DRIV­ING

Herald Sun - Motoring - - First Drive -

EX­CLUD­ING the Grand Vi­tara — as Nis­san does — gives the X-Trail im­por­tant brag­ging rights.

But Nis­san should have had the diesel more than six months ago when Aus­tralians were quickly warm­ing to the ad­van­tages of an ef­fi­cient diesel over a petrol mo­tor.

To­day, as the gap be­tween petrol and diesel prices at the pump keeps widen­ing, some of that ad­van­tage has been lost, so the ap­peal of a diesel X-Trail is not as strong.

Nis­san’s ri­vals will be closely mon­i­tor­ing the diesel wagon’s take-up rate — Nis­san ex­pects it will ac­count for about 40 per cent of vol­ume — to see if there is still a strong de­mand by buy­ers for an oil burner.

As such, the ar­rival of the diesel is re­ally a toe-in-the­wa­ter ex­er­cise for all the big play­ers.

Nis­san’s in­abil­ity to of­fer the max­i­mum two-tonne tow rat­ing on the au­to­matic will also hurt.

The X- Trail, how­ever, should be an at­trac­tive propo­si­tion to fleets and private buy­ers on its fuel ef­fi­ciency alone.

The auto wagon is not a bad thing and nice to drive, but the man­ual has a more spir­ited edge. Still, both suf­fer from a noisy diesel clat­ter, es­pe­cially at idle.

The X-Trail has al­ready proven it­self as a com­pe­tent and well de­signed fam­ily wagon, so the diesel en­gine just adds ic­ing to the equa­tion.

The big ad­van­tage is the sharp pric­ing. Buy­ing a diesel nor­mally means a hefty spend over petrol mod­els and keep­ing the in­crease to $1000 looks like a win­ning move.

Ef­fi­cient: the X-Trail has proven a com­pe­tent and well-de­signed fam­ily wagon.

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