I HAVE to admit I wasn’t sure what to expect with the new Nissan X-Trail, given it’s a complete redesign of a vehicle that is a popular family favourite here in Australia – with more than 140,000 of them on the road.
Add in the fact I owned a 2002 Ti Luxury X-Trail and you can see why I was wondering what I was in for, amidst a hope the best bits of the old model had come across to the new platform.
That being said, I was pleasantly surprised, and the result of some major technical and technological upgrades make the all new Nissan X-Trail a beautiful car to drive.
Our test vehicle was the mid range ST-L model, which has some nice additional features over the base model, including a larger, more powerful engine and transmission, digital radio, an improved media and navigation centre, leather accents, and heated seats.
Power comes from a 2 litre power plant in the base model, with a 2.5 litre engine driving the ST-L and Ti models, with 126kW of power from the bigger engine, and 226Nm of torque, backed up to a CVT gearbox featuring full manual mode.
Vehicle storage in the new X-Trail is amazing, with all seats able to be laid completely flat, the rear seats being adjustable in forwards and backwards positions, and a range of floor inserts allowing you to create an enclosed storage box behind the back seats – great for hiding valuables.
Longer than its predecessor too, the X-Trail presents a formidable footprint for a small SUV, with plenty of interior room for even the largest passengers, and exceptional head room.
Safety is there in abundance too, with front, side and curtain air bags, stability control, rear view camera, forward camera, and side cameras (in the base of the side mirrors), ABS, active ride control, hill start and descent assistance, with active engine braking and active trace control added to the new X-Trail.
These last two are significant, and appear across the range, with Active Engine Braking working with the CVT to improve engine braking when stopping and cornering, while Active Trace Control applies braking force when cornering to reduce under steer, particularly on slippery roads.
The car does have some faults though, and they mostly sit within visibility because of the curvaceous design, which has created a significant blind spot around the uplifted rear windows, and around the four corners.
This is compensated, at least in relation to the corners, by the multiple parking cameras, and significantly larger mirrors help to improve vision in regards to the blind spots, but it’s not perfect.
Lower clearance levels than the previous model also detract from the true 4WD nature of the vehicle, and while it’s a definite winner on road in terms of drivability, risky off road terrain is probably a no go zone.
A multitude of variants exist in the Nissan X-Trail model range, in both 2WD and 4WD incarnations, and five and seven seat options, with the core ST (base model), ST-L (mid range) and Ti (luxury top end model) moving across from the old version.
Pricing is from $31,276 (drive away) for the base model, with the smaller motor, while our test vehicle would cost us $42,837 to drive off the show room floor, and the Ti model commanding a $48,629 price tag.
Our 2014 Nissan X-Trail ST-L 4WD test vehicle was provided by Kloster Nissan at Newcastle. For more information or to arrange a test drive, contact them on 1300 377 507.
Vehicle: 2014 Nissan X-Trail ST-L 4WD
Overall Rating: 3/5
Pros: Outstanding handing and ride; First class engine performance; Excellent equipment levels.
Cons: Blind spots at rear windows; Angular design restricts vision; Lower clearance restricts off road.