Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page - Joshua Dowl­ing

airbags, blind-spot warn­ing and rear crosstraf­fic alert. It scores five stars for safety. The 360-de­gree over­head cam­era view is milky dur­ing the day and so fuzzy at night you can’t tell what you’re look­ing at.


The ST’s 2.0-litre drives the front wheels via a con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion, which un­like oth­ers of the genre feels perky. The ST-L gets a gut­sier 2.5-litre. The steer­ing is di­rect and pre­cise, the sus­pen­sion is sup­ple over bumps and the tyres have sure-footed grip in cor­ners. The X-Trail is a pleas­ant sur­prise; it’s cer­tainly closed the gap to the Mazda CX-5 and Ford Es­cape, two of the bench­marks in the class. It’s a sub­jec­tive thing but I pre­fer the way the X-Trail drives over its peers.


Re­cently up­dated, doesn’t drive quite as nicely as the X-Trail but the price, fea­tures and sev­enyear war­ranty are com­pelling.

FORD ES­CAPE $28,990-$48,340 DRIVE-AWAY

Has just had an­other makeover with more gear. It drives well and is bet­ter value now that a fiveyear war­ranty is stan­dard.

MAZDA CX-5 $33,790-$51,200 DRIVE-AWAY

The lat­est CX-5 isn’t quite as sharp to drive as the orig­i­nal but it’s still worth a closer look.


I re­ally like the X-Trail to drive but the ask­ing price for the ST-L is too high. The in­fo­tain­ment is dated and the rear cam­era view fuzzy.

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