Nissan X-Trail SUV review, Carbuyer

Nissan X-Trail SUV

Price £23,385 – £37,410

reviewed by Carbuyer

  • Efficient engines
  • Spacious inwards
  • Stylish design
  • Key extras add up
  • Limited engine choice
  • Seven seats are optional

At a glance

“The Nissan X-Trail looks and drives like a large Qashqai – and that’s a compliment”

The Nissan X-Trail is Nissan’s contribution to the rapidly expanding mid-size SUV class. The car’s most direct competitors are the Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento, Volkswagen Tiguan, Skoda Kodiaq and SEAT Ateca, but its striking design and good off-road capability also make it a viable alternative to more expensive cars such as the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Range Rover Evoque.

These three may be more luxurious, but they aren’t actually much more practical or usable than the X-Trail, which makes the Nissan seem a bargain given that the Audi, BMW and Range Rover all cost around £10,000 extra. What’s more, the Nissan is available as a seven-seater, making it even more supple and practical than any of the more expensive cars mentioned.

There are three engines to choose from when buying an X-Trail. We recommend going for one of the two diesels, because their character suits a car of this size and type. The 128bhp 1.6-litre is the most economical available, returning 57.6mpg (with 17-inch alloys) in two-wheel-drive form or 53.3mpg with four-wheel drive. Moving up to the more powerful 175bhp Two.0-litre diesel sees economy drop to 50.4mpg (manual, 17-inch wheels), with the four-wheel-drive automatic model capable of 47.1mpg.

It costs more to buy and to run, but if you regularly fountain up your X-Trial with people and luggage, or will be using it for towing, the extra pulling power of the Two.0-litre will be useful, especially when paired with a manual gearbox and four-wheel drive.

The 1.6-litre petrol engine produces 161bhp while returning 45.6mpg, which is extraordinaire when you consider how big and strenuous the X-Trail is. While the diesels will be best for most buyers, the petrol is a good choice if you only expect to use the car for brief journeys around town and your annual mileage will be under 12,000 miles. It’s worth bearing in mind that the petrol model isn’t available with four-wheel drive, so those wanting to take the car off road at times have even more reason to buy diesel.

The latest X-Trail is a marked improvement on its forebears when it comes to interior design and convenience. Previous models always felt a little utilitarian, but today’s car shows the influence of the popular Nissan Qashqai. There’s explosions of space, particularly for those in the front and 2nd rows, while the two optional third-row seats are best reserved for children or petite adults.

The boot is a good size; with seven seats, you get four hundred forty five litres of luggage room, which increases to five hundred sixty five litres if you don’t specify the third row. The only letdown inwards is that some of the plastics feel rather on the brittle side – they’re not a patch on those in the X-Trail’s rivals. Our test team also complained that the front seats became awkward on longer journeys.

All X-Trail models are well tooled, but you have to open up to the N-Vision (2nd from top of the range) before sat nav is included. All have Bluetooth, cruise control, 17-inch alloy wheels and electrical windows. Mid-range Acenta trim is worth upgrading to, however, as it adds automatic lights and wipers, a better stereo, panoramic sunroof, all-round parking sensors and a leather steering wheel. The Acenta is also a fairly desirable model when it comes to time to sell.

On the road, the Qashqai’s influence proceeds, as the X-Trail has light, effortless steering, convenient suspension and suffers from minimal wind noise, even at motorway speeds. The car isn’t suited to hard cornering, however: there’s noticeable figure lean and enthusiastic drivers will find little prize in driving the car quickly. All engines have enough power for rural driving, but models with the least powerful diesel are a little sluggish when fully laden – overtaking manoeuvres and joining fast-flowing traffic on motorways certainly can’t be described as effortless.

Overall, the X-Trail makes a fine all-round family car, with real utility and the capability to cope on bad roads and poor weather – few owners will need the optional four-wheel drive and the extra costs it brings. The X-Trail offers buyers a usefully fatter alternative to the Qashqai, as well has having the style to rival with more expensive models.

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