Nissan X-Trail: Peace of mind

2021 Nissan X Trail Ti 11

What is it?

IT must be close on 20 years ago that I drove the first of Nissan’s X-Trail SUVs and I remember being impressed at the time by the rotary knob used to select the various drive options.

It was a very civilised system in an era of floor-mounted levers for 4WDs.

The X-Trail has been a strong and popular medium-sized performer for the brand and is now in its third generation, with a choice of three engines, six-speed manual or auto transmissions, 2 or 4WD and in four levels of spec: ST, TS, ST-L and Ti.

2021 Nissan X Trail Ti 1

What’s it cost?

Pricing is from $30,665 to $45,965, the latter for the top-ranking 4WD Ti, a five-seater with a 126kW/226Nm 2.5-litre petrol four-cylinder mated to a CVT. 

That’s the one we’re checking out here.

There’s not been much changed over previous models, with same twin-cam power plant,  CVT and suspension — but it does have a safety upgrade in its ‘intelligent driver alert’ system, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a new infotainment system with a 7.0-inch touch-screen.

Inside, there are powered and heated front seats as well as heated rear seats, dual-zone climate control, satnav, adaptive cruise control, Bose eight-speaker audio system, a powered sunroof, 19-inch alloy wheels, a power tailgate and auto-levelling LED headlights.

However, that foot-operated parking brake remains. 

I never liked it, but modern-thinking fashionista (and advanced driver) daughter Janine thought it was wonderful.

Other items of note are heated door mirrors and steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, reversing camera and a 360-degree camera, which is especially handy when backing into tight parking spots. 

Roof rails too, but strap anything on to them and your fuel economy goes to hell.

The spacious five-seater also gets a limited slip diff, hill descent control, lane departure and forward collision warning.

2021 Nissan X Trail Ti 3

What’s it go like?

The all-wheel drive system has three modes. You can turn the knob to 2WD which is fine for urban driving and saving fuel, or just leave it in ‘auto’ where it will also run in 2WD until it senses a need to engage the rear wheels for better traction in wet weather or while zipping along twisty roads.

X-Trail is a ‘soft-roader’ so I reckon 99.8 per cent of owners won’t bother with the this ‘lock’ option because you’re surely not thinking of climbing rocks, bush bashing or fording rivers — are you?

Consider those lovely 19-inch alloy wheels, those big outside mirrors and the excellent paint, and common sense tells you to stay on the tarmac or a decent gravel.

The well-proven 126kW/226Nm engine is one of a few sans a turbocharger.

It provides adequate performance and economy, has no problems with steep hills or tight corners, and the same can be said for its accommodation of passengers and cargo.

There’s 565 litres of space in the boot, which expands to 965 litres with the rear seat rests folded down. The back seat is also adjustable. 

The official fuel consumption is 8.3L/100km. We couldn’t complain about the  9.3 we recorded in our week of traversing mainly suburban conditions and 250km of country road.

The only thing we weren’t crazy about was visibility around corners, especially at roundabouts.

Those thick front pillars and big outside mirrors made it difficult to see lane markings.

It comes with a five-year/unlimited distance warranty and five years’ roadside assistance.  

2021 Nissan X Trail Ti 5

What we like?

  • Space
  • Lots of good features
  • Build quality
  • Safety
  • Easy parker

2021 Nissan X Trail Ti 6

What we don’t like?

  • Lack of forward visibility
  • Foot-operated parking brake

2021 Nissan X Trail Ti 7

The bottom line?

A solid vehicle, spacious and comfortable, with time-proven credentials.

The AWD gave extra peace of mind in the copious wet weather we experienced while on test.

2021 Nissan X Trail Ti 4

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Nissan X-Trail Ti, priced from $45,965
  • Looks - 7.5/10
  • Performance - 7.5/10
  • Safety - 8/10
  • Thirst - 8/10
  • Practicality - 7/10
  • Comfort - 8/10
  • Tech - 7.5/10
  • Value - 8/10