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.”

The new Nissan X-Trail is the latest SUV to be launched by Nissan. It looks very similar to the new Nissan Qashqai, but it's slightly bigger to accommodate an optional extra pair of seats in the boot.

Unlike the old model, the new X-Trail is a modern SUV that focuses on offering decent road-going manners rather than significant off-road ability. It feels just like a normal big hatchback to drive, and, while it's not much fun, it's perfectly competent in corners, as there's plenty of grip and minimal body lean. Clever electronics mean the X-Trail also rides well at speed, although bumps can disturb the passengers at low speeds. 

An obvious weak point in the X-Trail is that there's only one engine – a 1.6-litre diesel that's slow and noisy under acceleration. It settles down at a cruise, though, and should be cheap to run thanks to fuel economy of up to 57.6mpg.

It's a well equipped car, too – even if you go for the most basic Visia model, you get electric windows, cruise control and a Bluetooth phone connection.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4.5 / 5

Diesel engine is very economical, keeping running costs down

Doing without the old model’s off-road ability means the new X-Trail is a lot more economical than the car it replaces. It only comes with one engine – a 1.6-litre diesel – but exactly how economical it is depends on how you spec your car. Stick with two-wheel drive and a manual gearbox and you can expect fuel economy of 57.6mpg, while emissions of 129g/km mean £100-a-year road tax. Go for the four-wheel-drive car and economy drops to 53.3mpg, while CO2 emissions rise so road tax will cost £130 a year. Sitting in the middle is the two-wheel-drive car with an automatic gearbox, which returns 55.4mpg and also costs £130 a year to tax.

Servicing your X-Trail should be relatively affordable. Nissan offers fixed-price services that start from £159 on diesel models and include one year’s roadside assistance, a free courtesy car and software updates for the sat nav. Insurance runs from group 19 (Visia model) to group 20 in the top-of-the-range Tekna.

Engines, drive & performance

3.7 / 5

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

The X-Trail is fairly economical for a car of its size, but it’s crying out for a more powerful engine that can better cope with the car’s hefty weight. As it stands, the X-Trail goes from 0-62mph in 10.5 seconds in two-wheel-drive form with a manual gearbox. Tall gears and the engine’s low power mean the X-Trail can quickly lose momentum on steep A-roads, so making good progress often requires lots of gearchanges. If you want more performance, a 1.6-litre petrol will be added to the range in 2015, and it should be noticeably quicker. The optional CVT automatic gearbox is one of the best of its type and is a £1,350 option.

Get the X-Trail up to speed and it deals with corners impressively for a car of its size. There’s plenty of grip for fast cornering, which means the steering’s lack of feel shouldn’t be an issue for most people. Nissan has fitted the car with clever electronics that can detect when you enter a corner too quickly and correct the car’s speed to keep you in control.  

Interior & comfort

3.8 / 5

Big wheels make the ride uncomfortably firm

From behind the wheel, the Nissan X-Trail shares much with the Nissan Qashqai. It feels well built – especially when compared to the old model – and there are plenty of soft-touch plastics on show. Nissan has played it safe with the interior design, so some might wish the company had been a little more adventurous. All but the most basic models have a panoramic glass roof – the first half of which also opens like a` traditional sunroof.

Getting comfortable behind the wheel should be easy thanks to a driver’s seat that offers the full range of adjustment and a steering wheel that can be moved for rake and reach. Putting the driver’s seat in its highest position gives you an excellent view of the road ahead. The basic model does without parking sensors that are useful in a car of this size.

The 1.6-litre diesel engine fitted to the X-Trail is noticeably noisier than the 1.5-litre engine available in the Qashqai, although it settles down at a cruise. The 19-inch alloy wheels fitted to some models can also make the ride much less comfortable.

Practicality & boot space

4.1 / 5

Option of seven seats and a flexible interior

The optional £750 third row of seats will be enough to encourage many buyers behind the wheel of a new Nissan X-Trail. With the demise of the Nissan Qashqai+2, the X-Trail is now the only seven-seater SUV offered by Nissan. It’s worth noting that the extra pair of seats is best suited to children – most adults will find them very tight. Adults should be fine sitting in the five remaining seats, however, and headroom is good even in cars with the panoramic roof. The middle row of seats slides forward and backwards to offer more rear legroom or extra luggage space.

 

Boot space is also generous: the new X-Trail can carry 550 litres of luggage compared to the old car’s 425 litres with the rear seats folded away. Fold down the middle row and that grows to an impressive 1,982 litres. Unlike some of its rivals, the Nissan X-Trail’s four-wheel-drive system does not reduce load capacity.

There are plenty of storage spaces hidden around the X-Trail’s interior, including a lidded centre cubby between the two front seats and a couple of cup-holders. 

Reliability & safety

4.0 / 5

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

The X-Trail is too new to have been crash-tested by Euro NCAP, but we’d be surprised if it doesn’t score the full five stars. It has plenty of airbags and electronic stability control as standard. Basic Visia models can be specified with a £495 Smart Vision Pack, which adds useful features such as high-beam assistance, lane-departure warning, traffic-sign recognition, automatic braking and automatic lights, plus front and rear parking sensors. The Acenta model already has parking sensors as standard, so the Smart Vision Pack costs £450 on that car.

It’s too soon to know how the Nissan X-Trail will perform in the Driver Power 2015 owner satisfaction survey, but the old model finished 22nd out of 150 cars in 2013, and managed a respectable 56th-place finish in this year’s survey.

Price, value for money & options

4.0 / 5

Decent spec, but the option of seven seats costs extra

The basic Nissan X-Trail Visia comes with equipment including 17-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, a Bluetooth phone connection, air-conditioning, heated door mirrors, and a five-inch display screen. However, it’s worth moving up to the Acenta model, which adds automatic lights and wipers, front and rear parking sensors, climate control and a panoramic glass sunroof.

The Smart Vision Pack (£495 on the Visia; £450 on the Acenta) is a worthwhile addition, adding high-beam assistance, lane-departure warning, autonomous braking, and traffic-sign recognition system. The Smart Vision Pack comes as standard on n-tec models and above, and these also get Nissan’s latest sat-nav system with a seven-inch touchscreen. Tekna models add luxuries such as heated leather seats and an automatic parking function.

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 
21 Oct 2014

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