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MotorBar - New Car Reviews
Nissan X-Trail Tekna dCi 177 4WD Xtronic

Click to view picture gallery“Crossover or SUV? Exactly where
  does one finish and the other begin?
  Probably where the four-wheel
  drive kicks in. In Nissan’s case,
  it’s their X-Trail SUV that picks up
  the off-road baton from their hugely
  popular Qashqai crossover...”


THE X-TRAIL IS UNDENIABLY Nissan's 4x4 flag-carrier but, along with the platform and running gear they share, and the same family look, there is an even more fundamental difference — the Qashqai only fields five seats; the X-Trail can be specified with seven.

And don't be thinking that the X-Trail is just a five-seater 'born again' for the marketing department this new third-generation model was designed from the get-go with a longer wheelbase to be a fully-fledged seven-seater specifically to broaden its appeal, in particular to a wider family audience.

Not that seven seats ever stopped a SUV from getting its wheels dirty a seriously useful 210mm of ground clearance combined with Nissan's all-wheel drive system (you can still have 'plain ole' two-wheel drive if you wish) ensures the X-Trail can rumble in the jungle.

If you’re planning
to regularly carry big
loads (people or cargo)
or want to tow, then
the 174bhp 2.0-litre
turbodiesel is the
punchiest choice.
Making diesel life easier
is Nissan’s fluent CVT
Xtronic gearbox,
and thanks to a 280lb ft
hit of torque there’s
always decent oomph in
reserve for overtakes —
when the Xtronic’s
manual mode for driver-
controlled sequential-
shifting comes in
very handy...”
Reviewers often jaw-jaw about a brand's 'design language' we'll just keep it simple and say that the X-Trail looks very much like its little brother the Qashqai; seen in company with one, the 4.7-metre-long X-Trail's higher roofline, taller ride and extra girth give it a substantially beefier presence.

Fronted by Nissan's sharp-looking 'V-motion' grille flanked by LED headlamps with signature daytime running lights and handsomely curvy in all the right places, the X-Trail is a pretty sleek beastie. Dressed in standout Orange pearlescent paint the new black it's eye-catchingly fetching!

If you're planning to regularly carry big loads (people or cargo) or want to tow, then the 174bhp (177PS) 2.0-litre turbodiesel is the punchiest choice. Both other under-bonnet options are 1.6-litre: 128bhp diesel or 160bhp petrol. Making diesel life easier when mated to the 2.0-litre is Nissan's fluent CVT Xtronic gearbox this combo takes the X-Trail to a 121mph top speed and gets it past the 62mph post from standstill in a more than good enough ten seconds dead.

It pulls cleanly from low revs and thanks to a 280lb ft hit of torque there's always decent oomph in reserve for overtakes when the Xtronic's manual mode for driver-controlled sequential-shifting comes in very handy. There's also enough to guarantee plenty of laid-back driving, all made more enjoyable by it being respectfully quiet cruising at the legal limit (and most of the rest of the time, too).

A week being driven harder than many will be by those using their own money to buy one recorded a not-to-be-sneezed-at 37.2mpg; we'd expect less heavy-footed drivers to better that in the direction of the officially Combined Cycle figure of 46.3mpg.

Even before you get aboard the X-Trail is welcoming you don't need to use a key and the large chromed door handles have an easy pull-to-open action. Inside, well-cushioned and well-bolstered leather-clad sports-style front seats extend the welcome; the fist of headroom is nice and, even though the glasshouse is deep, somewhat unexpected given the standard-fit panoramic glass roof (the front section tilts and slides, and there's a powered sunblind).

From behind the grippy, flat-bottomed multifunction wheel the driver has clear views in all directions and can see the edges of the bonnet. Both front seats are power-operated and height-adjustable with two-stage heating but the driver gets powered lumbar support and a heated steering wheel.

Sitting dead centre of the fascia is the expected touchscreen that controls all the infotainment features including entertainment and navigation. All switchgear and controls are clearly marked and sited logically, and the five-inch TFT driver's information screen that sits between the white-on-black dials shows a comprehensive amount of driver information from the essential digital road speed readout to the posted speed limit shown adjacent to it (a far better arrangement than having to glance over to the central screen as you have to on many others).

From behind the grippy,
flat-bottomed
multifunction wheel
the driver has clear views
in all directions and
can see the edges
of the bonnet.
Both front seats
are power-operated and
height-adjustable with
two-stage heating but the
driver gets powered
lumbar support and a
heated steering wheel...”
The SatNav's 3D mapping is sharply imaged and provides timely directional guidance and graphic prompts. It's Google-friendly too, and can be programmed in advance via Google's Send To Car app and will also inform you of useful POIs such as restaurants, petrol stations and cashpoints.

