2012 Nissan X-TRAIL diesel Review

Joel Helmes road tests and reviews the 2012 Nissan X-TRAIL diesel.

After a few years on the edge of the wilderness Nissan Australia now seems to be surging ahead.

Sales are up, they have very attractive low interest finance packages, are about to enter the V8 Supercar’s and have a number of new models in the pipeline including the Pulsar and Patrol.

The Nissan X-TRAIL has been at the forefront of this resurgence and has proven to be exactly the type of vehicle many families and other car buyers are looking for in modern times.

The X-Trail range starts at $28,490 and that gets you a front wheel drive manual version with a 2.0L petrol engine.

Along the way up the Nissan X-TRAIL range there’s also a 2.5 litre petrol engine which, along with the 2.0 litre diesel option, is available only with on-demand 4×4.

The line-up tops out with the diesel TL X-TRAIL which starts at $42,990 for the manual and $45,240 for the six speed sports automatic, which is exactly what I had.

So what does just over $45,000 get you? Well quite a lot actually.

The TL comes with a host of standard features including – heated and electric front seats, leather interior, keyless entry, large electric sunroof and satellite navigation.

But of all the handy add-ons in the Nissan X-TRAIL the feature that had me most impressed was the Around View Monitor system.

This system utilises four tiny cameras positioned in the front grille, under each of the two wing mirrors and on the tail-gate.

As our photo shows this allows for a view of all angles around the vehicle, even to the front – a magnificent system which all manufacturers should get on-board with.

On the road the diesel engine provides plenty of low down grunt thanks to a healthy 320Nm, however being a turbo, and with only 110kW’s it can be a bit pedestrian from a standing start, especially on hills.

The six-speed auto doesn’t help either making some questionable changes particularly on hills.

I thought the engine, for a modern diesel, was a touch on the noisy side.

Fuel consumption is pretty good, a mix of city and highway driving across our week together netted a combined 8.0L/100, and the official figure is 7.4 combined.

If you’re planning on taking the Nissan X-TRAIL off-road the 4×4 selector is easy to use and there appears to be enough under body protection and ground clearance to navigate reasonably rough surfaces.

The X-TRAIL ride and handling is very good, the turning circle is excellent and the steering is well weighted and quite direct.

On the outside the Nissan X-TRAIL is certainly starting to look a little tired but some nice chrome touches and attractive 18” alloys help to keep it in the game.

Inside the cabin of the X-TRAIL you can still see that this was designed to be a bit of a “utilitarian” vehicle (remember the old ads showing the bikes being thrown in the back etc.?), and that means the overall ambience is down a little on some of the competition.

In particular you can expect to come across plenty of hard plastic – everywhere!

The leather seats though are very comfortable, arm-rests are nicely padded (although a bit too low for taller drivers who would need to slouch to make contact), and leg room front and back is very generous.

The dashboard is a nice, simple design; the climate control system is of the conventional three-knob design and is very easy to use, while the digital stereo, navigation and Bluetooth interface is also easy to use and navigate around.

Boot space is also very good and with a fold-flat back seat you might be surprised at just how good the X-TRAIL’s load carrying capacity is.

The sub-floor storage is handy, one complaint however in the cargo area is the flat plastic floor which allows whatever you are carrying to easily slide around.

On the safety front the Nissan X-TRAIL loses some brownie points with only a 4-Star ANCAP safety rating.

Summing it up, when spending $45,240 you are pretty much looking for a vehicle that ticks all the boxes, and you are also absolutely spoiled for choice if you’re SUV bound with that much cash.

Personally I would probably spend a bit of time looking at some other options rather than this end of the Nissan X-TRAIL line-up.


Engine: 2.0 litre turbo diesel delivering 110kW and 320Nm

Transmission: Six-speed sports auto.

Safety: Four stars

Warranty: 3yrs/100,000kms

Origin: Japan

Price: From $36,190

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About Joel Helmes 3560 Articles
Joel is the founder and CEO of Behind the Wheel. Joel has a background as a radio broadcaster with on-air roles at 4BC, 4KQ, 2KY, 2LT and 2UE amongst others, as well as a news editor and program director. Joel’s relationship with cars stems back to his early childhood learning to change oil and brakes with his father and uncle. This continued on into his driving years owning an assorted collection of cars.

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