Coming from a family with a history connected to Nissan’s X-Trail SUV, expectations were high for the latest offering. Known for being reliable, comfortable, and enjoyable, it’s the type of car that’s good for some amateur off roading, or the next family trip.
The 2023 edition not only builds on this reputation, but propels it forward. That’s particularly so in the case of the range topping Ti-L, which tips the monetary scales at $57,901 drive away.
It’s available in eight single tone and five two-tone colours, including the Ivory Pearl with Black Roof combo we are testing here. Appearance wise, the 2023 X-Trail has had a massive glow up.
With no disrespect to the previous models, they have always had that middle of the road, average look about them. Not this time. Nissan has produced a smart, versatile, edgy looking vehicle that’s ready for adventure.
That starts with the two step headlight, which is not a new concept by any means, but is a first for a Nissan SUV. The rest of the front bumper has a clean complementary shape to it, with tidy vents and body angles. It also has a light grey chin for some reason.
There’s an odd combination of colours thing going on here, with hints around the car of gloss white and black, satin black, satin grey and chrome. While it may seem like overkill on the palette, it somehow works, without being an eyesore.
Around the sides it has big doors, free from any forced body lines or creases, with a chrome trim accent at the bottom that compliments the side profile nicely. Plastic wheel arches and side skirts are standard.
The back of the car is clean and simple, with the tail lights looking like an evolution of the previous model. That satin grey pops up at the bottom of the bumper again, but we’re still having a hard time trying to dislike it.
It’s rolling on 19-inch, 5-spoke machined alloy wheels with black accents, which enhance the premium look of the exterior. Inside, things have also stepped up. A massive 12.3-inch touchscreen display is the centrepiece of the new, cleaner layout.
The combination of plastics, leather and trim are balanced nicely for a very aesthetically pleasing dash. Similar to the outside, Nissan love throwing a few extra elements in, and here, around the window perimeter is an almost chocolate brown plastic.
There is also a single woodgrain panel in front of the passenger. At first, you find yourself wondering if they’ve shoved leftover Patrol bits in here. It’s an odd choice, again, but somehow, it works.
A full digital display behind a flat bottom steering wheel is always a pleasure, and this is no exception. The quality is great, with the clarity on the display looking almost 3D. The only disappointment is the speedo doesn’t change colour when moving between driving modes.
Everything feels like its in the right spot. Navigating the infotainment touchscreen is intuitive. Nothing is laggy and there is no danger of getting lost in it while driving. Physical dials for audio and climate mean you barely need to take your eyes off the road.
Connectivity wise, it has all the goodies. Wireless charging, and similarly cord free Apple CarPlay feature, along with wired Android Auto. USB-A and USB-C ports are present for the first and second row.
Storage is plentiful, with large door pockets, as as well as space under the gear shifter. The centre console is split too, opening down its centre line, meaning it could be accessed from the second row, if need be.
A 10-speaker Bose audio system finishes what is a top shelf interior setup that pushes past its rivals. Rear seating is surprisingly spacious for a medium SUV, with no problem for three adults to share the space, and all in exceedingly comfortable, chunky seats.
Knee clearance is good, and space under the front seats doesn’t causing any feet cramping issues. Boot space is good, at 585-litres with the seats up. It has a braked towing capacity of 2,000kg.
Under the bonnet is a 2.5-litre naturally aspirated 4-cylinder petrol engine delivering 135kW of power and 244Nm of torque. More powerful than its predecessor, that’s mated to a CVT transmission.
It also gains a new engine map, meaning quicker, crisper throttle response. Five drive modes are offered, including Eco, Normal, Sport, Snow and Off Road. Because the X-Trail rides on fixed dampers though, there’s no change to the suspension across the modes.
Driving the X-Trail is a vast improvement over previous generations. It no longer feels sluggish or under powered. It’s not a fast SUV by any stretch, but this time it feels more capable than those that have come before it.
Whether humming along the M1 north of Sydney or making its way through the city, the ride felt smooth and effortless. Cabin noise is minimal, and you never hear the engine trying too hard.
Turning into corners is now a satisfying task thanks to the upgraded chassis; the steering is sharper, while the body roll is less. The suspension is firm, but still comfortable over some of the patchwork roads we were running over.
Across all the conditions we put the car though, it proved to be impressive, and well balanced. Priced at $57,778 drive away, the 2023 Nissan X-Trail Ti-L has a modern look, an enhanced interior and a better engine.
Up against rivals like Toyota’s RAV4 and Mazda’s CX-5, Nissan could well be on a winner. You can build your own on the Nissan Australia website. If you’re keen on one and need finance, talk to CreditOne.
Nissan offers a 7-year unlimited kilometre warranty, and 6-years capped price servicing.
Our test vehicle was provided by Nissan Australia. To find out more about the 2023 Nissan X-Trail Ti-L, contact your local Nissan dealer.