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The Top Gear car review: Nissan X-Trail

£21,795£32,220
8/10
Overall verdict

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
A good, solid SUV that's more interested in your family than you.

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Our choice

Nissan

1.6 dCi N-Tec 5dr [7 Seat]

£28,650
N/A
58mpg
10.50s
130bhp
129g/km

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.

Driving

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. 

Owning

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.

Highlights from the range

Title 0–62 CO2 MPG BHP Price
The fastest
1.6 DiG-T Acenta 5dr
9.7s 145g/km 45.6 163 £23,595
The cheapest
1.6 DiG-T Visia 5dr
9.7s 145g/km 45.6 163 £21,795
The greenest
1.6 dCi Acenta 5dr
10.5s 129g/km 57.6 130 £25,200

Wildcard

How about something completely different?

Wildcard

7/10

Nissan 370Z

£26,680£36,820
370Z Coupe. For the price of a decently equipped X-Trail, you could get a Nissan with a little more verve. Stop having kids and stop hoarding stuff