Nissan X-Trail SUV
Price £25,595 - £31,700
- Good reliability record
- Strong off-road ability
- Top-notch practicality
- Lack of legroom in the rear
- Not particularly exciting to look at
- Running costs aren't the class best
At a glance
“Top practicality, a hard-wearing interior and go-anywhere ability make the Nissan X-Trail a decent family SUV.”
The Nissan X-Trail is soon to be replaced by a new model, which looks much more like the popular Nissan Qashqai. Until then, the X-Trail takes the mould of a rugged off-roader with workman like looks, which is capable on rough muddy tracks, but can’t quite match the economy offered by models such as the Kia Sorento and Land Rover Freelander.
The car comes with a choice of two diesel engines and three trim levels. The less-powerful engine has enough power for most, but is the only model to come fitted as standard with an old-fashioned automatic gearbox that dulls performance and negatively impacts fuel economy. The 2.2-litre 173 is not only faster but also more economical, and can only be had with a manual gearbox.
Trims include Acenta, n-tec+, and top-of-the-range Tekna. Even entry-level Acenta models get lots of equipment, including climate control, cruise control, and four-wheel drive.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Even the Land Rover Freelander is cheaper to run than the X-Trail
The current Nissan X-Trail doesn’t fair too well against more modern rivals in terms of economy and emissions figures. In less powerful 2.0 dCi 150 form, economy doesn’t impress at 40mpg, while emissions of 188g/km mean you’ll be shelling out £265 annually for road tax. The 150 dCi is the only model that can be fitted with an automatic gearbox, though.
Opt for a manual and you also get the more powerful 2.0-litre dCi 173, which returns economy of 44mpg and CO2 emissions of 168g/km, which makes road tax a more palatable £205 per year.
Interior & comfort
The car rides smoothly over rough roads thanks to good off-road prowess
The Nissan X-Trail has quite a firm ride, yet still manages to be comfortable. Both diesel engines are also quiet once up to speed, but road noise is prevalent on the motorway.
The interior is comfortable and still looks quite modern, although some of the plastics feel cheap. Space up front is fine, but in the back taller adults may find legroom lacking. Meanwhile, the steering wheel adjusts for rake and reach, and the driver's seat can be adjusted for height and lumbar support, while the standard fit cruise control takes the strain out of long journeys.
Practicality & boot space
Legroom in the rear could be better but the boot is huge
Legroom is tight in the back for tall adults and models specced with the panoramic sunroof (all of them apart from the entry-level car) have a little less headroom, but the Nissan X-Trail is still a very practical car. The interior gets plenty of storage areas including a place for your sunglasses, pockets in the back seats, door bins, a glovebox that can be kept cool, cup holders, hooks to keep your carry-out safe, and a box underneath the front passenger armrest.
All models get a double-floor boot, with a sliding drawer. The boot is a healthy size at 630 litres, although this is some way off the Land Rover Freelander's 755 litres. Put the standard fit 40:20:40 split rear seats down and you get 1,773 litres of load lugging capacity, in total.
Reliability & safety
Still reliable, but four-star Euro NCAP rating isn't as strong as rivals
Nissan did reasonably well in our 2013 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, coming 12th out of 32 manufacturers. The X-Trail itself did even better, finishing 22nd out of 150 cars. The car only gets a three-year/60,000 mile warranty though, which is some way off the seven-year warranty Kia will give you.
That the current Nissan X-Trail is getting on a bit is obvious in the safety results. It achieved four stars, rather than the widely expected five stars, when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP. Protection of the driver's neck area came in for particular criticism.
Engines, drive & performance
The X-Trail is an excellent tow car thanks to plenty of power
Opt for the automatic Nissan X-Trail, which only comes in top-of-the-range Tekna trim, and you get the less powerful engine, which takes the Nissan from 0-60mph in 12.5 seconds. Going for the manual means you get the more powerful 173bhp engine, with gets the car from 0-60mph in 10 seconds.
The X-Trail feels controlled in the corners, while its standard-fit four-wheel drive means that it is good off road and also a capable tow car, with a weight limit of 2200kg, braked.
Price, value for money & options
Equipment is good across the range but used prices are uncertain
Even the basic X-Trail Acenta gets plenty of equipment, including cruise control, auto lights and wipers, climate control, remote central locking, all-round electric windows, a Bluetooth phone connection, and 17-inch alloy wheels. N-tec+ models add 18-inch alloy wheels, sat-nav with a touchscreen, keyless start and go, as well as well as the panoramic sunroof.
Tekna represents the top of the range, adding leather upholstery, power and heated front seats, a birds-eye-view parking monitor, and Xenon headlights with washers.
Looking at the options list reveals some strange omissions on the otherwise well specced X-Trail - parking sensors (which would be useful on a big SUV) are options on all models and scratch resistant paint – which holds up better to bushes and the like when off-roading – is a £500 option on all but the top-spec Tekna model.
What the others say
The X-Trail is vital to Nissan's 4x4 fortunes in the UK. While this model is completely different to the first-generation car, it's visually similar; the firm didn’t want to change its winning ways. But look more closely and the modifications are obvious, particularly the stretched D-pillars.
The Nissan X-Trail is one of the best family 4x4s around. This version - launched in 2007 - may look fairly similar to the previous model but it is actually very different with improved refinement, a higher quality interior and fresh engines.
Won’t scare the Freelander but serves the useful purpose of pointing out that the Qashqai isn’t just another SUV. The X-Trail, however, most certainly is.
drove the 2.5 petrol with torque-converter CVT auto first and for a mid-range SUV that feels astonishingly refined. It whirrs a bit ascending hills, like any CVT, but it's more background noise than strangely disturbing. If you don’t mind the fuel and tax bills it's a sensible alternative to a bigger SUV like an RX350 or a Murano.