X-Trail – Is this the best Nis­san yet?

NZ Today - - ON MOTORING - STORY & PHO­TOG­RA­PHY – KEN STRUGNELL

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.

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