We drive Nissan's newly updated large SUV on Irish roads
Pros: Comfortable, seven seat practicality, sleek looks
Cons: Rivals have better tech, not a true off roader
This is the new Nissan X-Trail and at a quick glance, it could be easily mistaken for the firm’s smaller best-selling SUV, the Qashqai. Majoring in practicality and comfort, the new X-Trail offers a more refined interior and drive than the previous model and it’s also available with seven seats, so it should be more appealing to family buyers. With the Skoda Kodiaq arriving on the scene this summer however, the X-Trail has tough competition to face in 2017. Carzone spent a week with the new X-Trail on Irish roads to see how it shapes up against the best in class.
What is it like?
The new X-Trail looks like a bigger version of the Qashqai+2 (which has been discontinued) and it is more likely to appeal to the masses than before. Gone are the rugged looks of the previous X-Trail in favour of a sleeker Qashqai-like exterior. Entry level X-Trail models are equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels however this is the range-topping SVE, which gets larger 19-inch alloy wheels that really complement its styling. The ‘Amber Metallic’ paint scheme on our test car isn’t to everyone’s taste, but it does help the X-Trail to stand out from the crowd and there is a host of other colour choices to consider.
The interior of the X-Trail feels spacious and practical as you step inside, with large speedo instruments in the dash, clearly laid out controls and sturdy materials throughout the cabin. It doesn’t feel quite as special as some of its rivals in certain areas however, including the presentation of the touch screen infotainment system, which feels a little outdated at times. There is plenty of space on offer to seat five tall adults in comfort, and the boot at 550 litres in size is large enough lots of luggage too. Seven seats are optional and boost the X-Trail’s practicality even further, and it is easy to set the seven seat configuration up quickly.
Choice is limited to one engine in the new X-Trail, a turbocharged 1.6-litre diesel unit that produces 136bhp and 320Nm of torque. Considering the size of the X-Trail, this engine performs well and offers punchy acceleration around town and it also cruises well at higher motorway speeds. In terms of performance with the six speed manual gearbox, 0-100km/h takes 10.5 seconds which is on par with a lot of large SUVs and it’ll go on to an eventual top speed of 220km/h. Both two and four wheel drive versions are available, and we drove the former which should satisfy most buyers as it is the faster and more economical choice. There’s also an optional automatic transmission which is worth considering for those who cover more mileage than most.
Out on the road, the X-Trail offers a very comfortable and quiet drive with little road noise and an accommodating suspension setup that is well-suited to Ireland’s bumpy back roads. Handling isn’t the X-Trail’s strongest attribute with noticeable body roll in tight corners and a small turning circle, but this is to be expected given its size. That said, the new X-Trail feels less like an SUV than its predecessor and more like a car to drive, which makes it better-suited to urban driving.
Prices for the new Nissan X-Trail start from €29,995 for the base 1.6 DCI diesel ‘XE’ model with five seats here in Ireland. Opting for the seven seat version adds €3000, putting the X-Trail 7 Seater is in similar pricing territory the new Honda CR-V. Standard specification is quite good with entry level models getting Bluetooth, Hill Start Assist, 17-inch alloy wheels and a five-inch display screen. Our test car is the highest specification SVE model and boasts Nissan’s Connect system, parking space measurement, intelligent park assist and lots of other smart features, but prices start from €37,350 for this spec.
Carzone verdict: 4/5
With a choice of seven seats, a sliding rear seat bench and mores space on offer than before, the new Nissan X-Trail is a highly practial package. It's one of the more affrodable large SUVs on the market right now and in addition to its smart looks and freshened interior, the X-Trail is quite economical to run, particularly with two wheel drive and a manual transmission. When you compare it against some of the more premium models on the market however, the X-Trail doesn’t seem to offer the same high tech and premium feel and lacks more powerful engine choices. Most buyers won't mind this though and will be pleased with the X-Trail's all-rounding capabilities.
Test Car Details:
Model driven: Nissan X-Trail SVE
Prices from: €29,995
Price as tested: €40,250
Annual Road Tax: €280
Engine: 1598cc four-cylinder turbocharged diesel
Power/Torque: 130bhp, 320Nm
Top Speed: 220 km/h
0-100km/h: 10.5 seconds
Transmission: 6-Speed Manual
Body style: SUV
Boot Space: 550 Litres