Nissan X-Trail SUV

Review

Nissan X-Trail SUV

Price  £22,995 - £30,995

Nissan X-Trail SUV

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Economical diesel engine
  • Seven-seat option
  • Well-built interior
Cons
  • Big wheels spoil ride
  • Just one engine option
  • Honda CR-V more frugal

At a glance

The greenest
1.6 dCi 130 Visia 2WD 5dr £22,995
The cheapest
1.6 dCi 130 Visia 2WD 5dr £22,995
The fastest
1.6 dCi 130 Visia 2WD 5dr £22,995
Top of the range
1.6 dCi 130 Tekna 4WD 5dr £30,995

“The new Nissan X-Trail is more economical and better built, making it a vast improvement on the model it replaces.”

Nissan pioneered the crossover market with the Nissan Qashqai and then refined it with the Nissan Juke, so it's no surprise to see that the new Nissan X-Trail has morphed from a rugged off-roader to a road-ready crossover model.

The result is a car that looks far more modern than the old model both inside and out, and one that has vastly improved on-road driving characteristics. It is now the the only Nissan crossover model available with the option of seven seats, too, after the demise of the Nissan Qashqai+2.

Think of the Nissan X-Trail as an oversized Qashqai and you’ll not go far wrong. The X-Trail shares its 1.6-litre diesel engine with its little brother – to boast excellent economy and perfectly adequate performance – while buyers can also choose from frugal two-wheel drive or, for a £1,700 premium, four-wheel drive.

The X-Trail gets a range of trim options, so buyers can choose from Visia, Acenta, n-tec, and top-of-the-range Tekna models. Whichever trim you opt for it will come with a generous list of equipment including air-conditioning, LED daytime running lights, cruise control, and a five-inch TFT display.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4.5 / 5

Diesel engine is very economical, keeping running costs down

Losing some of the old model's off-road ability means the new car is much more economical on fuel than the car it replaces. Although a faster 1.6-litre petrol will follow soon, the new Nissan X-Trail is currently only available with one engine choice – a 1.6-litre diesel. It means the X-Trail can deliver 57.6mpg, which compares well to direct rivals such as the Kia Sorento (47.9mpg) and Toyota RAV4 (57.6mpg), although the Honda CRV's 62.8mpg figure is better still. Emissions of 129g/km, for road tax of £110 per year, means the Nissan is also relatively cheap to tax.

Maintaining your X-Trail should be relatively hassle-free, too, thanks to Nissan offering fixed-price services. They start from £159 on diesel models and include one year's roadside assistance, a free courtesy car, and software updates for items such as the car's sat-nav.

Interior & comfort

3.8 / 5

Big wheels make the ride uncomfortably firm

The new Nissan X-Trail has shed the trappings of dated off-road ruggedness for a interior that's both stylish and well built. Quality inside the X-Trail isn’t up to the standards of cars from Audi or Mercedes but Nissan has used plenty of soft-touch plastics to give the new model a more upmarket feel. In truth, the X-Trail feels much like the popular Qashqai from behind the wheel, which is no bad thing.

The car uses the familiar NissanConnect touchscreen interface, has climate control as standard, and a five-inch screen between the instrument dials. This display cycles between 12 different readouts – switch to navigation directions for a tricky roundabout, then back to Bluetooth media info or the drowsiness sensor, for example. The combination of user-friendly tech and a somewhat plain but sensible layout makes operating the X-Trail a largely stress-free experience.

By fitting Active Ride Control – a clever electronic system that helps the suspension iron out bumps in the road – Nissan has insured that the X-Trail is much more comfortable than the car it replaces. Fitting the larger 19-inch wheels, which come standard with n-tec and Tekna models, does have an adverse effect on the car's comfort, though.

Practicality & boot space

4.1 / 5

Option of seven seats and a flexible interior

One of the Nissan X-Trail's biggest lures for families is the £750 option to add an extra pair of seats in the boot. They’re best reserved for children or adults shorter than six feet, as the lack of legroom will make anyone bigger than that very cramped. A standard-fit spare wheel under the boot floor and a remote-open boot lid on n-tec and Tekna models further enhance the X-Trail's practicality.

