The Nissan X-Trail was one of the pioneers of the “softroader” craze and has been a popular choice for Australian families for more than 20 years.
The new model is bigger and better than its predecessor, with more tech and better driving manners.
The new X-Trail starts at a fraction more than $40,000 drive-away for the front-drive ST. You pay roughly $3000 more for all-wheel-drive and seven seats. The next model up is the ST-L, available in front-drive and all-wheel-drive and starting from about $47,000 drive-away. The Ti costs another $7000, then the range-topping Ti-L we drove costs about $57,400. Later in the year, you’ll be able to buy a hybrid version of the range-topper for $61,750, which is lineball with Toyota’s RAV4 Edge hybrid. The cheapest model has an underwhelming 8.0-inch touchscreen and small digital driver display, as well as manually adjustable cloth seats, 17-inch alloys, single-zone airconditioning and AppleCarPlay/Android Auto compatibility. Unlike rivals, the X-Trail has just one choice of engine across the range. The Ti-L ups the ante over the ST with Nappa leather, 19-inch alloys, a larger centre screen, digital instrument panel and head-up display. Other extras include in-built satnav, wireless phone charging and wireless Apple CarPlay. You’ll still need a cord if you have an Android phone. There’s a five-year warranty and a prepaid five-year servicing plan costs $2359.
The new X-Trail is slightly shorter than its predecessor but wider and taller, which means decent head and shoulder room in the second row. There are some thoughtful family-focused inclusions such as window blinds in the second row. The back seats can slide back and forth and the outside ones are heated, while there are individual airconditioning controls and two USB plugs. Leg room is on par with rivals and the rear load area is generous, with a false floor to hide valuables. The tailgate can be opened and closed at the push of a button, while the rear view mirror can be switched to a digital display that gives a camera feed from the rear of the car for a better view of the road behind. The seats are comfortable, with a wide range of adjustment. Extra sound deadening keeps road and tyre noise to a minimum, while the soft suspension soaks up bumps and corrugations well, making for a comfy ride.
The X-Trail was scored a five-star rating in recent independent crash testing, with an occupant rating of 91 per cent and a child occupant rating of 90 per cent. The Nissan also scored highly (97 per cent) for its crash avoidance tech, which includes the usual lane-keeping, blind-spot alert, auto emergency braking, traffic-sign recognition and radar cruise control. The Nissan will also hit the brakes if it senses a potential obstacle when you’re backing out of the drive and warn you if you’ve left someone behind when exiting. All the tech works seamlessly without annoying beeps and interventions.
ON THE ROAD
The new X-Trail feels more responsive and nimble on the road. Its suspension is biased towards comfort rather than sharp reflexes, but it is stable and predictable through corners, with light steering for navigating carparks and narrow streets. The 2.5-litre four-cylinder, matched to a continuously variable transmission, is more than adequate for highway cruising and overtaking and feels refined, if not as responsive as turbo-powered rivals. Fuel consumption is a little high around town but it’s reasonably efficient on the open road.
Toyota RAV4 Cruiser Hybrid, from about $57,500 drive-away. The benchmark in its class, with spacious, practical cabin, more power and excellent fuel efficiency.
Mazda CX-5 G25 Akera AWD, from about $56,500. Cheaper, with a cabin that is high quality but starting to look dated. More powerful turbo engine.
Hyundai Tucson Highlander AWD, from about $55,000 drive-away. Smaller turbo engine has more torque and is more efficient. Quality, hi-tech interior.
Three and half stars
Nissan hasn’t reinvented the X-Trail but the new model is smarter and more modern with a family-friendly cabin.
NISSAN X-TRAIL Ti-L
PRICE From about $57,400 drive-away
WARRANTY/SERVICING Five years/unlimited km, $2581 over five years
ENGINE 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol, 135kW and 244Nm
SAFETY Seven airbags, auto emergency braking, rear auto braking, lane-keep and blind-spot assist, speed-sign recognition
SPARE Space saver
LUGGAGE 585 litres
Originally published as Nissan X-Trail review: major upgrade for popular softroader
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