Nissan X-Trail Crossover full 9 point review
A 129bhp 1.6-litre diesel is the only engine. It’s available with front-wheel drive and a manual or CVT automatic gearbox, or four-wheel drive with a manual ’box only. The engine is lethargic at low revs, but the turbocharger kicks in progressively, so you don’t get a sudden surge in acceleration, and there’s enough oomph to make the X-Trail feel sprightly in fast-moving traffic.
Ride & Handling
The X-Trail’s body leans heavily through corners and wobbles subtly as you go over big bumps, but the soft suspension absorbs creases in the road effectively, so the ride is comfortable most of the time. Light steering makes for easy going around town, but it’s slow to respond. The two-wheel-drive model has good traction and plenty of grip, so go for the four-wheel-drive version only if you regularly drive off-road or in slippery conditions.
The diesel engine is a bit gruff, and you can always hear it in the background, even at a steady cruise. Wind noise is also noticeable on the motorway. Mechanical vibration is kept to a minimum, though, and the manual gearshift is light. The optional CVT automatic gearbox is smooth enough in normal driving, but can let the engine rev noisily if you want a burst of acceleration.
Buying & Owning
List prices are competitive and the X-Trail’s resale values should be among the best of all similarly sized SUVs. Equally, the diesel engine offers substantially better CO2 emissions – and potentially better fuel economy – than those of rivals such as the Hyundai Santa Fe, making the X-Trail tempting for company car buyers.
Quality & Reliability
We’ve tested only higher-spec X-Trails, which get a seven-inch touch-screen system compete with well damped buttons around it. The audio controls on the steering wheel feel a little flimsy, and there are some cheap-feeling plastics around the glovebox and door handles, but generally the cabin feels classier than those of key rivals. The X-Trail was too new to feature in the latest JD Power ownership satisfaction survey, but Nissan as a manufacturer was rated merely average for reliability.
Safety & Security
All versions have six airbags, stability control and a tyre-pressure-monitoring system to help keep you safe. A Smart Vision Pack (optional on Visia and Acenta trims, and standard on more expensive models) adds lane-departure warning and emergency braking functions. An engine immobiliser and alarm are fitted to deter thieves.
Behind The Wheel
All models get a height-adjustable driver’s seat and front armrest which, combined with the airy cabin, make things supremely comfortable up front. The switchgear on the dashboard is a little small and fiddly, but otherwise it’s easy to get used to and is logically laid out. There’s also a colour readout between the clear dials that allows you to display a variety of useful information.
Space & Practicality
There’s plenty of space for adults in the sliding and reclining rear seats, as long as the seats aren’t moved as far forwards as possible. It’s also easy to fold the 60/40-split rear bench flat for a long, uninterrupted load bay. Adding the optional third row of seats means boot capacity drops from 550 litres to 445, but it’s still a big, square shape. The two rearmost seats will be fine for shorter adults on quick journeys, and are easy to fold up and down.
Entry-level Visia models get air-con, alloys, Bluetooth, a USB socket and cruise control, but Acenta is the best value because it adds dual-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, a sunroof, and automatic lights and wipers. It’s disappointing that you have to go for one of the higher-level trims to get a digital radio and the touch-screen sat-nav system.