The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Used Car -

Jackson Rowe is con­sid­er­ing buy­ing a two- to three-year-old Nis­san X-Trail. It would be the fam­ily’s reg­u­lar day-to-day car but he also wants it to tow a medium-sized “tin­nie” and a small trailer of fire­wood out of the bush. He asks if the X-Trail is up to it and he’s also con­cerned about re­ports of trou­bles with the con­stantly vari­able trans­mis­sion and diesel en­gine. An SUV is per­haps the ul­ti­mate all-pur­pose ve­hi­cle. It has to trans­port the fam­ily, cart kids to week­end sports, head to the coun­try on week­ends and tow the trailer, boat or car­a­van.

It’s a tough call for any ve­hi­cle and own­ers are al­ways look­ing to match their needs with the ca­pa­bil­ity of their car.

The four-wheel-drive XTrail is rated to tow up to 2000kg braked and 750kg un­braked, and the front-wheeldrive model is rated at 1500kg/750kg. On the as­sump­tion he’s con­sid­er­ing the 4WD model, it should be fine.

The X-Trail fit­ted in be­tween the “soft-road­ers” of sim­i­lar rugged ap­pear­ance — un­suited to any­thing more than a gravel road — and the more se­ri­ous off-road plug­gers that were equally at home in the bush or the burbs.

The front-wheel-drive starter model was for any­one who sim­ply wanted a wagon; the bulk of the range was on­de­mand AWD.

A twist of the dial on the dash al­lowed the driver to switch be­tween front, on-de­mand and a more se­ri­ous locked 4WD.

Petrol en­gine op­tions were 2.0 and a 2.5-litre; the turbo diesel was a 2.0.

A six-speed man­ual was joined by a CVT op­tion on petrol mod­els and a six-speed auto op­tion on the diesel.

The petrol en­gines are fine if your range of op­er­a­tion is lim­ited to the blacktop but if you’ve got a hanker­ing for open spa­ces then the diesel is the go.

On the road the X-Trail is safe and se­cure, it rides well and han­dles with as­sur­ance, while off-road the sus­pen­sion soaks up rocky bush roads with ease. Our reader was con­cerned about re­ports of trou­bles with the CVT and the diesel en­gine.

Some own­ers are dis­ap­pointed with the per­for­mance of the 2.0-litre petrol four, so it’s best to testdrive one in as many dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions as pos­si­ble to de­ter­mine if it meets your needs. Oth­ers com­plain about the fuel econ­omy of all en­gines, though they have 2000kg2100­kg to haul around.

There are a few is­sues buy­ers need to be aware of.

The per­for­mance of clutches in man­ual vari­ants can be mar­ginal and we get reg­u­lar re­ports of failed clutches at low dis­tances. It’s more of a prob­lem if you’re tow­ing, in which case it would be worth con­sid­er­ing in­stalling a heavy-duty clutch.

Nu­mer­ous CVTs were re­placed on early ver­sions of this se­ries (T31) X-Trail be­cause of a bear­ing that failed un­der ex­ces­sive load. If you find one that shim­mies and shakes or is noisy, pass it over.

Another is­sue on sev­eral diesel ex­am­ples has been the fail­ure of the par­tic­u­late fil­ter, which is ex­pen­sive to re­place.

Ear­lier T30 se­ries X-Trail diesels had prob­lems with the tim­ing chain ten­sioner, which could fail caus­ing se­ri­ous en­gine dam­age. To date, this Do you own or have you owned a BMW X5? Share your ex­pe­ri­ence with other Carsguide read­ers by send­ing your com­ments to Gra­ham Smith at [email protected]­ or write to Carsguide, PO Box 4245, Sydney, NSW 2010. has not emerged with the T31 en­gine. Great on-road and pretty good off-road in all but the re­ally hard go­ing.

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