The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
All models have a height-adjustable driver’s seat, as well as reach and rake adjustment for the steering wheel. Adjustable lumbar support for the driver is standard from second-rung Acenta trim. Although the X-Trail offers a comfortable driving position for most, those with particularly long legs will be in frequent contact with the centre console.
The X-Trail’s dashboard is clear and logically laid out, with controls placed within easy reach. Buttons and switches are all large and easy to operate while you’re driving, as well as positive and precise in their actions.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
The X-Trail’s high driving position and broad windscreen provide good forward visibility, although its chunky door mirrors can sometimes obscure your view at junctions. Yet even with those big mirrors, rear visibility isn’t great, due to the X-Trail’s fairly high rear screen and chunky rear pillars.
This is more of an issue on entry-level Visia models, which don’t get front and rear parking sensors. Move up to N-Connecta or above, though, and you get a system that uses the infotainment screen to show the driver a bird’s eye view of the car’s surroundings.
Sat nav and infotainment
Entry-level Visia and mid-range Acenta models go without a touchscreen but do have a CD player, Bluetooth and a DAB radio. However, most buyers opt for N-Connecta or Tekna trims, both of which provide a 7.0in touchscreen and sat-nav.
It’s not as good a system as you’ll find in the Kodiaq or CX-5, because the touchscreen is slower to respond to commands and its icons are quite a bit smaller and fiddlier to use. It’s also disappointing that it still can’t offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone mirroring; most rivals support at least one of those formats.
On the plus side, the menus are fairly logically presented and there are physical shortcut switches around the screen, so you can quickly switch between major functions. The button that switches the screen off altogether is handy for driving at night.
The X-Trail feels reasonably solidly put together. The dashboard good makes use of textured, soft-touch plastics and contrasting silver highlights, and the switches are reasonably well damped. However, you’ll notice some flimsy plastics around the door pockets, and you’re greeted by an unpleasantly tinny twang when you close a door. This makes the car feel a lot less premium than a fair few of its rivals.
Materials farther back in the car are more durable than they are plush, but you won’t find any exposed metalwork or sharp edges, even if you make a concerted effort to look for them.
Smart and practical inside, well equipped and great to drive
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