2017 NISSAN X-TRAIL ST-L REVIEW

Nissan_X-Trail_frontThe X-Trail is a more than able soldier for Nissan accounting for most of the manufacturer’s sales in this country last year and the latest nip and tuck is likely to keep that momentum going.

The updated model is offered with two petrol engines, with a diesel on its way, in manual or automatic, five or seven seats and two-wheel or four-wheel drive. You clearly won’t be short on choice then.

Nissan X-Trail now also boasts a raft of new features without Nissan tinkering with the price. The ST-L we tested features a 7.0-inch touchscreen, keyless entry and start, auto lights, power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control and rear privacy glass as a start. You have to opt for the range topper should you have a panoramic sunroof, 19-inch alloys and heated rear seats in your sights.

Warranty is three years or 100,000km, not the best in class, with service intervals at 12 months/10,000km.

Nissan_X-Trail_rear

STYLING
Released in 2014, the Nissan X-Trail is ageing well and holds its own in the looks department against fresher, more aggressive competitors. A new grille, revised lights front and rear and updated alloys mark the limits of the exterior changes on this X-Trail.

Interior changes are also limited, with a flat-bottomed steering wheel the most noticeable of the updates. Our mid-range ST-L featured better quality materials, double-stitched vinyl inserts and leather trim seats in a cabin that felt roomy and homely but robust enough to suit the demands of a growing family.

Families like having seven seats and the X-Trail is one of the few mid-sized SUVs that currently offers that delight.

INFOTAINMENT
The ST-L gets a 7.0-inch colour touchscreen with satellite navigation and digital radio with six-speaker audio, USB and Aux input and Bluetooth connectivity. The system feels nicely integrated, is simple to navigate and quick to respond with a clear new graphics package.

No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto capability, though, which can be annoying.

Nissan_X-Trail_interior

ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
Our test car was powered by Nissan’s stalwart 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine paired with a hard-working continuously variable transmission. The combination is good for 126kW of power and 226Nm of torque which is particularly useful around mid-range.

There is also 2.0-litre unit (106kW/200Nm) that does duty in the base model X-Trail ST and is partnered with a six-speed manual.

Buyers will soon be able to choose a 130kW/380Nm 2.0-litre diesel offered in 4WD only.

SAFETY
The X-Trail already claimed good safety package that included six airbags, electronic traction and stability control, seatbelt pretensioners and reversing camera.

Nissan X-Trail ST-L is further equipped with autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert.

DRIVING
A good driving position easy to achieve and the heated front seats comfortable and fairly supportive. Storage options are available for all three rows and include cup and bottle holders while all passengers can access the climate control vents too.

Instruments are simple but practical. Some people may be critical of the foot operated parking brake, popular in the American market, but we don’t mind it.

While the second row (which slides forward and backwards) is undeniably spacious with oodles of head and leg room, the third row is a temporary feast and best suited for occasional use and preferably where children are involved.

The boot in the seven-seater loses some of the space that makes the five-seater X-Trail so attractive but manages to give it a good bash with a very usable 445-litres growing to 825-litres with the second row folded flat.

Nissan has not tinkered with anything under the skin of this X-Trail so retains the confident, composed ride that has served it so well to date. The X-Trail is an everyday warrior, competently going about the task at hand with little need for fanfare or concern.

Still, ride quality is good with the X-Trail’s suspension making quick work of all but the worst bumps, it is predictable through corners, easy to manoeuvre and the steering is light and accurate although a tiny bit more feedback wouldn’t go astray.

The engine is willing and responsive with enough low down torque and mid-range power to keep the CVT’s at times whiny upper band on the back burner. But to be honest it is sometimes let down by an ageing engine which may get the job down but can grumble like an old man disturbed from his afternoon nap while doing it.

The X-Trail is refreshingly light on the fuel consumption despite its size, with our week using 8.6L/100km which is close enough to the official 8.1L/100km to keep me interested.

SUMMING UP
It is easy to see why the Nissan X-Trail is such a firm favourite with families, the combination of space, safety, practicality and features making it a tough offer to pass up. While this update is hardly pushing the boundaries, it adds substance where it counts and helps the X-Trail hold its own in a class that is bursting at the seams with over-achievers.
AT A GLANCE
Nissan X-Trail ST-L 2WD pricing and specifications:
Price: from $36,590 (plus on-road costs)
Engine: 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol
Output: 126kW at 6000rpm and 226Nm at 4400rpm
Transmission: CVT automatic, FWD
Fuel: 8.1/L100km (ADR Combined)
Warranty: Three years 100,000 kilometres
Safety Rating: Five Star ANCAP

WHAT WE LIKED:
Good value
Spacious interior
Inclusions

WHAT WE DIDN’T:
Ageing engine
Cheap plastics in some parts of cabin
No Apple CarPlay/Android Auto

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