There are three engines to choose from – two diesels and one petrol. The 1.6-litre diesel unit has enough power to make the X-Trail feel sprightly, even in fast-moving traffic.
The more powerful 2.0-litre diesel has more low-end pulling power but, unless you plan on towing every weekend or filling all seven seats most days, you won’t feel its benefit, so we’d stick with the 1.6. It’s also worth knowing that rival 2.0-litre diesels such as that found in the Skoda Kodiaq pull from even lower in the rev range.
The 1.6 petrol probably isn't worth considering, unless you rarely carry heavy loads or drive almost exclusively in town. It makes less noise under load than the diesels, but it lacks their low-down grunt and requires working much harder to achieve the same turn of pace.
You can also choose between front and four-wheel drive, and between a standard six-speed manual or CVT automatic gearbox. The manual is slick and precise but the CVT revs noisily when you accelerate.
All diesel manual X-Trail models share the same 2000kg towing limit, although with the automatic gearbox this drops to 1650kg for the 2.0-litre and 1500kg for the 1.6-litre. The petrol model can pull 1800kg. The 2000kg mark will be plenty for most horse or caravan fans, although the Hyundai Santa Fe’s higher limit of 2500kg may make the difference for some buyers.