Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering

Good Launched in Australia in October 2007, the second generation Nissan X-Trail retains the boxy, semi-tough looking lines of its predecessor. The longer body of this X-Trail also equates to more interior space. Compared to the first generation model Nissan have thankfully moved the driver’s instrument dials from the unusual central position to the usual behind the steering-wheel spot – and it looks much better. The option of a diesel engine arrived in mid 2008, with the mid-life facelift following in September 2010. This update brings more striking front-end styling to the exterior (we like the new ‘X’ theme design touch) and a greater focus on improving the finish of materials inside.
Not so good It’s as though the designer looked at the previous model and just exaggerated the existing shape – we liked the previous X-Trail design but expected more from an all-new model (however, in Nissan’s defence their own market research told them that existing X-Trail owners love the boxy shape).
Interior and Styling

Interior and Styling

Good Commanding seating position for the driver with good all 'round visibility and all the control knobs are nearby and logical to use. Plenty of storage compartments for all occupants, plus sufficient (just) space for those in the second row. These seats can fold in a 40:20:40 configuration, any of the 3 seats can be folded flat into the floor to create a useable load space complementing the already enormous boot! We like the useful heavy-duty plastic storage compartment under the boot floor (perfect for the wet bathers or a dirty bag of mulch). Sept 2010 facelift see’s the steering now adjust for both rake (up and down) and reach (in and out) so it’s easier to get comfortable behind the wheel. All grades also get a clearer to read instrument cluster with larger dials for Nissan’s own Vehicle-Information-Display trip computer, a heated and cooled glovebox, seat trims of a higher quality, and new silver highlights.
Not so good It still doesn’t feel overly luxurious inside, Nissan have gone for function over class (however this is not necessarily a negative as just one look at the exterior styling tells you this is a family friendly product). The driver’s seat lacks the support required to hold you in when going around corners with zest.
Performance

Performance

Good The X-Trail is available with two four-cylinder engines. The 2.5L petrol produces a still competitive 125kW of power and 226Nm of torque matched to either a six speed manual or a CVT transmission. The 2.0L turbo diesel offers a very healthy 127kW and 360Nm with the six speed manual but a little less power and torque with the six speed automatic transmission. We found the 2.0L Turbo Diesel to have little turbo lag and plenty of mid-range power - match it with the 6-speed auto and you'll find you've got a nice combo!
Not so good The X-Trail looses’ power (- 17kW) and torque (- 40Nm) when the diesel is matched with the auto, however, it's not lacking compared to key competitors - it's just a shame... Also, the Turbo Diesel is a touch noisy...
Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

Good Relatively low levels of road noise enters the cabin – a significant improvement over the previous model. The high-tech off-roading features, such as hill-descent control and hill-start assist, help in tricky 4x4 situations. Nice one, Nissan.
Not so good Uninspiring handling with too much body-roll for spirited on-road driving - you can thank the 'comfortable' soft suspension for that (there's a negative for every positive, sometimes). We’d welcome more feedback from the new electronic steering too.
Buying and Owning

Buying and Owning

Good The X-Trail is good value for money as it has high levels of standard features and ticks the necessary 'active' and 'passive' safety boxes. It comes with a full-size spare as standard - which we value for long-haul drives. The Turbo Diesel was relatively fuel-efficient before and from September 2010 is even more so – the automatic’s official combined fuel economy was 8.1L per 100kms, it’s now 7.4L.
Not so good When you've got the auto Turbo Diesel you miss out on the manual’s two-tonne towing capacity. The top-dog Ti and TL grades feature keyless engine starting (from September 2010), however the ST grade does without this very practical feature.