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Nissan X-trail: Test Drive Review

Date: 26 May 2014   |   Author: John Mahoney

new Nissan X-Trail

While Nissan's groundbreaking Qashqai gets all the glory with its fancy car of the year awards, it's easy to forget about the other SUV the Japanese brand makes.

For good reason: despite selling a mighty 1.7 million cars worldwide, the Nissan X-trail hasn't been on a fleet manager's radar for years because its emissions were too high and RVs too low. However, it might be worth giving the X-trail another chance soon.

So what's changed? Well, first it's ditched the squared-off Nissan Patrol-inspired looks, instead adopting a curvier face that's lifted straight from the Qashqai.

Better still, it replaces not only the old X-trail but the seven-seat Qashqai+2, so this model is now available with the option of a third row of seats (£700). But the best news is found under the bonnet where a new 130hp 1.6-litre diesel lives. Not only does it average 57.6mpg, it emits just 129g/km of CO2, while even the four-wheel drive version still returns a decent 53.3mpg and emits 139g/km of CO2

Inside is a spacious, comfortable, well-made cabin that shames some of its premium rivals. The second row of seats also slides forward, freeing up valuable knee and legroom for occasional passengers.

Against the clock, the X-trail completes the 0-62mph dash in
11 seconds - that doesn't sound too impressive, but on the road the new engine's useful low-down power (torque) provides brisk performance. 

One small sacrifice for those who tow is that the new, less powerful engine can only tow 2000kg compared with the old car's 2200kg limit.

The X-tronic (CVT) automatic, meanwhile, is good. It's smooth and makes for a relaxing drive, although can feel a little artificial at times compared with a more conventional auto. 

Nissan claims, despite the X-trail being fractionally bigger, it has shaved 90kg off the kerbweight. This should bode well for the driving experience, and the old car's decent ride carries over, but, unfortunately, the new car has lots of body roll and poor steering feel that kills confidence.

At extremes it also lacks some of its rivals' agility. Wind the pace back and the car makes more sense as a quiet, refined, comfortable place to soak up the miles.

The range-topping Tekna will be the most popular trim in the range and comes with 19-inch alloys, roof rails, power tailgate, NissanConnect satnav and internet connection, 360 camera view, LED headlamps, leather seats, blind-spot warning and Driver Attention Alert, plus Park Assist automatic parking.

Overall, the X-trail doesn't drive like the best in its class, but Nissan has done a fine job of giving it a broader appeal. It's now a seriously tempting alternative to an MPV and, thanks to improving RVs and CO2, and a low CPM, it finally makes some business sense.

Nissan X-trail
P11D price £31,510
Model price range £22,995-£31,695
Residual value 39.3%
Depreciat­ion £19,135
Fuel £6979
Service, maintenance and repair £2695
Vehicle Excise Duty £390
National Insurance £3131
Cost per mile 69.0p
Fuel consumption 53.3mpg
CO2 (tax) 139g/km (22%)
BIK 20/40% per month £121/£242
Service interval 12,500mls
Insurance (1-50) group 35
Warranty 3yrs/60,000mls
Boot space (min/max) 445/1982 litres
Engine size/power 1598cc/130hp
Top speed/0-60mph 116mph/11.0secs
On sale July 20


Credible alternative to an MPV, but it doesn't drive like a Qashqai