A week with a 2WD diesel Nissan X-Trail Tekna – any good?
23 October 2015
Positioned in Nissan’s model range to take on seven-seater duties now that a ‘+2’ version of the Qashqai is no longer offered, the latest X-Trail is styled leaps and bounds more attractively than the boxy original generation. Looking like an inflated Qashqai is no bad thing and although I’d wouldn’t choose Copper Blaze paint myself, the X-Trail is certainly a handsome family SUV from all angles, with a healthy dose of muscularity about it, and Tekna trim’s 19-inch alloys, chrome roof rails, tinted windows and classy daytime running lights look sweet.
Sitting high up with a commanding view of the road feels great and luckily for X-Trail owners this doesn’t necessitate having to climb in, thanks to the sensibly low ‘hip point’. Just as the new X-Trail’s exterior replaces straight lines with curves, the same is true on the inside, where bags of space is on offer for all seven occupants, with the panoramic roof of Tekna trim making the cabin feel even airier.
Qashqai fans thinking of upgrading to an X-Trail will love the familiar, curvy and reasonably classy dashboard with its touchscreen, logically presented buttons and glossy black elements. The powered boot is handy, the sat nav is one of the easiest I’ve used in a long time, Nissan’s 360-degree ‘around view’ birds-eye monitor makes manoeuvring and parking much easier and it even has impressively large sun visors. As with more or less all cars, some cheap-feeling plastics can be found if you poke around and I perceived the velour trim used for the occasionally uncomfortable seats as old-fashioned, but for families, the large Nissan should prove ideal.
Boot space with all seven seats in place admittedly becomes quite restricted but the two extra seats can actually accommodate medium-size adults - and if they’re folded flat, the X-Trail offers luggage room to rival most comparable SUVs, 550 litres available with five seats in use and an amazing 1,982 litres if you fold all the back seats down. Nissan’s Luggage Board System means there are almost twenty different storage combinations to play with, the boot lip is nice and low and the back doors open impressively widely, benefitting dog owners or those with child seats.
With vital statistics like the aforementioned, the new X-Trail isn’t exactly as light as a feather and the 1.6-litre diesel engine offered produces a modest 130PS, which inevitably leads to it feeling underpowered at times, like when entering a motorway or climbing an average hill. It’s not the quietest engine I’ve come across, either, the clatter in first and second gears never really mellowing as a journey progresses. Still, when you think of the ambitious job it’s been set of hauling around this bulky SUV, it performs well on the whole and is a very pleasant engine for cruising on motorways and open country roads. Aside from some discernible wind noise at faster speeds, it’s a refined SUV overall. Averaging 52mpg after a couple of hundred miles illustrates that it does a good job when it comes to fuel economy, too, proving less thirsty that the Kia Sorento I tested earlier this year, although that was admittedly a 4x4 version.
The X-Trail’s 6-speed manual gearbox particularly impressed me, as frequent gear changes are required to keep the engine happy. The electric steering feels nice and light, making the car easy to pilot around in town, but more feedback on twisty roads would be welcome. The 19-inch wheels may look funky but they make a meal of drains, rough surfaces and potholes, meaning car leasing customers prioritising comfort should look at smaller alloys. As expected, owing to the new X-Trail being a tall car, it leans a bit in corners if you push it hard. Where is really comes alive is on undulating, winding country roads, where it’s a pleasure to drive. For customers concerned about safety, the latest X-Trail incorporates Chassis Control with Active Ride Control and Active Engine Braking, along with Nissan’s Safety Shield Technologies which include Forward Emergency Braking, providing reassurance during the winter months that lie ahead.
Most people are expected to go for front-wheel drive X-Trails, but if the impressive 210mm ground clearance and 350mm wading depth aren’t enough on their own, 4WD is available, and customers can also specify a 1.6-litre petrol engine and/or CVT (automatic) gearbox.
Business contract hire customers will be looking at 23% BIK for the current financial year, as the 1.6 dCi X-Trail emits 129g/km of CO2, but Nissan offering a shorter warranty than Kia and Hyundai doesn’t really figure in the X-Trail comparison equation, as lease vehicles are typically replaced after three years anyway.
A vehicle that will be relevant to a wide variety of people, the new Nissan X-Trail is a very worthy SUV to shortlist. Our business contract hire deals start at £183.99+VAT whilst personal car leasing packages begin at £220.99 inclusive of VAT, making the new X-Trail a rather affordable option.