Nissan X-Trail has been a popular 4WD / SUV in Australia for many years. It is well built
and has a very good reputation for reliability.
We will review models from the second generation, launched in November 2007 onwards.
These were larger than their honourable ancestors and can carry four adults in comfort.
Three children and two parents is a typical load.
Those with seven seats, sold from the third generation in 2014, are pretty cramped in the
back and are really only good for the kids. In fact, kids love them as the further away they
can get from mum and dad the happier they are…
Luggage space is excellent thanks to the squared-off rear end.
Though not really a tough 4WD Nissan’s second-generation X-Trail can tackle rough trails
better than most in this class. It uses an ‘intelligent’ four-wheel drive system called All
Two-wheel drive models (front wheels) obviously should stick to sealed roads or modest
On-road, the X-Trail handles well for its class. It’s no sports machine but is stable and
predictable. Obviously, it doesn’t have the same safety in corners as low-slung passenger
cars, though electric aids will keep you out of trouble if you’re over ambitious.
In September 2010 Nissan toughened up the look of X-Trail by giving it a new frontal look
along the theme of big brother Nissan Patrol. It has a slightly wider wheel track to further
aid stability and to add to the hard-edged off-road look.
Changes inside included easier to read dials and the introduction of Bluetooth connectivity.
A redesign of the seats makes for slightly more legroom in the rear. Legroom was already
good so this made them even more comfortable.
The third generation, imported from April 2014 moved it more to the family wagon than the
part-time 4WD segment it had previously occupied. Ground clearance and approach /
departure angles were all reduced so it’s less use off road. This may actually be a benefit if
you’re buying a used one as there little likelihood that it’s been off road.
May 2017 saw a facelift off the X-Trail as well as added technology and improved
refinement. The 1.6-litre turbo-diesel was replaced by a 2.0-litre, adding significantly to the
grunt on offer.
Most Australian imports of the X-Trail have a big 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine.
Turbo-diesel units with 2.0-litre and 1-6-litre capacities were sold. The 1.6 has more
performance than you might expect but the 2.0 would be our choice.
Models covered here had a six-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission. The
latter has preset speeds should the driver disagree with the computer’s decisions and want
to choose their own ratios.
Nissan X-Trail is relatively easy for the home mechanic to work on, safety-related items
should be left to the professional mechanic.
There are plenty of Nissan dealers throughout Australia, even in remote areas. Not all
dealers in the outback will have parts for an X-Trail in stock, but should be able to get them
within a few days.
Insurance costs are about average for this class. If shopping around, make sure you are
comparing apples with apples.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Look at the underside of the body and mechanical components for signs of damage, or
sand or salt encrustation.
Examine the body sides for scratches that probably mean it’s had some real off-road use.
Get a quote from a panel beater as some apparently minor work could be pretty
Check the interior for signs of water and/or mud stains, don’t forget to look for damage to
the carpet in the load area.
Make sure the engine starts easily and doesn’t hesitate when asked to accelerate
suddenly. Ideally, starting should be done with the engine completely cold.
Manuals that are noisy and and/or sticky in their changes may be on their last legs.
Check the clutch doesn’t slip when you suddenly accelerate hard.
The CVT automatic reacts promptly to hard acceleration and when you start to climb steep
hills irritating way. If it doesn’t feel right have an expert try it out.
Budget on spwnding from $3000 to $5500 for a 2007 Nissan X-Trail Ti; $6000 to $10,000
for a 2008 TL; $9000 to $14,000 for a 2011 Ti or a 2014 ST; $11,000 to $16,000 for a
2013 TL; $14,000 to $20,000 for a 2015 ST-L; $16,000 to $22,000 for a 2016 ST N-Sport;
$19,000 to $27,000 for 2017 ST-L; $23,000 to $31,000 for a 2018 Ti; and $28,000 to
$37,000 for a 2020 Ti.
CAR BUYING TIP
If you feel that an SUV or 4WD has been in hard conditions either haggle the price way
down – or simply pass it up and find one that has always been on sealed roads.
RECALLS: To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at: