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The Top Gear car review: Nissan X-Trail
For:Commanding driving position, big inside, practical and good value for money
Against:Not the pointiest thing to whirl up a road, diesel isn't great
1.6 dCi N-Tec 5dr [7 Seat]
No pretensions, plenty of kit as standard, decent price: what’s not to like?
Coming soon to an environmentally friendly driveway near you. Well, just as soon as Nissan actually makes it.
This isn’t meant to sound at all spoilt-brattish, but the Nissan X-Trail we’ve driven here is simply a bit too new. It’s the 148bhp 2.0-litre...
What we say:
The new X-Trail is softer and more sophisticated. Less rugged, but more family-friendly
What is it?
It’s essentially a beefed-up Qashqai, and not just because it bears a strong family resemblance to Nissan’s runaway breadwinner. No, both cars share the same platform. So the similarities are more than skin deep, though the X-Trail’s skin is stretched a bit further. It’s noticeably higher and longer, with an optional row of third seats. This of course, means it replaces the Qashqai+2 as Nissan’s seven-seat SUV. Add to that the option of four-wheel-drive and what you get is a full-size, family-orientated SUV that’s happy to get its shoes muddy if the need arises.
Ah yes, about that ‘family-orientated’ bit. It’s not the kind of car you while away days dreaming about driving up the Furka Pass. It’s very comfortable, with a soft, supple ride. That’s good. The steering however, is light – bordering on lifeless – allied to noticeable body roll and some understeer to top it all off. The 4WD system is front wheel drive for most of the time, calling in the rear when things get hairy up front. So its useful in some mud, but overall is more interested in a calm journey than hot laps around the ‘Ring. In a family SUV though, that’s fine.
The only engine on offer at the moment is a 1.6-litre diesel with 128bhp, which is a mixed blessing. It’s coarse under acceleration, with a very narrow power band, but once settled it’s not too bad. There’s enough clout to get you from A to B, but never the sense the engine is particularly happy taking you there. It does, however, emit just 129g/km of CO2.
On the inside
With that high roofline and extra girth, it looks huge. And for the most part it is, though the rear headroom isn’t quite as commodious as the roofline suggests. Spend £700 and you’ll get a third row of seats, while the boot floor flips and folds into nine different positions, underneath which sits a bonus storage area.
And gone are the tacky plastics and boring dash of old, and in sweeps a more inviting cabin. Invariably the more you spend the better it gets; a touchscreen with Google connectivity is optionable.
Prices start from just over £23k, which means you get a lot of car for your money. Then there’s the claimed 57.6mpg you’ll get from that clattery ol’ engine and low CO2 figure which means for the first year of ownership you won’t pay anything (it’s £110 a year after that). Nissans are generally built to survive most things the world can throw at them, though after three years it’s likely to be worth less than half of what you originally paid. Bear that in mind when you choose a spec and option it.