The third-gen Nissan X-Trail offers more of the same in a fresh cloak. Watch the first drive video of the Nissan X-Trail, put through its paces by the 4x4 Australia team.
The X-Trail is one of the mainstays of the compact SUV class, even if it has outgrown the segment. This newer, bigger model is available with a choice of petrol or diesel engines, 2WD or AWD, and five or seven seats. The AWD is not offered with seven seats but Nissan execs claim this is what the market wants. Pricing for the petrol AWD, which we’ll concentrate on, starts at $33,980. Diesel engine models won’t arrive until the third quarter of 2014.
When Nissan launched the second-gen X-Trail seven years ago it claimed the practical, boxy styling of the original was so successful it didn’t want to mess with it. So it’s a surprise to see the boxy styling gone for the swoopy more modern look of the third-gen model. Regardless, this should appeal to more buyers. It does however leave the X-Trail looking like so many other cars in its class.
The four-cylinder petrol engine is the carried over 2.5-litre mill making 126kW of power and 226Nm of torque with a fuel consumption rating of 8.3L/100km. It’s backed by a Constantly Variable Transmission that Nissan is calling a next generation CVT. It has seven ‘stepped’ ratios to give a more conventional feeling when accelerating and reduces the engine flare-up evident in earlier CVTs.
AWD comes from the latest generation, single-range All Mode 4x4i system offering 2WD; Auto 4x4 and locked-4x4 operation. Auto 4x4 is front wheel drive biased but directs torque to the rear wheels as low traction roads demand it, while the 4x4 lock splits the torque 50:50 front:rear and only operates below 40km/h.
This power train is adequate, certainly not sporty, but does the job. The engine feels a bit lacking, is harsh when leaned on for overtaking and doesn’t have the grunt a turbo-diesel would offer. The TD, a 1.6L taken from the Dualis, could be worth waiting for.
The CVT is good as far as CVTs go but still not a favourite with us here at 4X4. And, unfortunately it’s the only option in the AWD X-Trail. The AWD system coped well on a short bush track loop on the launch. But, conditions didn’t vary enough to challenge it for traction.
It’s the X-Trail’s functional interior that will be of more relevance to most buyers. It’s loaded with features, has a versatile three-way split back seat and an adaptive storage system in the cargo area. We did try out the third row seat in a 2WD X-Trail and it is very tight and only good for small children. The rest of the interior is comfortable and spacious and offers great vision to the outside though a large glass area and huge front screen. Something missing in many new cars today.
The X-Trail has always been popular in its class – even with growing competition. This new model should ensure that continues, with the up to date styling sure to attract even more buyers.
X-Trail AWD petrol/CVT
X-TRAIL ST 2.5L $33,980
X-TRAIL ST-L 2.5L $39,080
X-TRAIL Ti 2.5L $44,680
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Click here to read the full range review of the Nissan X-Trail