What's the used Nissan X-Trail 4x4 like?
While the marketing types who came up with the Nissan X-Trail’s name were clearly trying to emphases this seven-seat SUV’s four-wheel-drive capabilities, the reality of the matter is that the toughest terrain most X-Trails will ever face is the ‘rock crawl’ up the kerb in the local high street.
That’s because it’s a road-biased large SUV, aimed at families who would like a bit of extra space and the additional versatility this type of car can provide. To that end, you can get the X-Trail with either five or seven seats.
Most examples you'll find for sale will have the 128bhp 1.6-litre diesel engine, which has enough power to breeze you along at a leisurely pace and hang on to the coattails of motorway traffic. The more powerful 175bhp 2.0-litre diesel has better low-end pulling power but wasn't as popular because it was expensive when new. The 161bhp 1.6 petrol is the least recommendable engine for it lacks the low-down grunt of the diesels, forcing you to rev it harder. A much sweeter 158bhp 1.3 petrol arrived in 2019 that pulls well once on the more, and a lone 148bhp 1.7 replaced the two previous diesel options in 2020.
Visia-spec cars come with all the basics such as air conditioning, 17in alloy wheels and cruise control. Acenta trim ups the luxury levels to include dual-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors and a panoramic glass roof. N-tec adds sat-nav with a 6.5in infotainment screen, and a 360 deg camera system, larger 18in alloy wheels, an electric tailgate and some roof rails. Top-of-the-range Tekna gets leather upholstery with heated seats front and rear, plus an upgraded sound system and brighter LED headlights.
Updates in late 2017 saw the N-tec model renamed N-Connecta and the infotainment screen size was increased to 7ins. Acenta premium replaced Acenta in 2019, adding the all-important infotainment screen and 360 deg camera system to this popular trim level.
Soft suspension means the X-Trail leans heavily in corners, and while light steering makes it relaxing to drive around town, you do need lots of lock, even for shallow corners. To be honest, the X-Trail feels somewhat behind the times; akin to an old-school SUV rather than the modern breed, which feel more car-like to drive. The Kodiaq is certainly a nimbler beast, as is the 5008. Even the Land Rover Discovery Sport grips harder and rolls less through corners, and the firm ride means you feel the bumps as they pass beneath you, while you're shaken from side to side at lower speeds. The ride does settle a little the faster you go, though, so on the motorway you'll be fine.
A reasonably slick six-speed manual comes as standard on most models, although a noisy CVT auto option was available. The newer 1.3 petrol only comes with a seven-speed dual-clutch auto that can be a touch hesitant from a standstill.
The X-Trail's interior materials have a quality feel to them due to the use of soft touch plastics throughout. It be a little gloomy inside, though, thanks to the rather sombre colour choices. Things can be brightened up a little with a panoramic glass roof, but we have to advise caution here, as it robs a bit of head room, even for those in the middle row.
If you're looking at a seven-seat X-Trail, the rearmost seats can be made to fold completely flat, which is very helpful if you need to load longer items into the back of the car. It’s worth noting that if you choose this configuration, the third row seats are a little on the small side and will require you to slide the middle row forward if you need to fit people with legs of any significance into them.
With the seats down, rivals such as the Kia Sorento have bigger boots with the second-row still in place, which means the X-Trail might not be ideal if you want to carry five people and their luggage at the same time.
Page 1 of 5