More than meets the eye
Nissan’s latest SUV maintains its competitive edge without losing its well-known features, PETER BARNWELL writes
IT’S a big set of shoes to fill, but Nissan’s new X-Trail medium size SUV – even in 2WD – does a decent job of matching its popular, utilitarian predecessor.
It’s a good looker, featuring Nissan “family” styling but without the bulbous lines of the larger Pathfinder.
New X-Trail is a much more modern design compared with the earlier “brick.’’
More than 140,000 X-Trails have been sold here over about a decade and they forged a tidy niche with families who wanted a practical, roomy, reliable wagon with some off road capability.
That was changing with the appearance of a 2WD (frontwheel-drive) variant a few years ago. Now there are more 2WD X-Trails in the line-up than fourbies. And they have a seven-seat option too – only in 2WD though.
This is the vehicle we drove, an ST-L 2WD seven-seater with a slightly revised version of the previous petrol, 2.5-litre four-cylinder.
The only transmission on any X-Trail – except the base 2.0-litre – is a six-speed stepped CVT X-Tronic auto with sequential shift.
PRICE AND KIT
It sells for $37,190, which isn’t too shabby when you look at the standard features.
It scores some driver assist features including the handy reverse camera “Around View” that allows drivers to see to the left and right when reversing from between two larger vehicles.
It has satnav, digital radio, Nissan Connect for digital devices including phone and audio. Dual zone climate control is part of the package as is active ride control that adjusts to suit road conditions.
Heated driver/passenger seat, EZ-Flez sliding and folding centre row seats, leather (ish) upholstery and a seven-inch info screen are all included.
The 1500kg X-Trail ST-L’s 2.5-litre petrol engine has been around for a while and doesn’t get efficiency boosting direct fuel injection like the new 2.0litre.
It achieves 126kW/226Nm output and can get as good as 7.9 litres/100km fuel economy on regular 91 RON unleaded.
The CVT transmission functions a lot like a six-speed conventional auto and has a sequential mode for sporty driving.
There’s also an Eco mode that changes shift points for optimised fuel economy.
Drive in the test vehicle was to the front wheels only, which is sometimes problematic – especially in slippery driving and particularly on slow uphill rises like wet driveways.
Built in Japan, the new XTrail is a cut above some of its competition in terms of build and finish. It just feels better to look at, touch, sit in and drive.
Inside is roomier than before thanks to slightly larger dimensions all around except ground clearance which is down a tad – underlining XTrail’s greater focus on the soft road.
Access to the third row is aided by wider 80 degree opening rear doors and the clever EZ-Fold centre seats. But you wouldn’t want a big adult in there.
Much better than expected and we don’t mind the looks at all – inside and out. There’s plenty of kit and a willing powertrain at not too high a price for a Japanese-made product. Definitely worth a look.