rsvoVev6 2023 Nissan X Trail Ti L 1
2023 Nissan X Trail Ti L 1

Nissan X-Trail: Upwardly mobile

Riley Riley

2023 Nissan X Trail Ti L 2

What is it?

In the process of researching this story I came across a review by one of my esteemed colleagues.

Not once did he mention the fact Nissan X-Trail and Mitsubishi Outlander are one in the same car, sharing a platform and drivetrains.

That makes Outlander, the X-Trail’s most direct competitor, or so I would have thought.

Of course they don’t look the same and there are plenty of other differences, but you wouldn’t buy one without checking out the other first.

Then again, the latest X-Trail is probably the pick of the mid-sized SUVs at the moment — and that’s a pretty big call.

2023 Nissan X Trail Ti L 3

What’s it cost?

Prices range from $36,750 for the five-seat, front wheel drive ST up to $52,990 for the top of the range Ti-L 4WD.

While they call it a 4WD, it’s really all-wheel drive, in the sense that it doesn’t have a transfer case or low range gearing like a Patrol.

A seven-seat version of the ST is also available for another $3000 which adds all-wheel drive to the mix.

Special attention has been paid to ergonomics and tactile feel of the switchgear and buttons used in the cabin to lend them a high quality feel.

Research has shown a preference for easy-to-use core functions, so X-Trail features simple, intuitive heating/air-conditioning controls, as well as buttons that govern the central screen functions, such as audio and navigation.

A two-tier centre console provides plenty of space to stash items, with a charge pad in more expensive models for mobile devices.

Standard equipment for the entry model includes cloth trim and air conditioning, with second row air vents.

The driver’s seat has six-way manual adjustment with power lumbar operation.

It rides on 17-inch alloys, with LED head and tail lights, along with auto high beam and dusk-sensing activation plus auto fold, heated exterior mirrors, push-button start, an electric parking brake and rear parking sensors.

By the time you reach the Ti-L (subject of our test), there’s larger 19-inch wheels, tan or black quilted nappa leather, threei-zone climate air, a heated steering wheel, intelligent rear view mirror, matrix 12-element adaptive headlights and a power tailgate with hands free opening.

The entry ST comes with an 8.0-inch infotainment unit that has six speakers and features AM/FM and DAB+ digital radio, wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus four USB ports — two for the front and two for the back.

The touchscreen in Ti-L is 12.3-inches wide, with voice control, built-in navigation, wireless CarPlay, but still wired Android Auto plus 10 speaker Bose audio — to name a few features.

X-Trail scores a full five stars for safety.

Dual front, side and curtain airbags are standard, along with a centre airbag which provides added protection to front seat occupants in side impact crashes.

Autonomous emergency braking (Car-to-Car, Vulnerable Road User, Junction Assist and Backover) as well as a lane support system with lane keep assist (LKA), lane departure warning (LDW) and emergency lane keeping (ELK) and an advanced speed assistance system (SAS) are also standard.

X-Trail is covered by a 5-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty along with roadside assistance for the same period.

2023 Nissan X Trail Ti L 4

What’s it go like?

The styling is evolutionary rather than revolutionary and it is clearly recognisable as an X-Trail, but looks more sophisticated.

Inside, it is a very different story where the car has undergone a complete makeover and looks nothing like the previous model.

Piano black has made way for a classy, dark, textured wood-grained effect, while all four doors get wide pockets that can accommodate 500ml drink bottles.

It feels bigger inside too, although slightly shorter than before (4680mm) with the same 2705mm wheelbase.

At the same time it’s 20mm wider and stands 15mm taller, and somehow they’ve managed to find more rear legroom, with rear doors that open wider for easier access.

Fourth generation X-Trail offers a revised 2.5-litre four cylinder petrol engine with 135kW of power and 244Nm of torque — 9kW and 18Nm more than before.

This will be joined shortly by e-Power hybrid versions, based on a 1.5-litre three cylinder engine, but with more power and torque, available with ST-L, Ti and Ti-L grades.

Available in two- and all-wheel drive configuration, all models are fitted with an Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) along with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters and shift-by-wire technology.

The seats are generous, supportive with a Euro feel reminiscent of a Pug.

Front and rear doors, front mudguards and the bonnet are all made of aluminium and the tailgate has been rendered in a composite material — to reduce weight and lift performance. 

Key aerodynamic features include “3D” tyre deflectors in the lower front fascia and an active grille to control air flow to the engine compartment.

Specially shaped A-pillars and underbody covers manage air flow under the vehicle and a unique “air curtain” directs air from the front to the sides of the vehicle.

In the load area, a clever false floor composed of two panels can be lifted and fixed vertically to separate the load area into two sections.

There’s also under-floor storage for smaller items and room for a space saver spare.

A central console-mounted rotary selector offers five drive modes: Off-Road, Snow, Auto, Eco and Sports.

Fuel consumption is a claimed 7.8L/100km for the Ti-L. 

It takes standard unleaded and we were getting 8.9 from the 55-litre tank after close to 400km.

Maximum braked towing capacity is up from 500kg to 2000kg.

The previous X-Trail offered perky if ultimately uninspiring performance.

Like its predecessor, the ‘all-new’ model is a bit of a mixed bag in this department.

Although the numbers are slightly larger, the naturally aspirated engine lacks torque down low where it is needed and has to be pushed hard to get it going.

This brings on the awful zoominess that we’ve come to associate with CVTs, together with higher fuel consumption.

Off the boil and cruising the open road performance is relaxed, smooth and relatively effortless.

In this context, demanding drivers will most likely find the way the car performs more than acceptable — and really, that’s all that matters.

On the plus side, the ride quality is much improved, with little road noise penetrating the cabin. You’ve gotta like that.

Large, bright, impressive digital displays for the driver and infotainment help the car standout too, with separate controls for most used features.

Of special note, the 10.8-inch head-up display in our Ti-L is one of the few, if not the only example we have ever encountered that is visible through polarised sunglasses.

Yay, team!

2023 Nissan X Trail Ti L 7

What we like?

  • Looks smart
  • Well equipped
  • More refined ride
  • Head-up display that’s finally visible

2023 Nissan X Trail Ti L 8

What we don’t like?

  • Could do with more power
  • Costs considerably more than before
  • Space saver spare

2023 Nissan X Trail Ti L 5

The bottom line?

I still remember driving the first generation X-Trail.

It was surprisingly good off road and a dream to drive compared to the big, clumsy 4x4s that ruled the roost back in the day.

X-Trail was late to the compact SUV party but it was well worth the wait. I really liked the previous model that I drove not so long ago, but this one is so much better it doesn’t bear comparison.

Good work, Nissan!

2023 Nissan X Trail Ti L 6


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Nissan X-Trail Ti-L AWD, priced from $52,990
  • Looks - 7.5/10
  • Performance - 7/10
  • Safety - 8/10
  • Thirst - 7/10
  • Practicality - 8/10
  • Comfort - 7.5/10
  • Tech - 8/10
  • Value - 8/10

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