We drove Nissan’s new X-Trail around Port Elizabeth and the Baviaanskloof, in the Eastern Cape, at the local launch.
The new X-Trail is a good-looking SUV and comes with a more aggressive-looking, new V-shaped grille – which we find quite agreeable – new integrated foglamps, a shark-fin antennae positioned high on the roof and a new squared-off (D-shaped) steering wheel. There are also new colour options and the choice of 17- or 19-inch alloys and new ‘LED boomerang taillights.’
Our first impression of the interior? Spacious.
We could leave it there, but we will expand on the roominess of the X-Trail, which is impressive, especially at the rear. The second row seems to offer enough legroom for a giraffe. The Tekna derivatives that we drove came with a sunroof too, so we could quite readily imagine a long-limbed mammal sprawled out on the back seat with his head waving about in the breeze through the opening above. In all seriousness, it’s easy to picture a caboodle of kids, even grown-up ones fitting comfortably in this SUV.
The reason for this business-class-like legroom is that the second row of seats can slide forward to create more room in the boot for the five-seater option or to give some legroom for the passengers in the two very back seats of the seven-seat version. The X-Trail stands out in the C-segment as the only SUV offering seven seats.
The Tekna trim gives the two top-of-the-range X-Trails a very sophisticated interior, with leather upholstery and a contemporary design that includes the modern-looking, flat-bottomed steering wheel. The cabin has an all-round classy feel.
The one disappointment, however, is the infotainment system. The screen is a tad small, the graphics rudimentary and the functionality doesn’t give us the impression of being as good as Ford’s Sync 3 or, understandably, as some luxury vehicle’s tech (such as the Jaguar Land Rover’s InControl Pro Touch). Despite not blowing us away, Nissan’s system seems adequate, based on the time we spent with it.
On the up side the X-Trail’s seats are very comfortable and the front two are electronically adjustable to enable you to raise or lower the seat, position it as far back or forward as you would like, tilt it and increase or decrease the lower lumber support. These features combined with nice-to-have extras, like the sunroof with a push-button retractable screen, make the cabin of the X-Trail an extremely enjoyable space in which to travel.
First up we drove the 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol Tekana 4×4 (which produces 126kW and 233Nm) with continual variable transmission. Although CVT is often frowned upon by much of the motoring press – and especially when compared to something as smooth a ZF eight-speed auto transmission – it gets the job done just fine. We stuck to the tar with this variant and it was a comfortable drive, although we could have pushed a bit harder through some of the winding corners, this car lends itself to leisure not sport.
Then we switched over to the 1.6 dCi turbodiesel 4×4 (96kW and 320Nm) mated to a six-speed manual gearbox and headed for some gravel on farm roads in the Baviaanskloof , before a final stint on the highway back to P.E.
The X-Trail’s handling was great with all-wheel drive engaged and the suspension plush enough to absorb the vibrations from the gravelly surface, without being too bouncy when back on the tar. We preferred the manual diesel X-Trail to the petrol CVT. Not only is this plush turbodiesel cheaper than the range-topping petrol model but the fuel economy is also much better.
Other features that impressed us on both the X-Tails that we piloted come as part of Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility or NIM. The around view monitor gives not only a front and rear view from cameras but also shows what is happening from above and directly on each side of the SUV.
When we were driving in rainy conditions, the automatic rain sensing wipers did their job well and the blind spot intervention alerted us as we started moving to the side of our lane to cross into the next lane. We did check our blind spot manually and see the car coming up on our left, but had we not, NIM made sure to alert us.
Some of its other features include lane keep assist, forward collision warning and ‘intelligent emergency braking’ – where the vehicle will apply the brakes for you, if necessary, while in cruise control mode to avoid a collision.
Ideal as a family SUV – even for Fido
This spacious and competitively priced C-Segment SUV that allows you the option of four-wheel drive and a choice of five or seven seats ticks all the boxes as a good value for money buy and comes highly recommended as a good value for money buy.
If you recall, in March Nissan brought out a special edition X-Trail in Britain, known as
Nissan X-Trail 2.0 Visia: R369 900
Nissan X-Trail 2.0 Visia (seven-seater): R374 900
Nissan X-Trail 1.6dCi Visia (seven-seater): R392 900
Nissan X-Trail 2.5 Acenta 4×4: R425 900
Nissan X-Trail 2.5 Acenta 4×4 (seven-seater): R429 900
Nissan X-Trail 2.5 Acenta Plus 4×4 CVT: R444 900
Nissan X-Trail 1.6dCi Tekna 4×4: R457 900
Nissan X-Trail 2.5 Tekna 4×4 CVT: R469 900
The X-Trail will come with a 6-year/150,000km warranty, a 3-year/90,000km service plan and 24-hour roadside assist.