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Nissan X-Trail

Motoring Review

Nissan takes a step down revolutionary road


EARLIER this year I had the opportunity to drive Nissan’s new Qashqai at its local launch event and was impressed at how good the car was at playing both the hatchback and SUV part. Now its bigger brother, the X-Trail, in its third generation, has received similar treatment. The original X-Trail arrived in 2001 and was very popular locally; the second generation came to us in 2007 and has just been replaced with the all-new model.

Exterior design

The new X-Trail is far removed from its predecessor in appearance. Whereas the previous model was more boxy, the new version is more urban, more crossover-like in its design.There are daytime running lights on all models along with a new front and rear end design more in tune with the likes of the Juke and Qashqai with its sloping roofline, more defined flanks and a rising window line.

According to its makers, the new model is in between a functional SUV and a stylish crossover. I think it looks great and as we know, styling is an integral part of many consumers’ buying decisions.

Inside counts

The interior is another all-new area that resembles its Qashqai sibling in terms of ergonomics. The materials are all of a decent savour and one gets the impression of a high level of build quality. The new vehicle is longer (75mm) and wider (30mm) and as such there is more space inside. The rear quarters are very spacious as are the front; in the seven-seat models the third row is most likely only suitable for children as leg space is tight.


Rear seat access has been enhanced with doors that open to 80 degrees while the EZ Flex seating system means that the rear seats can be moved to suit the user’s needs. The seven-seat models can go from 135 to 1 310 litres of cargo space while the five-seat derivatives offer between 550 and 1 405 litres of cargo space.

There’s a split-level dashboard, raised centre console with infotainment and ventilation controls and redesigned dials which house a new five-inch colour Advanced Drive-assist Display. The higher end models have the NissanConnect infotainment system which includes smartphone integration, app support, satellite navigation and a seven-inch touch screen interface. Overall the new interior is a very nice place to be and is certainly on par for the segment.

Engines and drivetrain

There are four new X-Trail derivatives in XE, SE and LE specification. The pick of the range has to be the 1.6-litre direct-injection turbocharged diesel engine which produces 96kW/320Nm and emits 134g/km and combined-cycle fuel economy of 5.3 litres/100km. The 0-100km/h dash is completed in 10.5 seconds however, the performance isn’t really of much importance as the diesel motor provides good overtaking ability, is light on fuel and a very easy unit to pilot.

The126kW/233Nm 2.5-litre petrol motor is only available with the X-tronic CVT and four-wheel-drive. I had the opportunity to take this model over a technical 4X4 course and can report that it is competent with decent ground clearance (220mm) and 4X4 systems such as low-range and Hill Descent Control helping it tackle tricky situations with aplomb.The entry-level 2.0-litre XE model produces 106kW/200Nm and is  exclusively available  with a six-speed manual gearbox.

Chassis and Technology

Five chassis control systems are also implemented in the new X-Trail, including Active Ride Control, which monitors road surfaces and adjusts damping; Active Engine Brake which allows for less braking effort; Active Trace Control which uses sensors to reduce under steer; Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control. Its body is made of a combination of 49 percent of ultra-high strength steel and composite plastics which make the new model some 90kg lighter than the outgoing model.

Safety first

For starters, there’s a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, six airbags, ABS with EBD and BAS, Vehicle Dynamic Control, Hill Start Assist, as well as Isofix child seat anchors. All X-Trail models also feature remote central locking with auto-locking doors.The Nissan Safety Shield can be specified and includes Around View Monitor, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Warning and Moving Object Detection.


The new X-Trail has certainly opened itself up to a new audience of potential buyers with its upgraded design, interior and top-notch drive quality. I think Nissan has a great solution for everyone from soccer moms to kerb hoppers and even holiday makers with this new X-Trail.

Service plan and warranties

All new Nissan X-Trail models come standard with a six-year/150 000km warranty and a five-year/90 000km service plan.



Written by Sean Nurse
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