13 July 2007

X-tra large

New Nissan X-Trail is bigger and more powerful. Still a bit familiar, though

Nissan X-Trail

Nissan says its all-new X-Trail was restyled on the principle of 'evolution demanded by the customer'. But given the gentle tweaks to the SUV's appearance, it looks more like it's been styled on the principle of 'let's fatten it up a touch and get down the pub'. 

While it's bigger in every direction than its predecessor (it's still only a five-seater, though), the X-Trail isn't breaking much ground in the looks department.

But no matter, for behind the still-familiar face the X-Trail has had quite a shake-up, most notably a pair of cleaner, greener turbodiesels - both versions of the two-litre engine already found in the Qashqai.

The 2.0dCi engine fits the X-Trail in 148- and 167bhp guises, while petrol duties are taken care of by 2.0- and 2.5-litre motors. All are mated to a six-speed manual as standard, although there's the option of an auto if you like that sort of thing. 

The X-Trail should do the job on the dirty stuff, thanks to a pair of nifty acronyms: Uphill Start Support (USS) and Downhill Drive Support (DDS). 

The first locks the brakes on slopes above 10 degrees to prevent the X-Trail slipping backwards, while the second uses the anti-lock brakes to maintain a descent speed of 5mph allowing the driver to concentrate on steering. Well, steering and spotting the tiny alterations on the new model.

Expect prices a couple of hundred pounds above the outgoing X-Trail when it arrives in the UK in early September.


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