Nissan X-Trail

Nissan X-Trail

   You can’t blame Nissan for wanting to, ahem, please pardon the pun, cash-in on the success of their family friendly Qashqai, its success took everybody, not least Nissan themselves, a little by surprise. So much so in fact that their Sunderland plant has been on 3 shifts a day, seven days a week, more or less from the day it was launched and it’s currently the 6th best selling car in the UK. No wonder then that when it came to giving their larger X-Trail a thorough makeover it was the Qashqai they turned to for inspiration.

    The truth is, the Qashqai didn’t just provide the inspiration new X-Trail.

  The new X-Trail - and it is an all-together new version rather than just a warmed over version of the previous model - bares a striking resemblance to its little sister; you really need to see them parked side–by-side to truly notice the differences. The X-Trail is now swoopy shaped, far more attractive, and altogether less boxy than it once was, nevertheless Qashqai and X-Trail share the same floor-pan.

   Both sit on the same Renault-Nissan CMF platform that will go on to provide the base for a host mid-sized vehicles due from both the French and the Japanese manufacturers, In the X-Trail’s case it’s been stretched and,  as a result (and for a £700 premium), the X-Trail, thanks to it’s longer wheelbase, can be had as a seven-seater.  Well, 5+2, nobody but the very small can comfortably inhabit row three for anything other but short journeys. Oh! and the seven seat Qashqai +2  is no-longer.

     Currently the X-Trail is only available with a 130bhp 1.6 litre diesel engine; petrol versions, a 1.6 and a 2 litre too possibly, are due soon. Coupled to the nicely positive and smooth-shifting six-speed gearbox the diminutively sized oil-burner punches harder than you might suspect. 128bhp, and a rather handy for overtaking 236 lbft of torque, provide surprisingly lively, if not exactly earth shattering performance. But that said, for a family orientated SUV with a, shall we say compliant (some might say ride soft) ride, 0-62mph in 10.5 seconds is not to be sniffed at. 57.6 MPG is worthy of note too. A 90kg weight saving and the new altogether more slippery shape, one suspects, help on both counts.

     Whereas once the X-Trail was bought for its abilities off-road - and fear not mud- pluggers X-Trails with a part-time selectable four-wheel-drive system are still available -   it’s predicted that the majority of those tempted to buy one now will plump for the simpler less expensive front-wheel drive only version (as tested).

    Never once did I stray off the tarmac so it’s not fair for me to comment about how the X-Trial might perform when truly off-road. I suspect though with a set of good winter tyres fitted even the two-wheel drive would still provide more than enough grip for day-to-day family duties come winter time.

    It also provides the classic elevated driving position with the accompaniment of vista like views, a boot capable of carrying 5 people’s weekend luggage – trust me on this one I really did take my family away of the weekend in the X-Trail - luggage, very nearly the kitchen sink, and all, and a cabin that now provides comfort and build quality of a measure none of us were quite really expecting from a car wearing a Nissan badge.

   And that just about sums the new X-trail up. It’s practical, comfortable, pretty economical, undemanding and far easier to handle than its size might have you believe. It’s also nicely built and rather stylish too. Tick your options list wisely and not only will it seat seven it’ll pull them off a muddy festival field too. Everyone I took out in it seemed pleasantly surprised by it. As, I’m happy to report, was I.

   You’ve probably got another bestseller on your hands Nissan; job well-done.



Nissan X-Trail  n-tec dCi 130


Engine: 1598cc 4Cyl Diesel turbo

Transmission: 6 Speed Manual, front wheel drive.

Power:   128 bhp @ 4000pm

Torque: 236 lbft @ 1750rpm

0-62MPH: 10.5 Sec

Max Speed: 117 mph

CO2: 129g/km

MPG: 57.6 combined

Price: £27,295 (Car driven £27,845)


Many thanks to Kerry at Nissan’ UK press office for the loan of the X-Trail




Liam Bird Liam Bird

I'm Liam Bird, a freelance Motoring Writer based in the South Shropshire Marches. I currently write car reviews and road tests for a number of regional lifestyle magazines and newspapers which are distributed throughout Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, most of Wales and beyond.

As a member of the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers I'm as happy behind the wheel of a super-mini as I am in the latest super-car. I have press accreditation with most of the major motor manufacturers, meaning that as well as always being on the look out for further commissions, I always have a number of cars arriving each month ready to review.

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