Nissan X-Trail: Ambition has its price


What is it?

There’s one for every occasion, or so Nissan seems to think. It’s been close on 20 years since the X-Trail arrived, and, indeed, it was one of the earliest of the now super-popular SUVs.

It’s changed a lot too, from the box-styled compact of 2000 to what is now, a rather stylish mid-sized SUV — and if it’s your cup of oolong, well you can choose a model that should meet your every need.


What’s it cost?

They come in five grades — ST,  ST-L, TL, TS and Ti — with petrol or diesel power, two- or four-wheel drive, a few with manual six-speed tranny, the rest with CVT, and prices ranging from $28,490 to $48,040. 

Do the math and you’ll see you can choose from 28 different models.

Ours was the top of the petrol Ti, priced at $44,790.

It drives the 19-inch alloy wheels via a smart all-wheel-drive system, and you decide which wheels to drive.

Twirl a neat rotary dial on the console to choose from front-drive 2WD, or Auto, which sends torque to whichever wheels (may) need traction, or Lock, which powers all four wheels while you’re in kangaroo country, and reverts to Auto mode once you exceed 40km/h.

Come to think of it, the X-Trail was among the first to have that electronic dial to select the drive mode. Before that, there used to be cumbersome levers sticking up from the cabin floor of most multi-drive mode vehicles that needed to be manipulated to clunk your choice into place.

However, there’s a difference between a trail as in X-Trail, and track, as in Tanami.

While the X-Trail Ti will happily traverse farm and country dirt roads, it does not have low range 4WD.

Nay, it’s too sophisticated for that sort of nonsense, which applies only to about five percent of 4WD owners, primarily ‘roolly serious’ people, like the goons you see on the BCF television ads. 

Besides, you don’t want to go and put scratches on that glossy paint, the shiny wheels, big mirrors or chrome body strips.  

And you certainly don’t want to go into Deliverance territory with a spacesaver spare wheel.

What you get for your money in the Ti includes very good accommodation via heated,  powered and bolstered front seats, leather trim, reversing camera, a heated steering wheel, heated back seats, 7.0-inch touchscreen, big sunroof, digital radio, satnav, dual-zone climate control, LED adaptive headlights, LED tail lights and roof rails.

It also has a magpie’s 360-degree view camera in lieu of front and rear parking sensors.

For audio fans, yay, there’s an eight-speaker Bose noisebox, no less. 

The very spacious five-seater has loads of room for knees, legs, elbows, heads and the cargo region is also most accommodating, with 565 litres of boot space, expandable to a mammoth 945 litres if you whack the back seats down and use the two-level boot space.

As well, the electric tailgate has motion-sensing operation.

Naturally there’s a lot in the way of onboard storage in the console, glovebox and door pockets plus those seemingly essential cupholders.

You can also plug in your electronic whatnots front and rear.


What’s it go like?

Driving the vehicle is a 126kW/226Nm 2.5-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine that gives okay performance, but gets quite raucous if asked to lift its pace from trot to gallop.

The CVT was pretty good, though.

Visibility was fine, except the large outside mirrors blocked a sizeable chunk of the three-quarter forward view.

Also, the 19-inch alloys while looking really good, do not give the world’s most comfortable ride and an item I positively disliked was the foot-operated parking brake. 

It might be fine for Jake the Peg, though.  

Fuel consumption depends on many factors, among them how heavy or light a foot you have, whether you’re a city commuter or country driver and the type of terrain you cover.

If you’re in Auto mode and run in 4WD, it will naturally need more fodder than a steady run on a country road.

We did our usual mix of conditions and ended up with an average of 8.7L/100km, which we thought was quite impressive.

The X-Trail Ti comes with a lot of the safety guff of the times, including Auto Emergency Braking in case you’re asleep at the wheel and other electronics such as rear cross traffic alert, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control.

All new Nissans now have a 5-year unlimited distance warranty and five years of 24-hour roadside assistance.


What we like?

  • Handsome lines
  • Selectable drive modes
  • Lots of safety stuff
  • Long warranty
  • 360-degree camera
  • Spacious interior


What we don’t like?

  • Awful parking brake
  • Spacesaver spare
  • Big outside mirrors
  • Could do with more sound isolation


The bottom line?

The X-Trail is a proven machine, but the Ti seems to have an ambitious price tag.

Maybe take a look at one of the slightly lesser-spec’d models, perhaps one with 17-inch alloys?


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Nissan X-Trail Ti, priced from $44,790
  • Looks - 8/10
  • Performance - 7.5/10
  • Safety - 8/10
  • Thirst - 8/10
  • Practicality - 8/10
  • Comfort - 8/10
  • Tech - 7.5/10
  • Value - 7/10

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