Nissan X-Trail aNissan X-Trail STL 4WD

It costs: $42,202.

It has: A 126 kilowatt 2.5-litre four-cylinder with a continuously variable auto.

We got: 12.4 litres per 100 km in the city, 8.3 in the country. The official combined figure is 8.3.

Consensus: Excellent all-rounder.

There are very few changes in the recently facelifted Nissan X-Trail – the grille a bit different and there’s a new steering wheel inside – and there’s a very good reason for this. It ain’t broke. The X-Trail is Nissan’s star performer in Australia by a country mile and second place goes to the Qashqai, it’s slightly smaller and more lightly-specified sibling. Among compact SUVs the X-Trail is among the top five sellers.

Nissan X-Trail bSo the motor and the continuously variable transmission are the same as last time and so are the underpinnings. This is a good thing because it all works very nicely. The X-Trail is not a brilliant handler but it’s adequate for all but the highly enthusiastic, and the ride is comfortable on all but very trying roads.

It’s endearing point as far as all-wheel-drive models go is that the 4WD mode is selectable, and you can dial in diff locking for extra grip. There’s no low range, but the X-Trail’s system is a step up from the great bulk of its competitors, probably because Nissan has a heap of experience in 4WD. This system gives you as much as you’ll need when you strike slippery dirt roads in the great outback, and the diff locks give you an extra degree of latitude when things get challenging. Or you can select a front-drive only model and save lots of money and a bit of fuel.

The only problem I have with the X-Trail range is that the only manual available is the base model in front drive, where a six-speed is standard. If you want 4WD, a diesel or a little extra equipment you have no choice but the CVT auto, and note here; the CVT works much better with the petrol motor than the diesel. Actually that’s not the only problem, it also comes with a skinny space-saver spare wheel and tyre that may get you by in town but will be far less than ideal for the Big Trip. However there is room in the well for a proper full-size spare.

Nissan X-Trail cOtherwise this is a good thing and nicely thought out. There’s lot of luggage room that can be further improved by sliding the rear seats forward and pushing the backrests upright, or they can be laid down. There’s also a power outlet back there for a fridge. If you want a third row of seats you can have that too, but it’s only for small fry.

The electronics are user-friendly and intuitive and the cruise control is more accurate than most.

Most endearingly, there is a heap of space in here despite reasonably modest exterior dimensions, making this a far less intimidating SUV to drive and park in the city than most.

The X-trail does everything either well or adequately, and there is nothing it does badly. Thoroughly recommended.

Published October 2017


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