Nissan X-Trail: Not quite Goldilocks


What is it?

The 2020 spec Nissan X-Trail looks looks like a slightly dehydrated version of the Pathfinder — or perhaps a slightly bloated Qashqai.

By that I mean that Nissan has very successfully established a family look for their SUVs. In profile and from any quarter, the trio are carbon copies of each other — bar their size.

This places X-Trail in a commanding position in my opinion. It’s not too big and burly (Pathfinder) and has the room that Qashqai doesn’t — but is it the porridge for Goldilocks?

In a range of six the Ti sits second from the top.

That means there is plenty of choice below,  with the ST, ST-L, TS, and N-Sport continuing Nissan’s hodgepodge way of naming.

Above Ti is the TL with two capitals.

A limited run N-Trek based on the ST-L has also just been released.


What’s it cost?

Ti is listed at a reasonable $44,490 starting price with premium paint at $695.

Immediately this stands out as putting the Ti well into a competitive mode.

That signature Nissan V grille starts the party, with arrowhead LEDs either side flanking the headlights. Buried, and I mean buried in the apex of those arrowheads are the tiny indicator lamps.

These barely stand out looking at it from the front and looking at it from a distance of 20 metres.

Although Nissan isn’t alone in minimising the size of these, X-Trail’s are well up there as the most invisible.

Each end is joined by that trademark sinuous curve, while elegantly styled flanks wrap 225/55 19 inch wheels, and the rear has a powered tailgate.

The vehicle as supplied is a five-seater.

Inside and the centre stack grabs attention for being less busy than the Pathfinder’s overblown setup.

The surrounds are a piano black, and have a balanced look sitting inside the dash that has the same gentle curvature as the sides of the car.

There is a CD player and DAB audio, but the touchscreen is dull as dishwater to look at.

And from the “Go Figure” basket, the app screen allows a connected smartphone to access a certain social media site and a certain search engine site.

The front pews are heated and, in a nice touch, the rear seat has a heating element as well.

Cooling? Umm . . . To compensate, the rear seat passengers do have air vents and a pair of USB ports mounted at the end of the console.

There is no problem with room for front and second row passengers, with plenty of leg, head, and shoulder room. Head room is impressive given a full length glass roof is fitted to the Ti.

Again, no problems in the safety stakes, with Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection but not cyclist aware.

Blind Spot Alert, Rear Cross Traffic, Lane Departure Warning and Rear Park Assist sensors make the Ti a pretty safe bet.

Warranty is five years with unlimited kilometres, while service costs are locked by Nissan.

Put in your VIN number and the website confirms price.


What’s it go like?

Bluntly, it’s nothing spectacular.

Power is sourced from a 2.5-litre petrol engine, driving either the front or all wheels (via a console mounted dial) with a CVT in between.

The four cylinder engine produces 126kW of power and 226Nm of torque at 4400rpm, and it’s this torque figure that is of concern.

In comparison, MG’s HS 1.5-litre petrol turbo delivers 250Nm at the same point.

Because it’s a not turbocharged, the X-Trail’s engine requires a slow but progressive build up, and this brings with it slow but progressive acceleration as a result.

The CVT is one of the better of its type, with a sense of shifting quicker.

There was still that feeling of power being sapped, but not as much as others we’ve tested.

Overtaking was also okay, with the CVT dropping back relatively quietly — but again that lack of torque was obvious.

However, it makes for an ideal highway cruiser.

It’s superbly relaxed, geared to sit under 2000rpm on the freeway, and the fuel economy figures reflect this.

On our typical 70/30 urban/highway split, we saw a final average of 8.3L/100km — yet sub-sevens when loping along in cruise mode.

The steering was notable, as it is possible to tell the difference between front and all-wheel drive.

There was load on the steering wheel in just two wheel drive, but when engaging all-wheel drive there was a subtle but noticeable shift to the rear.

Interesting too, that the X-Trail showed 4WD in the driver’s display when selecting Auto, whereas the Pathfinder doesn’t.

Braking and ride quality are en pointe with a natural feel to the stoppers, and a beautifully sorted combination of suppleness and control underneath.


What we like?

  • Well priced for feature level
  • It’s just the right size for the family in five-seat specification
  • Neutral handling and ride does nothing wrong


What we don’t like?

  • Touchscreen needs a makeover (and quickly)
  • Lack of torque lowers the dynamics


The bottom line?

X-Trail is a decent, competent, and family suitable vehicle.

The Ti is decently priced, decently spec’d, rides well enough for the average driver — but in 2.5-litre petrol form lacks the torque the chassis deserves.

It’s not quite the Goldilocks car of the Nissan family, but neither is it far away from being just right.


CHECKOUT: New Z. Now you’re talking, Nissan!

CHECKOUT: Nissan Qashqai: The Goldilocks of SUVs


Nissan X-Trail Ti, priced from $44,490
  • Looks - 7.5/10
  • Performance - 7/10
  • Safety - 8.5/10
  • Thirst - 7/10
  • Practicality - 7.5/10
  • Comfort - 7.5/10
  • Tech - 7/10
  • Value - 7/10