Changes un­der the skin

Nis­san re­tains styling on the pop­u­lar X-Trail, writes JAMES STAN­FORD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Road Test Nissan X- Trail -

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

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