it up.
ON THE ROAD
- Engine: 106kw/200Nm 2.0-litre 4cyl petrol, 126kW/226Nm 2.5-litre 4cyl petrol
- Transmission: Six-speed manual (ST 2.0 petrol only), CVT automatic, front or all wheel drive
- Suspension: MacPherson strut front, multi-link independent rear
- Brakes: Four-wheel vented discs
- Steering: electrically assisted power steering
- Towing Capacity: 1500kg braked (petrol) 1650kg braked (diesel) 750kg unbraked (all)
As a price-leader the base model ST is available with a 2.0-litre petrol engine, five speed manual, and two wheel drive from $27,990 plus on road costs. This engine produces 106kW of power and 200Nm of torque - just enough for the X-Trail’s size and weight.
Automatic X-trail models move to a choice of 126kW/226Nm 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol with either two wheel drive or all wheel drive on the ST and ST-L and all wheel drive only on the Ti or a new-to-the-range 2.0-litre turbo diesel producing 130kW and 380Nm paired with standard all wheel drive in the TS and TL.
With the X-trail’s update Nissan has given the previous 1.6-litre turbo diesel the flick, getting rid for two wheel drive and manual options in the process to make the diesel models a better fit to the buying patterns of Australian motorists.
There is no seven seat option for diesels, either, and deliveries of the new diesel range won’t start for another month, so our first drive impressions are focussed on the 2.5-litre petrol instead.
If you’re watching your wallet at each refill the diesel, with an official combined-cycle fuel consumption figure of 6.0 litres per 100 kilometres the diesel undercuts both the 2.5-litre front-wheel drive at 7.9L/100km and all-wheel drive at 8.3L/100km. Those looking to save fuel with the smaller 2.0-litre petrol engine may be surprised to find it as thirsty as the 2.5-litre models at 8.2L/100km.
Previous X-Trail owners will find the 2.5-litre engine very familiar as it is little changed from earlier models resulting in subpar refinement, becoming noisy and thrashy even on light throttle applications.
Conversely Nissan’s CVT auto is one of the best of its kind helping to make the portly (1425kg-1664kg) X-Trail feel more effortless and responsive than its average outputs might indicate.
On the ST-L’s 17-inch wheels the X-Trail delivers impressive rough-road compliance and excellent dirt-road composure. On the 19-inch wheels of the Ti ride quality takes a hit.
All-wheel drive equipped vehicles come with what Nissan calls 'Intelligent 4x4' that provides three drive-mode options: Normal (100 per cent front-drive), Auto (variable on-demand torque) and Lock (50:50 fixed split). The all-paw system is coupled with a nicely tuned electronic stability control system that compliments the X-Trail’s mild off-road ability.
Dynamically, both the front- and all-drive models are competent in everyday conditions, but they lack both the agility of a Mazda CX-5 and the silken ride of a Hyundai Tucson.
For a family car, all models should be quieter - in addition to the noisy petrol engine, there is plenty of road roar particularly over coarse-chip surfaces. The new diesel, on-paper, appears potent and efficient enough to be the X-Trail engine of choice.
ANCAP Rating: 5 Stars - the Nissan X-Trail scored 35.28 out of 37 possible points when tested in 2014. The score is derived from information obtained by Euro NCAP.)
Safety Features: All X-Trail variants feature six airbags, electronic traction and stability control, ABS brakes, front load-limiting seatbelt pretensioners, and reversing camera.
New features for 2017 include autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and forward collision warning on all grades, plus lane departure intervention (Ti), adaptive front lighting (Ti, TL),rear cross traffic alert (ST-L, Ti, TL), and upgraded AEB with pedestrian detection (Ti, TL).
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: Three years/100,000km
Servicing: All X-Trail variants are covered by Nissan’s myNissan Service Certainty capped price program for up to 12 years or 120,000km, with intervals set at 12 months or 10,000km (whichever comes first). Pricing varies between 2.0 litre petrol, 2.5 litre petrol and 2.0 litre diesel variants, your Nissan dealer can provide more info on your preferred variant.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
Nissan has held itself steady with the updated X-Trail. Instead of breaking new boundaries, the same-same X-Trail adds in essential safety tech to better cater to families, but not much more compared to the model it replaces.
As a result there’s better buys available in the five-seat two-wheel drive part of the market, and buyers that rely on all-wheel drive might pay to wait for the new and improved diesel models to arrive.
But as a seven-seater the Nissan X-Trail is a fairly rare beast. The only other medium SUV with the same seating capacity is the Mitsubishi Outlander so for the sake of packaging flexibility and on the back of its newly added safety tech it's the mid-range X-Trail ST-L that stand out in the range for now.
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