Safe and spacious
VALUE The X-Trail is Nissan’s bestselling vehicle and this update reflects that, with prices unchanged or slightly down across the range despite more standard equipment. Put that down to the quality of the opposition in this class. Our test Ti version sits at the top of the petrol-powered range and until the end of the month it is selling for $49,145 drive-away (less in some states). The midlife makeover endows the allwheel-drive SUV with active driving aids across the line-up. Warranty is three-years/ 100,000km and servicing is every 10,000km, with the first four trips costing $1232. COMFORT The seats are satisfyingly wellpadded for long hauls and have enough bolstering to stop occupants sliding around in cornering. All seats and the steering wheel are heated in the Ti and the elevated second row lets passengers see the road ahead — they can adjust those pews for reach and recline too. Android/Apple mirroring isn’t on the spec sheet but there is a seven-inch infotainment display with satnav and digital radio. The tailgate opens with a swish of a foot under the bumper. SAFETY Active driving aids are the bigticket item for the revamped X-Trail and include autonomous emergency braking, blind spot alert and lane departure warnings, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control and a 360-degree camera. Six airbags and a robust body contributed to a five-star ANCAP rating when the X-Trail was tested in 2014; the software updates should reinforce that rating. DRIVING The X-Trail is one of the bettermannered mid-size SUVs on the dirt, even with the lowprofile 19-inch rubber fitted to the Ti variant. Its ability to soak up the impact of big off-road potholes is impressive but also means it isn’t as nice to drive as more road-oriented vehicles such as the Volkswagen Tiguan. The engine and continuously variable transmission also lack the refinement of more recent additions to the segment. ALTERNATIVES A more powerful engine, sixspeed auto and tighter suspension give the Mazda better handling and performance. As with the Nissan, there’s no Android/ Apple mirroring and some tyre roar on rough surfaces. The Mazda also cedes ground in rear legroom and boot space. A smart mix of substance and style has made the Tucson the best-selling SUV in the class. It doesn’t stand out in any specific category but is competent in all of them and has the further reassurance of a five-year warranty. VERDICT The updates do enough to make the X-Trail a safe bet without troubling the class leaders. If space is important then it should be on your short list.