Nissan X-Trail (2007 - 2014)
In the footsteps of ...
According to Nissan research, 30% of X-Trails are used for driving off-road. 25% are used as tow cars. 75% of all customers choose the X-Trail for the amount of space it offers.
As nearly all the purchasers were satisfied with the car's appearance, little has been done to it. Or at least, that is what seems to be the case. If the new X-Trail is parked beside its predecessor, it is immediately noticeable that this newcomer has grown considerably (175 mm longer, 10 mm higher, 20 mm wider). The external appearance has barely changed except in some of the details. New and modernized are the optional roof rails with search lights.
Original as well as very practical is the loading floor under which there are moveable partitions. For example, a deep drawer can be placed under the loading floor to protect delicate items from the remaining luggage. The loading floor is made of an easily washable material, allowing the transportation of a dirty mountain bike without any undue worries.
75% of all purchasers who choose the X-Trail for its space, will appreciate such adaptations. Also in comparison with other SUV's the X-Trail is capable of positively distinguishing itself due to the enormous (1,773 litres) and flexible luggage space.
The interior is designed in a modern and taut fashion totally in line with all new Nissans. The finish is complete and very modern. A moderate quality sound is emitted from the audio system which does have MP3 compatibility, a good functioning Bluetooth connectivity, keyless entry, a satellite navigation system which also avoids those beastly traffic-jams and a reversing camera are all part of the kit.
Both in the front and rear, the X-Trail offers ample space. The driver sits high looking out over the bonnet. This automatically gives that powerful sensation that makes SUVs attractive to many. The upper edge of the headlights sticks out above the bonnet as an orientation point while manoeuvring.
The new X-Trail is available with two petrol and two diesel engines. The 2.0 litre petrol engine is the same as the one in the Qashqai; the 2.5 litre petrol engine is an improved version of an existing X-Trail engine. Both diesel engines measure 2.0 litres and deliver, depending on the model, either 150 or 173 hp. A particle filter is fitted as standard.
The stronger diesel engine is by far the more pleasant of the two. The X-Trail runs smoothly always with a pleasant amount of power in reserve. Irrespective of the chosen engine the X-Trail remains silent.
The automatic transmission is not to be recommended: is does a poor job anticipating the driver, resulting in jerky gear changes when climbing or descending. Moreover the steering of the tested automatic car had little sensation and felt very light. With its slightly more favorable division of weight and adjustment, the manual model has a considerably more enjoyable handling.
The road handling of the X-Trail is average for such a car. In extreme cases the X-Trail slips away over the front wheels (under steer). The electronic stability system intervenes too late and ineffectively; however the brakes work very well.
To make climbs and descents easier, Downhill Drive Support (DDS) and Uphill Start Support (USS) are available. The first system maintains a fixed low speed to make descents safe; the other prevents the car from rolling backwards when accelerating on a slope. These are valuable pieces of equipment not only off-road but also when towing a particularly heavy load (maximum 2,200 kg).
The X-Trail is not designed as a tough off-road vehicle to cross deserts or trek through the jungle. However the car is more than capable off-road. Four-wheel drive can be switched off as desired to drive more economically, switched on automatically or even switched on permanently (lock).
With these aids, the X-Trail climbs, crawls and ploughs its way bravely through the terrain. The car completes technical tests effortlessly: steep slopes (ascent angle 29 degrees, descent angle 23 degrees), slanting ledges (diagonal angle 20 degrees) and fords (wading depth 35 cm, ground clearance 200 mm) are no problem.
However outside Nissan's pre-prepared test track, it is noticeable that the communication between the car and the driver is only moderate due to its light steering and soft suspension. On the open road, this does allow for a lot of comfort, however off-road it does make it difficult to get the best out of the car. Particularly in thick mud, the X-Trail pays homage to it's name: regularly the car slides irretrievably into the tracks of other cars and just keeps on following them.
Can the new Nissan X-Trail follow in the tracks of its predecessor as well? Certainly! The new X-Trail is so much better than the old one on all counts. However it doesn't mean that the X-Trail is the best SUV in its segment. The X-Trail knows how to cope off-road, but there is absolutely no doubt that it isn't an invincible off-roader. Accepting this, Nissan has laid the emphasis on exactly what the purchaser really wants to see: luxury, comfort and a lot of space.