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What Car? says

5 out of 5 stars

For The X-Trail is fine on- and off-road, has space for the family and is well built

Against Its petrol engines need more pulling power, and the Tonka-toy design isn’t very stylish

Verdict It's among best of its type - competent on- and off-road, practical and well equipped

Go for… Any diesel

Avoid… 2.0 petrol

Nissan X-Trail 4x4
  • 1. Check the timing chains on diesel engines were fixed by a recall. They will rattle if not
  • 2. The X-Trail has excellent ride and handling on-road, and it's pretty good off-road, too
  • 3. Go for a diesel, preferably the dCi unit that was introduced in early 2004
  • 4. Original entry S trim had no air-con, side airbags or CD player. Go for Sport or SE+ on early models, or any of the better-equipped model from early 2004
  • 5. Servicing and insurance costs are low for the class. Fuel economy is also good as long as you go for the diesel
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Nissan X-Trail 4x4 full review with expert trade views

At a time when 4x4s tend to split into two camps, specialising in either on- or off-road capability, the X-Trail is something of a rarity - a car that can do both.

The sophisticated four-wheel drive system and good ground clearance make it really impressive when it’s up to its axles in mud, but it’s just as good on Tarmac, with decent performance and suspension that combines a comfortable ride with decent handling.

It may not be the most stylish of 4x4s, but it’s certainly built well enough to withstand the worst a family can throw at it. That’s just as well, because the X-Trail makes a genuine alternative to a conventional family car. There will certainly be no complaints from the driver, thanks to a fine driving position and good visibility. There’s also enough space for three abreast across the back seat, as well as a decent boot.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

2.0 and diesels sell well, 2.5 hard work - take a look underneath

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

It’s got to be a diesel every time, but make sure it’s the dCi unit that was introduced in early 2004. The diesel is the range’s most fuel-efficient engine, of course – although not by a huge margin - but what makes it the best choice is its excellent low-down pulling power. By comparison the petrols feel weak.

Most versions have four-wheel drive, which is what we prefer, but a couple of two-wheel drive versions (with the 2.0 petrol and 2.2 diesel engines) were introduced in mid-2005, aimed at buyers who wanted 4WD style without the 4WD.

The original base S trim had no air-con, side airbags or CD player, so you’re better off with Sport or the more luxurious SE+. However, from early 2004, the trims were renamed and improved. SE became the cheapest option, and our favourite. Upgrading can bring you an electric sunroof, leather upholstery or even sat-nav, but it’s not worth the extra cost.

Trade view

James Ruppert

More around although prices very firm with the SVE and T-spec preferred

James Ruppert
Used car guru

Word of the X-Trail’s talents is clearly spreading because it remains quite an expensive used buy.

What’s more, there’s not much to fear in terms of other running costs. Servicing, for example, costs less than on a Land Rover Freelander and is on a par with the Toyota RAV4. Insurance costs, too, are cheaper on the Nissan than on the Land Rover, as well as on more road-biased 4x4s such as the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.

For the best fuel economy you need to look to the diesel, which should return almost 40mpg. While that’s not a huge leap over the petrols, which should return 30mpg, it’s much better than the Freelander, and almost identical to diesel versions of the Toyota RAV4. Even if you stick to petrol, it’s the same story, with the X-Trail always at least as good as its rivals.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

2.0 and diesels sell well, 2.5 hard work - take a look underneath

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

The X-Trail is still a young design, so it’s not surprising to see relatively few problems. However, if JD Power reports are anything to go by, buyers should have nothing to fear in the future. The X-Trail has put up a good showing in recent years, with only some problems with the ventilation dragging its score down.

The message from owners - almost uniform praise, with only the odd exception – suggests that the X-Trail won’t upset that record. We have heard of few hiccups with the car, but on some diesels, the timing chains (the subject of the only X-Trail recall) rattle and need replacing, and there have been some turbocharger failures.

Trade view

James Ruppert

More around although prices very firm with the SVE and T-spec preferred

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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