Nissan X-Trail: It’s catch-up time

2023 Nissan X Trail Ti L AWD 4

What is it?

With more than two decades under its belt and nine-year run of the previous model – pandemic and parts paucity to blame – the X-Trail has been left well trailing its rivals in the mid-size sports utility segment.

With the latest model finally making landfall Down Under, the fourth generation has the task of making up ground on well-established rivals such as Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5, Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson.

Weighing in with six petrol-powered variants in front or all-wheel drive, plus two e-Power hybrid electric models on the horizon – there’s little doubt it means business.

2023 Nissan X Trail Ti L AWD 3

What’s it cost?

New X-TRAIL comes with a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine in front-wheel drive or optional Intelligent 4×4, with all four grades – ST, ST-L, Ti and Ti-L – fitted with an Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission.

Well-equipped from entry-level ST front-wheel drive at $36,750, plus on-road costs, to the range-leading Ti-L AWD, $52,990.

Our test vehicle the Ti-L boasts such luxuries as quilted Nappa leather seat trim, 10-speaker Bose premium audio, built-in rear door sunshades, remote engine start, power tailgate with hands-free opening and heated steering wheel.

The test car paint job turned out to be something of a work of art, the basic white with black highlights really holding the redesigned rear together, giving the vehicle a unique, sharper look than before – Sportage and Tucson take note.

The signature V-Motion grille and double-decker headlights add to the Nissan(ness) of the MY23 model, while two-tone body colours – white and black here – make their Nissan debut.

The SUV rolls on 19-inch alloy wheels.

Ti-L debuts three information displays, which include a 12.3-inch touchscreen, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 10.8-inch windscreen head-up set-up, all presenting vital information in a clear and concise manner not before encountered in a Nissan.

Android Auto is wired but Apple CarPlay not so. There’s USB-A and C ports up front and a wireless charger.

Advanced Nissan Intelligent Mobility safety technology, thinking fast and reacting faster, combines ProPilot semi-autonomous driving, Head-Up Display and a comprehensive suite of active safety systems on hand to intervene in any situation.

This includes automatic emergency braking, cruise control, lane departure warning and assistance, rear cross-traffic alert and reverse auto emergency braking, while ProPilot adds adaptive cruise control.

All X-Trails are covered by Nissan’s 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty and roadside assistance over the same period.

Service packages are available.

2023 Nissan X Trail Ti L AWD 2

What’s it go like?

Launching on a brand-new platform, advancements in equipment and technology abound, especially in the higher grades.

Performance has seen the benefit of extensive work to get the X-Trail back to its spot at the head of the mid-size SUV queue.

The upgraded 2.5-litre petrol engine is designed to put more pep into performance, with another 9kW and 18Nm, bringing output to 135kW/244Nm.

This it does with little noise, vibration and harshness making their way into the cabin.

Fuel consumption on test rose as high as 12.9L/100km in town traffic, while the best recorded was 6.2L/100km on a motorway run.

It’s well within the 7.8L/100km combined claimed by Nissan.

Following a full overhaul of chassis and suspension tuning, the new model has improved on-road ride and handling considerably.

With the new Intelligent 4×4 system designed to react quicker than before, power off road is seamlessly transferred from front to rear wheels to help with stability and traction.

As well as hill descent control, X-Trail Ti-L offers five drive and terrain modes – Auto, Eco, Sport, Snow and Off-Road – accessed by a knob on the centre console.

A spacious cabin is versatile, with sliding second row seats.

Ti-L misses out on an optional third row maximising seating for up to seven, but cargo space benefits here.

Rear doors open wide, allowing easy access.

Despite retaining the same 2705mm wheelbase as the previous X-Trail, there’s more space in the rear, with generous leg and knee room.

Even in the Ti-L, with a panoramic sunroof, there’s no skimping on headroom.

Inside, the vehicle is dominated by black surrounds.

However, brown inserts scattered around the cabin gives the expected gloom a surprising lift.

All-round comfort is optimised with three climate control zones, heated front and rear seats, memory front seating and built-in rear door sunshades.

Storage includes generous cup holders up front, room for big bottles in the doors and a huge central bin.

Under the console is another large tray.

The boot floor is split into two removable panels that lift and slot in vertically to separate and hide items.

It also includes limited under-floor storage for slimmer items.

X-Trail has a temporary spare wheel.

2023 Nissan X Trail Ti L AWD 6

What we like?

  • More pep from upgraded engine
  • Well-equipped from entry-level
  • Paint job a work of art
  • Spacious cabin with sliding second row
  • CarPlay wireless but Android Auto wired
  • Braked towing capacity now 2000kg

2023 Nissan X Trail Ti L AWD 7

What we don’t like?

  • Inside dominated by black surrounds
  • Temporary spare wheel

2023 Nissan X Trail Ti L AWD 1

The bottom line?

Fans of the former best-selling Nissan X-Trail will, no doubt, be glad the mid-size SUV appears to be out of the wilderness.

It’s another matter to see if the new ‘Trail’, in a dense undergrowth of rivals, leads to the success it once had.

2023 Nissan X Trail Ti L AWD 8


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CHECKOUT: Nissan X-Trail: Time for a catch-up


Nissan X-Trail TI-L AWD, priced from $52,990
  • Looks - 8/10
  • Performance - 6/10
  • Safety - 8/10
  • Thirst - 7/10
  • Practicality - 7/10
  • Comfort - 6/10
  • Tech - 7/10
  • Value - 5/10

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