Test Drive: Nissan X-Trail 2.0 dCi MT image

The second generation of the Nissan X-Trail has been in production since 2008 and with the new model getting ready to storm dealerships in a few months, we have decided to take a trip in the outgoing version, on some steep hills and in deep forests.

Engine and Transmission

The Nissan X-Trail is only offered with a 2.0 liter dCi engine, signed by Renault, which is producing a total output of 150 HP at 4,000 rpm and it has a peak torque of 320 Nm, available at 2,000 rpm. The model we tested came with a six-speed manual transmission, which was sending power to the front-wheel drive or the four-wheel drive, depending on the mode selected. The engine seems underpowered in long drives, with five people in the cabin and the trunk filled with luggage, and you may find yourself shifting from fifth, or even sixth gear, to third gear in order to make a safe overpass.

Fuel Consumption

The official figures given by Nissan stand at 5.9 L / 100 km on the highway, 9.1 L / 100 km in the city and an average of 7.1 L / 100 km. This isn’t very far away from the truth because while most carmakers are trying to achieve their figures in a controlled environment, Nissan has probably used a test track or even the open road. Our weekend-long spin in the Nissan X-Trail showed an average of 10.5 L / 100 km in the city an approximately 6.5 L / 100 km on the highway. We have to mention that the model isn’t equipped with a stop/start so my guess is that the next generation will definitely rival family cars in terms of fuel consumption, even with the 4WD on.

The Ride

The Nissan X-Trail is a surprisingly comfortable SUV. The suspension is good on long trips but when you try to corner it faster than intended, you will notice the springs which are too soft, softer than what Mitsubishi is offering on its Outlander, for example. And speaking of the Mitsubishi Outlander, you will learn to love its suspension system no matter where you will drive it on, as with the X-Trail this will probably make you go mad trying to tame it, but when you will find that right balance, you will be satisfied. The handling is surprisingly good, both on the road and off road and the steering angle isn’t huge either, probably like you would expect it. The front seats are very comfortable but this can’t be said on the rear bench too, because passenger who will be sitting on it will feel every bump in road, for the driver’s amusement most of the times.

Interior Design

The current generation of the X-Trail has been introduced back in 2008 so its dashboard seems a little out of date, but this is an ergonomic vehicle and all the buttons are where you expect them to be. The driving position is good, the front seats offer enough side support and everything works just like it should. You have enough storage spaces in the cabin and one of the biggest glove boxes, which is als cooled, I’ve ever seen. On the corners of the dashboard, there are also two cooled cup holders, and this is a nice tweak. I hope Nissan will keep them on the new generation. The model we tested came with a single-zone AC so if you’re looking to buy an X-Trail, make sure to spend a few euros more on the dual-zone climate control. You also may want the panoramic retractable sunroof, as well as the Bose sound system. The version driven by us also had rear air vents, a feature appreciated by the rear passengers. The third row of seats is perfect for children but don’t try to squeeze an adult there because that will probably be his / her last time when he / she will be travelling with you, so maybe this is an advantage.

Likes / Dislikes

As we said in the first paragraph, we’ve taken the X-Trail a bit off-roading after hearing about its “wonderful” skills which come in handy when you run out of asphalt. True, the Nissan X-Trail is a good off-road vehicle, but not very good, because it doesn’t have a low-range gearbox, so tackling a steep hill with road tires means taking a bite of the brave pill before and hitting the throttle to attack it with enough speed. Another thing we didn’t like were the projector headlights, fitted on the roof rails, which refused to turn on. The suspension system isn’t brilliant either while cornering and we didn’t like the fact that the cameras kept switching off when hitting about 5 km/h. The camera system is really useful while off-roading so Nissan needs to come up with a better system to keep them on, at least until 20 km/h. The hood of the car is too long and tall and it reduces visibility when you’re surrounded by trees and holes, so be careful not to scratch its paint, but if you do, Nissan is offering the Scratch Shield system, which is a protection for the paint which allows it to regenerate in case of small “lines”.

The “likes” part is pretty big and it includes the storage spaces found in the cabin, the huge cooled glove box, the cooled cup holders on the dashboard, the extra two cup holders found near the handbrake lever, the buttons, which are all where you would expect them to be and I think I’ve finally found a vehicle where the rain sensing wipers work. The retractable panoramic sunroof is also a “must” when buying an X-Trail, along with the leather seats, which can be easily cleaned after a short trip into the forest. The six-speed manual transmission is good but you may want to choose the automatic, even if the fuel consumption will slightly increase. Overall, this is a perfect ride for a family, an acceptable price list, good fuel consumption, off-road abilities, a spacious cabin and an attractive exterior design. I can’t wait to see what Nissan is preparing for the next generation, hopefully they won’t “copy” Mitsubishi and roll out a model which is worse than the outgoing one.

The Nissan X-Trail scored a four-star safety rating when it was tested by the EuroNCAP. The model achieved. The driver is vulnerable in the front impact . The overall score stood at 26.59 points out of a possible 37.

Starting price – almost 30,000 EUR
Model tested – just over 35,000 EUR