Naturally comms are fully up-to-speed with smartphone connectivity courtesy of the NissanConnect Evo set-up that, among other things, lets you access your music and app-driven online services on the go and your Facebook newsfeed and tweets when it's safe to do so.

Another nice touch: traditional climate controls using 'hard' (rather than 'soft' touchscreen buttons) are sited just beneath the main display; lots of drivers will give this a thumbs-up. Plus everything is nicely put together, with high-gloss and carbon-fibre effect inserts and soft-touch trim adding a plush feel to it all.

The driver's life is made easier by hassle-free parking, courtesy of front and rear parking sensors and an Around View Monitor colour camera system that uses four cameras (in the nose, door mirrors, and tailgate) to show a bird's-eye view of what's around the X-Trail. Tekna owners get this supplemented by Intelligent Park Assist which autonomously steers the X-Trail into end-on or parallel parking slots.

While you'll be happy to listen to the standard-fit hifi, which serves up sounds with decent clarity and power, for those with an ear for the finer things in life the optional specially-tuned Bose surround sound system might be hard to resist.

Nice touches abound such as the cupholders that are not only of a generous size, but have their own dedicated air supply to keep drinks warm or cool; and a storage box beneath the armrest between the front seats that's spacious enough to store larger items like your tablet safely out of sight.

Our range-topping Tekna model didn't need any optional kit to impress because it's already got the Nissan lot. In addition to all the items mentioned elsewhere there's auto lights and wipers, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and start (with an engine Start button), USB and Aux sockets, Bluetooth, CD/Radio with DAB, tinted glass (with privacy glass from the B-pillars back), cruise control and speed limiter, electric windows, auto-dimming rearview mirror, powerfolding heated door mirrors (on demand and automatically on locking and leaving), electronic parking brake, 19-inch alloy wheels and a host of safety features.

Range-topping X-Trail models are fitted with a plenty of advanced safety kit, both active and passive, as well as driver 'assists' all working in the background to keep you as safe as can be.

As you’d hope for
in a family-oriented,
off-road-capable SUV,
the X-Trail rides
smoothly even over
rough tracks.
Its independent
suspension delivers a
softer and suppler ride
than you might have
been expecting given its
physical size.
Complementing the
damping is Intelligent
Ride Control — this
allows it to mop up big
‘jiggle’-inducing
undulations including
speed humps...”
For a start there's Intelligent Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Recognition, Chassis Control (Intelligent Engine Brake, Intelligent Trace Control and Intelligent Ride Control), 360-degree cameras with moving object detection, traffic sign recognition, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, driver alertness monitor, and rear cross-traffic alert that warns of approaching traffic when you're reversing out from a parking space.

Also available is Nissan's 'autopilot' ProPilot. This can autonomously accelerate, brake and steer the X-Trail while simultaneously making use of the adaptive cruise control and lane keeping systems to take the stress out of driving in heavy traffic on dual-carriageways and motorways.

There's also all the 'usual' stuff such as adaptive front lighting with Bi-LED headlights (including a turning function) and LED daytime running lights, high beam assist, hill start assist, tyre pressure monitoring, six airbags, height-adjustable front seatbelts, etc.

As you'd hope for in a family-oriented, off-road-capable SUV, the X-Trail rides smoothly even over rough tracks. Its independent suspension delivers a softer and suppler ride than you might have been expecting given its physical size. Complementing the damping is Intelligent Ride Control this allows it to mop up big 'jiggle'-inducing undulations (including speed humps) and maintain comfort and composure by applying discreet engine braking.

In getting the ride right, Nissan's engineers haven't forgotten the handling; it's predictable and reassuring and makes the X-Trail easy to drive. Even keeping up the pace cross-country it feels nicely stable with unwavering traction.

Body lean is controlled enough that quick direction changes don't set any alarm bells ringing or unsettle your passengers, while the ESP and Intelligent Trace Control work unobtrusively in the background to keep it all shipshape. The Trace Control, incidentally, is tasked with sharpening the car's responses by using the brakes to combat understeer through corners, nipping it in the bud before the car runs wide. Talking of which, the brakes, all-disc, provide strong stopping without any drama.

Cornering holds no worries either thanks to the chassis' competence as well as the responsive electromechanical power steering which is nicely in synch with the X-Trail's mass. The result is a wieldy drive that melds refinement with comfort and agility.

