More on the road than off it, the new X-trail ditches ruggedness for utility
Nissan's X-Trail joins the crop of crossovers and offers good value in a competitive segment, writes Geraldine Herbert
The crossover market is still booming and the latest 4x4 to be given a stylish makeover is Nissan's X-Trail. Gone is the rugged and utilitarian exterior, the new model borrows from its stablemates with styling cues from the Qashqai and is designed to lure buyers away from rivals like the Ford Kuga, Mazda CX-5 and Honda CR-V.
Inside, cabin space in the X-Trail is excellent. Five adults can be comfortably accommodated and folding the rear seats flat increases an already impressive rear loading space. It is well equipped with storage spaces, cup holders and logically laid-out controls and is a huge improvement on the previous version.
The X-Trail is also particularly family friendly and the versatility is enhanced by the optional seven-seat configuration - although space limits the third row to occasional use only, it does give parents the ability to pick up a small tribe of kids should the need arise.
There are 14 models from which to chose, if you want seven seats they are optional on four versions and carry a €1,600 premium.
The X-Trail may be aimed squarely at those wanting to spend more time on the road than off, but it is available with a choice of front-wheel or four-wheel drive. The all-wheel drive is an option for an extra €3,000.
Only one engine type is offered, a 1.6-litre dCi (130 bhp) diesel. On paper it will reach 100kms in 10.5 seconds and has a top speed of 188kms and 320 nms of torque. According to Nissan, this smaller engine delivers the same amount of torque as the 2.0-litre unit it replaced, but on the road it feels slower and if you need to accelerate in a hurry you will certainly wish for a little more power.
It is not by any means a refined engine and becomes rather uncouth as revs rise; wind and road noise is also an issue. While it is not quite as sharp as rivals and there is body roll around bends, it is comfortable, economical and effortless to drive.
Economy figures are good with emissions of 129g/km, so its €270 a year to tax and combined fuel consumption is 4.9 litres per 100kms or 57.6mpg combined.
Three trims are available; XE, SV and SVE. Priced at €34,200 our test car came with the SV trim and seven- seat option. Standard equipment includes rain-sensing wipers, forward emergency braking, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition and rear parking sensors. The top of the range SVE trim adds goodies such as heated leather seats, intelligent parking assist, driver fatigue alert and blind spot warning. Fully connected, it is equipped with the latest generation Nissan Connect in-car navigation, information and entertainment system.
The X-Trail is a direct competitor to the Ford Kuga, Mazda CX-5 and the Honda's CR-V and price wise it compares favourably; Ford's Kuga starts at €29,645, the Mazda CX-5 at €27,995 and Honda's CR-V is priced from €31,995.
Roomy enough to seat five and occasionally seven, with decent kerb appeal and powered by a moderately gutsy diesel, this is a car with all the right ingredients to warrant close attention. It may not be the most exciting option in this very competitive market but if you are looking for a safe, practical and very reliable family car, the Nissan's X-Trail has a lot to offer.