X-Trail – Is this the best Nissan yet?
First released in 2001, the E30 designated SUV known as X-Trail was well received despite its quirks, such as the original Mini-like central speedo. Through several facelifts and the E 31 version it kept its looks and the clever slide out drawers under the raised boot area while becoming more conventional inside, especially the dash area!
In the new E 32 version Nissan has opted to move away from the arlier boxy styling to line it up with its Pathfinder released last year. In truth, unless they are side by side it is easy to mistake one for the other. Good family genes? Or is it going to hinder sales? I like the Pathfinder, its looks and driving dynamics, so was keen to drive the smaller sibling. The X-Trail stumps up with both 2WD and 4WD like the Pathfinder, but does it with a 2.5 Litre 125kW 226Nm 4 cylinder normallyaspirated engine with a six speed CVT automatic.
New to the X-Trail are the daytime running lights which wrap sinuously around the headlights. Of real significance, especially in the rough, is the new scratch resistant and self-repairing paint that apparently self heals after a light scratch, such as dragging past gorse. OK I didn’t see it demonstrated but we were assured it really does work!!
The X-trail remains 5 Star ANCAP rated with seven airbags and all the safety features ABS EBD BA ESP as well as Hill Start Assist, Hill Descent Control. It also has, on the 4WD models, Active Trace Control Active Engine braking and Body Motion Control. In essence they add a further layer of computerised help to protect the vehicle and its contents in most situations.
Six Speed CVT automatic gearboxes across the 4-model range work well and provide the X-Trail with effortless power. I really like the ‘panoramic type’ vision created around the vehicle with the use of front, side and rear cameras; called the around-view monitor, which when engaged gives a view as if it were taken from one camera high above the car. Easy to use and very safe for the driver. There is a 2WD 7-seat version available and three 4WD models, the ST ST-L and the Ti.
I drove the top model Ti X-trail that also includes Sat Nav, a sunroof and some very useful electronic aids, Lane Departure Warning and Blind Spot Warning. I was particularly impressed with the Moving Object Warning, which alerts the driver of possible dangers around the vehicle. All models have a touch screen display integrating Bluetooth AM/ FM MP3 USB and smart phone connectivity.
Both on and off the road the ride and handling are brilliant with little hint of body roll, even when pushed. I liked the X-Trail off-road due to its sophisticated traction controls and good wheel articulation.
I averaged 8.5 l/100km fuel use which included some careful and some more spirited driving. Nissan claim 8.1 for the 2WD and 9.3 for the 4WD versions which should be readily achieved. The tow rating is a conservative 1500 kg braked. Prices range from $39,990 for the 7 seat 2WD, 4WD start at $42,990 for the ST through to $53,290 for the Ti.
The New X-Trail is likely to be Nissan’s best-selling model. It is the best yet!!!
Stylish sculptured rear a dramatic change from previous model X-Trail.
Nissan family DNA evident in the new X-Trail looking like a smaller Pathfinder.