Changes under the skin
Nissan retains styling on the popular X-Trail, writes JAMES STANFORD
THE first X-Trail was so popular Nissan didn’t want to mess with it, especially the styling. It may be slightly larger, but the second-generation X-Trail looks a lot like the original.
But plenty of changes have been made beneath its all-new panels.
The four- cylinder engine is mostly the same as the first generation, but changes have been made to improve responsiveness, especially low in the rev range.
It is a proven 2.5-litre quad-cam unit that produces 125kW and 226Nm. Standard transmission is a new six-speed manual that’s 30 per cent quieter than the previous box.
Nissan has dumped the regular four-speed automatic, replacing it with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that changes gear ratios, for optimum torque delivery.
The X-Trail has a new AWD system, improving its off-road capability. Its default setting is to run as a front-wheel drive.
The driver can select Auto mode, which runs the car in front-drive, until the engine computer senses any wheel slip and sends up to 50 per cent of power to the rear wheels.
The AWD system monitors side, front and rear G-forces, yaw rates and steering angles to send the right amount of power to each wheel.
There are also hill start and hilldescent assist systems for serious off-road work.
Nissan has fitted all X-Trail models with anti-skid brakes and electronic stability control.
Other standard safety gear includes front, side and side curtain airbags.
The X-Trail runs a new electricassisted steering system.
It still uses MacPherson struts at the front and a multi-link rear, though the rear suspension has been rearranged to expand the rear cargo area.
The upright suspension struts intruded into the cargo space on the previous model, but the new set-up sees the shock absorbers placed at an angle.
The length of the X-Trail has been increased 120mm, its height is up 10mm and it is 20mm wider.
The ride height remains at 200mm and there is a wading depth of 350mm. The towing capacity is 2000kg (braked) for the manual and automatic models.
The base ST model, with 16-inch steel wheels, comes with airconditioning, single-disc CD sound, trip computer, cruise control and electric windows and mirrors.
Stepping up to the ST-L adds 17-inch alloy wheels, six-CD sound, climate control, a leather steering wheel cover and front fog lights.
The Ti models sits at the top of the X-Trail tree, adding leather trim, heated front seats, sunroof and rear park assist.
Prices start at $31,990 for the ST, rise to $35,990 for the ST-L and hit $38,990 for the Ti model. Opting for the automatic adds $2000.
Sized up: the Nissan X-Trail is slightly larger, with the length increased 120mm and the width 20mm.
Pictures: CAMERON TANDY