- Variety of available powertrains
- Good fuel economy
- Capable off-road
- Significant body roll in corners when pushed
- Four-wheel drive variants are less common
- Adults may find it tight in the third row of seats
What's the Nissan X-Trail like?
Nissan's X-Trail is a hugely likeable crossover which was only available with the Renault-sourced 1.6-litre dCi 130bhp diesel engine at launch.
But a 2.0-litre diesel with 177bhp, and a 1.6-litre petrol turbo with 163bhp came later, followed by 1.3-litre turbo petrol and 1.7-litre diesel units.
The 1.6-litre and 1.3-litre petrol engines are only available with front wheel drive, while all diesels were available with two or four-wheel drive for more serious off-road work, or to keep going in winter snow and ice.
That said, by far the majority of cars on the used market are two-wheel drive, because the original owners decided they didn’t need greater traction. And of course, the four-wheel drive system costs more in slightly worse economy.
In 2021, the diesel engines and the availability of four-wheel drive were dropped completely, leaving only a single 160bhp 1.3-litre Dig-T petrol option, driving through a twin clutch automatic gearbox.
This reaches 60mph from rest in 11.1 seconds and is rated at 41 miles per gallon. The 1.6-litre petrol has slightly better economy and covers the sprint in about 9.5 seconds.
The 1.6-litre diesel with two-wheel drive takes 10 seconds for the sprint and is rated at 55mpg, while the 1.7-litre, which has 150bhp, takes the same time to get to 60mph and can do 50mpg.
The performance king is the 2.0-litre as you might expect, reaching 60 in 9.0 seconds and yet still capable of 48mpg at the very best.
The engines are smooth and reasonably quiet and, in four-wheel drive versions, power is sent mainly to the front wheels on the road, and the rears are only brought into play when sensors detect loss of traction.
But in heavyweight mud-plugger tradition, they also have a centre differential lock to give maximum grunt when needed in ice and snow or off-road.
The six-speed manual gearbox has a reasonably slick change, helped by a light clutch, and there was also a CVT automatic in earlier models, replaced latterly by a seven-speed twin clutch.
The whole car has a lovely feel, with decent, linear acceleration and excellent comfort over all surfaces. In fact, few others at the price can match it for family comfort.
There was even a seven-seat option, with two extra chairs folding up from the boot floor.
There's quite a lot of roll in the corners when it's pressed, but it still clings on well and never feels unstable.
Equipment and Practicality
Big comfortable seats have loads of adjustment and there's plenty of legroom in the back with rear seats adjustable fore and aft to give more. But the two rearmost seats are only suitable for children, or for adults over short trips.
Safety is excellent in all models, which come with a five-star Euro NCAP rating. All have six airbags, hill start assist, Nissan chassis control – which uses the brakes to control stability, tyre pressure monitors, electronic brakeforce distribution and traction control.
All the models in the range are well-equipped in every other way too, with mid-range N-Tec models including sat nav and parking sensors, as well as an alarm system, heated mirrors, audio remote control, alloy wheels, climate control and an electric sunroof.
Upper models also get heated electric leather seats, powered tailgate, keyless entry and starting and a rearview camera, and may also be fitted with Nissan’s bird’s eye view all round parking camera system, which was an extra.
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The Nissan X-Trail is a highly versatile SUV that offers seating for up to seven people. Its economical powertrains and comfortable interior make it a top choice for long family trips on the road.