The Nissan X-Trail was first introduced in the early 2000’s and was certainly not a car favored by the general masses; it looked unappealing, the interior was not a nice place to be and its abilities were questionable (especially with front wheel drive). The only thing it had in it’s favor was the price, it was reasonably cheap.
With time, especially in the UAE, the X-Trail became famous for being used as road-side speed camera vehicles but all that is about to change, entirely! Say a big hello to the all new Nissan X-Trail, and boy is there a lot to talk about.
Before we even jump into the review, a special thanks to Nissan Middle East for the weekend ride and I am definitely glad to see the X-Trail back in action.
Nissan X-Trail Introduction
The 2015 Nissan X-trail comes in a variety of trim models with 2 front wheel drive models and 4 four wheel drive models. This review is of the top of the range, SL 4WD model in Midnight Jade.
The SL 4WD is powered by a 2.5L 4 cylinder engine with 170HP at 6000RPM coupled to a CVTC variable valve system. The top of the range model comes with Nissan’s all mode 4×4-i system capable of keeping the car in 2 wheel drive mode for maximum efficiency, automatic mode where the car switches based on road conditions and a permanent four wheel drive mode for those more demanding situations. The system also comes with a hill decent feature.
In a market with a lot of options for family cross-overs and small suvs, Nissan had to really push the X-Trail to new heights for it to even be considered, and have they pulled it off? Lets find out!
The Nissan X-Trail from the Outside
Without a doubt, the new X-Trail is an upward departure in terms of looks.
The car sits well on the road with a decent height, body kit and a sporty stance, which are things unheard-off on the previous generation. The whole car is re-sculptured with sweeping lines starting from the front fenders going all around to the rear and the new V-Shaped front grill draws lines all the way up to the windshield, this is certainly one of the sleekest vehicles in this segment.
The front of the SL 4WD model comes with an extended body kit, fog lights, LED daylight running lights, Bi-Xenon headlights and a lot of chrome to show people, this is no entry-level player.
The vehicle has 360-degree cameras (The front camera can be seen hidden in the Nissan logo and the side cameras under the side mirrors) and can display the car in a birds-eye-view on the interior display. This helps with maneuvering between obstacles on or off road and while parking. It activates automatically when put into reverse and can be manually selected while driving in low speed with the ability to toggle through a few scenes.
The car is actually quite compact, yet large at the same time and I believe this is felt because of the high roof line. While I have little headroom in some cars, there was miles of head-room in the X-Trail
The rear stance is higher than the previous generation giving the X-Trail a sportier look, more ground clearance and more interior space. There are plenty of chrome accents to highlight the SL 4WD model along with large 18 inch alloy wheels, roof spoiler, and roof rails.
Large windows all around make it an easy car to see out of especially since this vehicle targets families and might be driven often by moms who will need to look over baby seats, luggage and moving kids. Speaking of moms, the Nissan X-Trail comes with remote trunk opening and closing, too.
I personally thing this is a great departure from the previous generation and the car actually looks quite decent. Taking a look at it’s competitors, there are only a couple that actually look decent, and the X-Trail certainly has an undeniable modern look to it.
The Nissan X-Trail from the Inside
If you thought the X-Trail got an upgrade on the outside, wait till you see the inside!
Clearly as can be seen, the new X-Trail pushed the vehicle up to a whole new level. The SL 4WD comes with a full leather interior, Carbon Fiber looking accents, metallic looking finishing, a 7 inch touch screen navigation system and much more!
Starting from the left, the driver has window controls, rear trunk release controls, lighting, on steering controls for the instrument panel computer and radio/phone controls.
Keyless entry means never having to take your key out of your pocket to unlock or start the car.
It is nice to see they wanted to give the X-Trail a little more utilitarian qualities with driving models, hill decent control and then gave one feature back to regular users where the cup holders are actually air conditioned.
The surprises continued once I looked up; the new X-Trail had a full panoramic roof.
There was one more feature that the X-Trail had that really supported it’s cause.. 7 Seats!
Not only that, there is actually a decent amount of storage space behind the third row. Surely, the third row cannot fit an adult, but should be perfectly fine for children but just because the third row is tight, does not mean the Second is tight too, on the contrary, it is very spacious.
There is plenty of space for passengers and a lot of space for storage throughout the car. As for safety, the SL 4WD model comes with two front airbags coupled with side and curtain airbags, Automated Braking Systems, Electronic Stabilization Systems and Brake Assist to ensure the vehicle is always in control and stops with maximum efficiency.
A question a lot of people will ask is the quality. Delightedly, the car was very nice. The leather was decent, all fit-and-finish was of decent quality and although there were some hard and rough materials, it all looks of a higher standard than ever before and feels durable.
There is one flaw I could not overlook, literally, while driving at night
I am not sure if its the angle of the dashboard or of the side window, but the reflection is very strong and was quite irritating while driving at night.
The Nissan X-Trail’s Technology
To start things off, no basics have been ignored. The vehicle comes with plenty of safety features as mentioned above, but also includes a lane departure warning (it beeps when going over a lane with no signal) and a blind spot monitor, and both can be toggled on or off.
The navigation screen is basic Nissan technology as found in other cars of its line up with just the essential features.
Most of the settings are actually in the driver’s instrument panel computer.
Drivers get to see all warnings (open doors, tire pressure, service warnings, etc), trip distance, full settings and drive-train to know how much power is being sent to the wheels.
A compass, active driving aids, fuel economy and remaining range are additional screens available and they can be turned on or off from the settings, and this level of customization is always favorable.
Finally, there is a screen of the vehicle’s top view (used as a screen saver if you will, where no information is displayed), chassis control and average speed. The awesome thing is, you can select the color of the car on the screen to match your car’s color – very geeky.
Overall, if I were to describe the X-Trail in one word, it would be “interesting” and the sole reason why it is interesting is how far it has come from the previous generation in terms of looks, features and quality.
It certainly is not perfect; there is quite a bit of road/tyre noise while driving, it is quite slow with a 0-100 time of around 10 seconds and some hard/rough materials used in the cabin. The dashboard reflection issue was a big one for me personally.
The X-Trail is extremely easy to drive with a super soft steering wheel, highly adjustable seating position, large windows, plenty of technology to assist in driving and parking, and a short list of driving safety aids. The car is definitely suited for families with 7 seats, plenty of storage and room for everyone.
The car is also fuel efficient – I had received the vehicle with a full petrol tank with a disappointing estimated range of 350Kms. Half a tank later, the estimated range was 300Kms and doing the math a full tank could easily serve 500-550kms at a cost of around 75-80AED (estimated)
This is no longer a vehicle to look out for on the side of the road hiding a speed camera, it is now a car to safely drive your family in while being comfortable and light on the wallet. Good job Nissan.