Saturday 18 November 2017

First Drive: Blazing new X-Trail in time for 142-reg

The new Nissan X-Trail
The new Nissan X-Trail
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

YOU can expect Nissan's new X-Trail crossover to be here for July's anticipated surge in mid-year sales.

The emphasis is very much on it being a crossover and drew comments here yesterday that it is like a 'Grand Qashqai'.

It is more sharply designed and, like the Qashqai, its visual strength is at the front – another clue to current buyer preferences.

You can have one with five or seven seats, and with two-wheel or four-wheel drive.

There is major focus on 'connectivity' with all sorts of apps (music, social networking, entertainment, etc). The dash/instrumentation is cleanly designed and displayed – especially the 7ins colour touch screen – to use and access these apps as well as the more conventional readings. There's Bluetooth audio streaming, mobile phone integration, aux-in and USB slots.

Inside, it was immediately clear that there are better quality materials used and noticeably more room. Families will like the idea of the sliding and reclining second row of seats while the optional third row folds flat.

Second-row room was excellent – the extended wheelbase and heavily sculpted front-seat backs help there. Seats have 'theatre' stepped layout and it is easier to get in and out of them.

I think the boldest decision they've made was to use the 4cyl, 130bhp 1.6-litre diesel (320Nm torque; 129g/km manual, 135g/km XTronic automatic; 139g/km all-wheel drive).

It underlines how far technology has come to be able to say this is better all-round than the old 2-litre. It had loads of pull and power. The suspension is on the comfortable side.

The X-Trail has broader track, is 17mm longer (4,643mm), 30mm wider and 5mm lower. The wheelbase is 76mm longer (hence more interior room) while ground clearance stays at 210mm.

It is 90kg lighter – more high-tensile steel and a tailgate made from plastic all help.

The boot area has a flexible double load floor. It lets you easily put stuff into upper and lower areas. In real life, that means stashing a stroller and large items underneath while using the upper load for smaller, lighter items. The tailgate opens remotely.

Interesting that after examining all surfaces with which occupants come in contact they made the door arm-rest pads and centre console pad much thicker to absorb the wear and tear.

Price and spec levels have yet to be decided for Ireland. Our test car had loads of stuff I suspect will be on higher equipment grades or come as special packages but are noteworthy nonetheless.

There is the brand's Safety Shield with its spread of prevention, warnings and parking aids; an electric opening panoramic roof (front half can be opened – not standard) and Bi-LED headlamps.

The technology menu includes around-view monitor with intelligent park assist, LED daytime running lights and that Safety Shield collection.

The latter embraces forward emergency braking, driver attention alert, lane departure warning, blind spot warning, etc. The ALL MODE 4x4-I is controlled through a switch on the centre console; it lets you choose between 2WD, auto mode or lock with permanent 4WD.

Expect a high level of standard equipment. I'm guessing, but it should include air-con, alloys, six airbags, LED daytime running lights, 5ins colour combimeter display, Bluetooth, cruise control and speed limiter, etc.

It's a new kind of X-Trail – that's for sure.

Indo Motoring

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