The Nissan X-Trail is a very common sight on Australian roads and that’s for good reason, it’s an SUV that does pretty much everything right.
There are five-seat and seven-seat Nissan X-Trail variants available, along with a choice of three engines – 2.0 litre turbo-diesel, and 2.0 litre and 2.5 litre petrol.
There is certainly a lot of similarity between the different small/medium SUVs on the market at the moment, though the X-Trail does well to have it’s own feel.
The distinctive front-end is the main talking point, along with the large wing-mirrors and chunky door handles.
This is where the current-generation Nissan X-Trail really shines. The interior space, particularly legroom for front and second-row seat passengers, is excellent.
The third-row is, not surprisingly, really only for children – no doubt those families with teenagers would be better served with a Pathfinder-sized SUV.
Fit and finish throughout is above average and there are several real highlights, particularly the nicely-padded armrests, generously-sized storage areas and easy to use controls.
Digital radio is there, that’s a big plus, along with the clever ‘birds-eye view’ camera system.
A great feature to have, this system allows you to see right around the car from above – a feature sure to please those with smaller children.
There isn’t just a safety benefit from the system, it also makes parking a whole lot easier too as the camera from under the passenger-side wing mirror shows you exactly where the gutter is.
The infotainment system isn’t exactly cutting edge in look and feel, but is better than adequate, while a lack of Apple CarPlay/Android Auto is a disappointment.
On the positive side though the driver info screen is a winner, and allows you to display a large digital speedometer – a must have in my opinion.
The rest of the gauges are very easy to see and read on the go and that also ties in with the X-Trail’s easy to live with qualities.
Same goes for the easily-located audio input/USB/power outlets.
Driving and Engine
The 2.5 litre produces 126kW/226Nm and that is typically enough grunt for this type of application.
There is a CVT (constantly variable transmission) bolted to this engine and, like almost every other CVT application I have sampled, manages to dull the power delivery.
It isn’t the worst example I have come across, but the power delivery isn’t quite as smooth and responsive as I’d like.
Conversely, the transmission does pick up some marks for working nicely to shift down, or hold a ‘gear’ when going down hill and this does help you save your brakes.
One big plus in this SUV offering is the fuel economy, I averaged a very reasonably 8.4L/100km.
If you love light steering feel then you will absolutely love the Nissan X-Trail.
Without a word of exaggeration, this is the lightest steering I have ever come across in a vehicle and actually felt quite weird at first.
This light feel manages to translate a fairly dull kind of feel through to the driver, though for this type of vehicle that is unlikely to be an issue.
Conversely, the foot-operated parking brake in the current X-Trail could be a turn-off some.
The X-Trail ST-L rides along on 17″ alloy wheels and runs 65 series tyres – the end result, along with the help of the suspension, is a reasonable-enough ride.
Look out for the rather chunky A pillars – fortunately these are located out to the extremities of the vehicle don’t cause too many visibility issues.
And, while this might seem like common sense, if you’re considering ever taking your X-Trail off-road, opt for an all-wheel drive variant.
I attempted to take the two-wheel drive Nissan X-Trail up an incline on a dirt track during my test drive and it didn’t want to know about it.
All grades of the current Nissan X-Trail come with a five-star ANCAP safety rating.
The ST-L grade boasts assistance systems such as Corner Braking Control, Stability Control, and Traction Control, while every model grade gets Emergency Braking and Forward Collision Warning.
Certainly, it is a lot roomier inside than Qashqai, but if seven-seats is a must then you might just find it a little too small in the third-row to be really usable and practical.
It drives quite well, is frugal enough, comes with a good list of standard features and is generally quite competitively priced.
The best bits are the front and middle-seat legroom, nicely-designed cabin and easy to own/use nature.
- Easy to live with SUV
- Interior space (except third-row)
- Camera system
Not So Good
- Performance of CVT
Facts and Figures: 2018 Nissan X-Trail ST-L
- Engine: 2.5 litre petrol producing 126kW/226Nm
- Transmission: CVT auto
- Safety: Five stars
- Warranty: 3yrs/100,000km
- Origin: Japan
- Price: from $36,590