Opting for seven seats reduces boot capacity to 425 litres from 550 but the extra seats are foldable. Opt for the five-seat Nissan X-Trail and you'll benefit from slightly more room beneath the boot floor. Choosing a model with a four-wheel drive system does not affect the X-Trail's load capacity.

Adults should be able to get comfortable in all but the back row of seats, while the middle row slides forwards and backwards for more or less boot space. Nissan has also provided a decent amount of storage areas throughout the interior.

Reliability & safety

4.0 / 5

The X-Trail gets plenty of safety kit but hasn't been Euro NCAP tested yet

With the car only just about to reach showrooms, the new Nissan X-Trail didn’t feature in our 2014 Driver Power survey, but the old model proved a solid performer. It finished in 22nd place out of 150 cars in 2013, and still managed a respectable 56th place in this year's survey. It was scored particularly highly for ride quality and practicality.

Things weren’t so rosy for Nissan in the manufacturers’ rankings and the company dropped 10 places in our 2014 results. The firm's best showing was 14th for reliability, but customers marked it down in areas such as ease of driving and performance.

The X-Trail has yet to be tested for safety by Euro NCAP, but we’d be surprised if it scores anything less than the full five stars. It gets plenty of airbags as well as stability control as standard. Customers buying the basic Visia model can pay £495 for the Smart Vision Pack, which adds high-beam assist, a lane departure warning system, traffic sign recognition, automatic braking, auto lights, plus front and rear parking sensors. The same pack costs £450 on the higher-spec Acenta model, because it already has parking sensors fitted as standard.

Engines, drive & performance

3.7 / 5

Just one engine, but the X-Trail is easy to drive and economical on fuel

No one at Nissan ever intended for the X-Trail to be huge fun to drive but it is very easy to manoeuvre thanks to its light steering and easy-to-use six-speed manual gearbox. Buyers can also opt for a CVT automatic gearbox, which is one of the best gearboxes of its type. As well as the car's Active Ride Control, which smoothes out the road, Nissan has also fitted the X-Trail with Active Trace Control. It can detect when the car is going too fast for a bend and brake the inside wheels to effectively steer it back on course.

For now, the Nissan is only available with a 1.6-litre diesel engine, which has enough power to move the X-Trail along at an acceptable rate wihout ever feeling quick. The problem comes when the car is fully laden; then the engine just doesn't feel powerful enough. If you want added performance, a 1.6-litre petrol will follow next year and should be noticeably quicker.

The X-Trail is certainly more refined to drive than the old model but compared to the Ford Kuga and Skoda Yeti, is not as much fun.

Price, value for money & options

4.0 / 5

Decent spec, but the option of seven seats costs extra

Even the basic Nissan X-Trail Visia gets decent levels of equipment including 17-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, a Bluetooth phone connection, air conditioning, heated door mirrors, and a five-inch TFT display. Acenta models add to that with auto lights and wipers, front and rear parking sensors, climate control, and a sunroof.

We would also recommend going for the Smart Vision Pack (£495 on the Visia; £450 on the Acenta), which seems good value and add items such as High Beam Assist, Lane Departure Warning, autonomous braking, and Traffic Sign Recognition.

The Smart Vision Pack comes as standard on Nissan X-Trail n-tec models and above, and they also get Nissan's latest sat-nav system, while Tekna models add luxuries such as heated leather seats and an automatic parking function.

Specifying seven seats costs £700 across the range.

What the others say

4 / 5
based on 2 reviews
  • 4.0 / 5
    “The Nissan X-Trail has ditched its predecessor’s upright styling and mud-plugging focus and followed the lead of the road-biased Qashqai crossover. It looks much more sophisticated, has a far higher-quality cabin that can be crammed with technology, and it’s one of the most spacious cars in its class.”
  • 4.0 / 5
    “The Nissan X-Trail has always been an old-school SUV with a boxy shape and a big 2.0-litre diesel engine. But now Nissan has ditched that approach with the latest model, which has an altogether more modern, crossover appearance much improved refinement and a mightily impressive 1.6-litre diesel.”

Last updated 
29 May 2014

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