Chris Miller road tests and reviews the 2014 Nissan X-Trail.
The Nissan X-TRAIL has been a favourite of Australian car buyers since its introduction back in 2001, although its rugged looks had previously put some people off.
The new generation of the X-Trail employs a much sleeker, more modern design and endows the X-TRAIL for the first time with a seven seat option, all while retaining and improving on the capability of the previous model.
Pricing for the Nissan X-TRAIL is sharp, with the base model two-wheel drive ST with a manual gearbox and 2.0 petrol engine starting proceedings at $27,990. The top of the line 4X4 X-TRAIL Ti petrol adds almost every extra you can think of but costs $45,190.
The good looking exterior carries over into the cabin for a cohesive, well rounded package. It’s laden with the latest tech, is pretty good in the efficiency stakes and benefits from a five star ANCAP safety rating, ensuring there’s substance behind Nissan’s “Family Proof” marketing line.
On the road the new X-TRAIL is as good if not better than most of its competitors. It is sure footed and provides a really comfortable ride. It’s very easy to manoeuvre in tight spots, and feels composed at high speeds on the freeway. Pushing really hard through the corners exposes plenty of body roll, but it’s only when there is a lot of pace applied that the X-TRAIL will protest.
Our top of the line X-TRAIL Ti test car was powered by a surprisingly spritely 2.5 litre four cylinder petrol engine that develops 126kW and 226Nm, with power sent to the front wheels (or all four wheels when required) via a constantly variable automatic transmission (CVT). It’s a nice power train combination with the gearbox always poised to deliver maximum power and ensuring efficiency is optimised.
Like all CVT’s under lots of acceleration the revs stay high up in the range and for those used to a standard automatic, it feels as if something is slipping, but it is something you’ll get used to very quickly.
Fuel consumption isn’t class leading in the petrol variant, but it is still impressive. Nissans official claim of 8.3 litres per 100km isn’t hard to replicate, although over a week of mixed driving the test X-TRAIL returned 9.1 litres per 100km.
If you’re looking for better economy and more torque you can tick the diesel option box, but expect it to add significantly to the price tag.
All round visibility is excellent from behind the wheel of the X-TRAIL, the seats are extremely comfortable and the arm rests are just the right height for comfortable driving.
The analogue speedo and tacho are complemented by an animated digital display that provides info on fuel consumption, sat-nav directions, audio choices and a digital speed read out – all of which can be chosen by a touch of a button on the steering wheel mounted controls.
The new Nissan X-TRAIL feels considerably more upmarket than the previous generation, and plenty of its current competitors too, with a nice mix of high quality materials used throughout the cabin, and according to Nissan, all surfaces are hard wearing and easily cleaned, so sticky fingers and spilt thickshakes shouldn’t be a problem.
A big touch screen colour display sits in the centre of the dash and displays high resolution pictures from the standard reversing camera, and is also the main interface for sat-nav and audio controls.
On the top of the range Ti model you also get an all-round view that provides a full view of all four corners of the car…it makes parking an absolute breeze. In conjunction with a downloadable app for your smart phone, “NissanConnect” lets you surf the net, receive emails and run apps like Pandora and Facebook.
The packaging of the X-TRAIL is excellent with abundant interior space. Up front things feel light and airy, while in the back there’s heaps of leg room.
The rear cargo is cleverly designed with over 18 different configurations with Nissans “Divide N Hide” cargo system, ensuring there’s always enough room for everything. The seven seat option has theatre-style seating, guaranteeing everyone a view, although expect cargo carrying capacity to drop considerably with all seats in use.
Designed primarily with families in mind, Nissan hasn’t skimped on the safety side of things. A five star ANCAP safety rating has been achieved through a full suite of air-bags, blind spot monitoring and of course stability and traction control.
The new Nissan X-TRAIL lives up to its marketing hype, it really is family friendly but also rather stylish and is satisfying to drive. It fares really well against competitors from Mazda, Honda and Kia, and if anything, trumps them with acres of space and a genuinely likeable personality.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 2.5 litre petrol producing 126kW and 226Nm
Transmission: CVT Automatic
Safety: Five stars
Price: From $27,990