Every X-Trail has a 2.0-litre diesel engine, but buyers can choose from outputs of 148- and 170bhp. Each is impressively flexible, although the 170bhp model has noticeably more low-down pulling power. A six-speed automatic gearbox is standard with the lower-powered car, while the 170bhp model has a six-speed manual.
The X-Trail’s suspension provides a reasonably comfortable ride, although the body can bounce around in a rather uncontrolled manner at times, and there’s a lot of lean in corners. The fact that the steering is remote doesn’t help. All models have selectable four-wheel drive, as well as hill-descent and hill-start systems.
The good news is that road- and suspension noise are pretty well contained, with little of either reaching the cabin. However, there’s quite a bit of vibration from the engines, and they become loud when you’re sitting in traffic or trying to build speed. The X-Trail’s boxy shape means wind noise is an issue on the motorway, too.
The X-Trail looks pricey compared with rivals, and running costs will be high because its engines are dirty and inefficient by modern standards. Insurance premiums will also be expensive – the 148bhp cars sit in group 32 and the 170bhp cars group 35 – and the X-Trail doesn’t hold its value particularly well.
While the X-Trail’s cabin feels like it will stand up to hard use, it looks dated, and the plastics are hard and unappealing. At least you shouldn’t have many reliability concerns, because Nissan has a good record in this area, and it finished in the top 10 in the 2012 JD power customer satisfaction survey.
Nissan fits everything that you’d expect, but no more than that. Stability control and front, side and curtain airbags are included, while the standard four-wheel-drive system provides extra reassurance. On the security front, deadlocks, locking wheel nuts and a fully integrated stereo make life difficult for thieves.
The steering wheel moves for reach and height, but the seat isn’t particularly supportive and thick rear pillars limit over-the-shoulder vision. Nissan’s touch-screen infotainment system is logical enough, if a little fiddly to use on the move, while the rotary climate controls are simplicity itself.
The X-Trail provides decent space up front, but six-footers will find rear legroom a little tight. At least the boot is very practical; it’s large, there are two handy easy-to-access underfloor storage areas and the floor is wipe-clean and durable. You can fold the rear seat flat, but you need to flip the base up and remove the head restraints first.
The X-Trail is available in three trims, and even the cheapest of these – Acenta – gives you climate control, alloy wheels, Bluetooth, cruise control and four electric windows. N-tec+ models add satellite-navigation, a reversing camera and a panoramic glass sunroof, while Tekna-spec cars also get electric leather seats and a nine-speaker Bose sound system.
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