Home off the trail
Nissan’s SUV is now very much a soft-roader
variant joins to assume peoplemover duties from the soon-tobe-discontinued Dualis +2.
The third row seats are kid‒only perches, but give young families room to grow into the more commodious Pathfinder.
The 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine — and six-speed manual gearbox — are reserved for the base ST front-wheel drive at $27,990. Everything else uses the 2.5-litre four-cylinder and Nissan’s Xtronic continuously variable transmission, which adds $2500 in ST trim.
Step up to the ST-L at $36,190 and the base car’s five‒inch touchscreen grows by two inches and includes Google-based satnav, digital radio, dual-zone aircon, powered front seats with leather trim accents, fog lamps and heated side mirrors.
The seven-seater can be had in either ST or ST-L spec at $31,580 and $37,190 respectively.
All-wheel drive models start at $33,980 for the ST, $39,080 for the ST-L and $44,680 for the Ti, which adds 18-inch alloys, LED headlamps, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, hill descent control, lane departure and blind spot warning, moving object detection when reversing, sunroof and powered tailgate.
Diesel versions will arrive late this year.
Reduced drivetrain friction improves fuel efficiency by about 0.5L/100km. Upgrades to the CVT put it among the best stepless automatics on the market.
A reversing camera is standard across the range, with ST-L and Ti variants gaining the bird’s-eye “around view monitor”. A couple of new acronyms, ACT and ARC, help keep the car on the road — they’re notable for not being noticeable.
Active Trace Control brakes individual wheels to keep the SUV on its line through corners and the Active Ride Control adjusts engine torque and/or braking to help dampen the pitching motion when the vehicle hits a bump.
Flowing exterior lines haven’t hurt the X-Trail’s interior capacity and there’s only a minor impact on off-road prowess. The 210mm ride height is down 5mm and the approach angle is down by 10 degrees, not that the vast majority of owners will care.
The new SUV is less than a centimetre shorter than before but the wheels have been pushed to the corners to improve legroom in the second