All-in-all the X-Trail drives better than you'd expect of a seven-seater SUV, remaining comfortable for its passengers even on rutted surfaces (both on- and off-road) that in some rivals would deliver a teeth-rattling 'massage'.

Two hundred and ten might not be the name of a catchy movie but it is definitely the number to have when it comes to ground clearance. With 210mm between its belly and the ground, the X-Trail is definitely up to going off-piste.

All-in-all the X-Trail
drives better than you’d
expect of a seven-seater
SUV, remaining
comfortable for its
passengers even on
rutted surfaces (both on-
and off-road) that in
some rivals would deliver
a teeth-rattling
‘massage’...”
And 210mm, along with decent wheel articulation, guarantees the X-Trail's ability to, at the very least, cross muddied fields and explore rutted forest trails; all in an easy-going but sure-footed manner. And when coming down treacherous slopes off-road there's extra security from the Hill Descent Control which will 'wind' you down the worst declines in safety.

The X-Trail's 4x4 set-up is an adaptive system so left to its own devices it will automatically send drive to where it will do the most good. Using the selector knob on the central tunnel, the driver can switch between the full-on 4x4 Lock setting or economy-boosting two-wheel drive when 100% of drive torque is put down through the front wheels. Or just leave it in Auto where it's always ready to provide extra grip with a 50:50 front:rear torque-split, both in slippery conditions and also when accelerating hard.

You'll find a lorra legroom in an X-Trail, but even more endearing is that the seating rows are arranged so that the second row is much higher than the first, and the third higher than the second so views out are good wherever you sit; and there are also great views forward through the windscreen. Better still, despite the stepped progression, headroom is equally good in all the seating spots.

Those travelling in the second row are pampered with generously padded seats and adjustable multi-angle backrests, large outer armrests and a big drop-down central armrest that's wide enough and deep enough to turn both outer seats in armchairs. Better still, there's plenty of room above your head and plenty more for knees and feet; and legs can be fully stretched. Add to that heated seats, dedicated climate control air vents, accommodating pockets on the front seatbacks, bright reading lights, cupholders, and usable door bins, and it's home from home.

And if three need to travel side-by-side, a very low floor tunnel makes it more than doable. And, of course, all three rows are bathed in natural light from the panoramic glass roof, which extends all the way back to the second row's headrests and when the sun's too bright there's a one-shot-op sunblind to block its rays. Because the X-Trail's back doors open wide almost to right angles access is excellent, so tricksy chores like installing child seats (and their users!) are refreshingly straightforward.

Big boots are important
and the X-Trail’s
is a big ’un; bigger than
most with the sixth
and seventh seats
folded away. Where it
really trumps its rivals
is when the second row
is folded down too.
Do that and you’ll have a
pretty humungous,
seamless, and all-one-
level, flat-floored loadbay
that will swallow
1,996 litres of cargo and
which will be a big hit
with outdoorsy types...”
If you've paid the extra 660 for a third row you'll get two extra pop-up seats behind the middle row these fold flat into the boot floor when not needed. And to make them more usable, the second row 60:40-split seats slide fore and aft so you can set the most practical mix of load-space and legroom to suit everyone aboard.

Like all third row seats, they're best for youngsters and teens that said, slim adults can not only fit in but travel fairly comfortably for short to medium distances.

Big boots are important and the X-Trail's is a big 'un; bigger than most with the six and seventh seats folded away (in which arrangement there's 565 litres for luggage). Where it really trumps its rivals is when the second row is folded down too.

Do that and you'll have a pretty humungous, seamless, and all-one-level, flat-floored loadbay that will swallow 1,996 litres of cargo and which will be a big hit with outdoorsy types.

Also very welcome is the handsfree fast-acting powered tailgate: you don't even have to bother to open your mouth and say 'open sesame' just waggling your foot under the bumper will do it! For the record, it can also be opened and closed from the driver's seat or via the key-fob.

Boosting the versatility is the ease with which the boot and load bay can be reconfigured to create multiple variations within the load area. And should you need to tow, the 2.0-litre will haul a braked 1,650kg.

Nissan's X-Trail is an appealing all-rounder, offering seating for seven and near-commercial levels of cargo capacity. Beside that it's pleasant to drive, very family-friendly with a likeable, roomy and adaptable interior, and is not afraid to venture off the beaten track. Best of all is that is feels more than able to handle whatever this unpredictable old world can throw at it. ~ MotorBar
.
Nissan X-Trail Tekna dCi 177 4WD Xtronic | 37,410
Maximum speed: 121mph | 0-62mph: 10 seconds | Test Average: 37.2mpg
Power: 174bhp | Torque: 280lb ft | CO2: 162g/km

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