In the process of researching this story I came across a review by one of my esteemed
Not once did he mention the fact that Nissan X-Trail and Mitsubishi Outlander are one in
the same car, sharing a platform and drivetrains. That makes Outlander, the X-Trail’s most
direct competitor, or so I would have thought.
Of course, they don’t look the same and there are plenty of other differences, but you
wouldn’t buy one without checking out the other first. Then again, the latest X-Trail is
probably the pick of the mid-sized SUVs at the moment — and that’s a pretty big call.
The styling is evolutionary rather than revolutionary and it is clearly recognisable as an X-
Trail, but looks more sophisticated.
Inside, it is a very different story where the car has undergone a complete makeover and
looks nothing like the previous model. Piano black has made way for a classy, dark,
textured wood-grained effect, while all four doors get wide pockets that can accommodate
500ml drink bottles.
It feels bigger inside too, although slightly shorter than before (4680mm) with the same
At the same time, it’s 20mm wider and stands 15mm taller, and somehow, they’ve
managed to find more rear legroom, with rear doors that open wider for easier access.
Prices range from $36,750 for the five-seat, front wheel drive ST up to $52,990 for the top
of the range Ti-L 4WD.
While they call it a 4WD, it’s really all-wheel drive, in the sense that it doesn’t have a
transfer case or low range gearing like a Patrol.
A seven-seat version of the ST is also available for another $3000 which adds all-wheel
drive to the mix.
Special attention has been paid to ergonomics and tactile feel of the switchgear and
buttons used in the cabin to lend them a high-quality feel.
Research has shown a preference for easy-to-use core functions, so X-Trail features
simple, intuitive heating/air-conditioning controls, as well as buttons that govern the central
screen functions, such as audio and navigation.
A two-tier centre console provides plenty of space to stash items, with a charge pad in
more expensive models for mobile devices.
Standard equipment for the entry model includes cloth trim and air conditioning, with
second row air vents.
The driver’s seat has six-way manual adjustment with power lumbar operation. It rides on
17-inch alloys, with LED head and tail lights, along with auto high beam and dusk-sensing
activation plus auto fold, heated exterior mirrors, push-button start, an electric parking
brake and rear parking sensors.
By the time you reach the Ti-L (subject of our test), there’s larger 19-inch wheels, tan or
black quilted Nappa leather, three-zone climate air, a heated steering wheel, intelligent
rear-view mirror, matrix 12-element adaptive headlights and a power tailgate with hands
X-Trail is covered by a 5-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty along with roadside assistance
during this period.
The entry-level ST comes with an 8.0-inch infotainment unit that has six speakers and
features AM/FM and DAB+ digital radio, wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus four
USB ports – two for the front and two for the back.
The touchscreen in Ti-L is 12.3-inches wide, with voice control, built-in navigation, wireless
CarPlay, but still wired Android Auto plus 10 speaker Bose audio — to name a few
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
Fourth generation X-Trail offers a revised 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with 135kW
of power and 244Nm of torque – 9kW and 18Nm more than before.
This will be joined shortly by e-Power hybrid versions, based on a 1.5-litre three-cylinder
engine, but with more power and torque, available with ST-L, Ti and Ti-L grades.
Available in two- and all-wheel drive configuration, all models are fitted with an Xtronic
CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) along with steering wheel mounted paddle
shifters and shift-by-wire technology.
X-Trail scores a full five stars for safety. Dual front, side and curtain airbags are standard,
along with a centre airbag which provides added protection to front seat occupants in side
Autonomous emergency braking (Car-to-Car, Vulnerable Road User, Junction Assist and
Backover) as well as a lane support system with lane keep assist (LKA), lane departure
warning (LDW) and emergency lane keeping (ELK) and an advanced speed assistance
system (SAS) are also standard.
The seats are generous, supportive with a Euro feel reminiscent of a Pug.
Front and rear doors, front mudguards and the bonnet are all made of aluminium and the
tailgate has been rendered in a composite material – to reduce weight and lift
Key aerodynamic features include “3D” tyre deflectors in the lower front fascia and an
active grille to control air flow to the engine compartment.
Specially shaped A-pillars and underbody covers manage air flow under the vehicle and a
unique “air curtain” directs air from the front to the sides of the vehicle.
In the load area, a clever false floor composed of two panels can be lifted and fixed
vertically to separate the load area into two sections. There’s also under-floor storage for
smaller items and room for a space saver spare.
A central console-mounted rotary selector offers five drive modes: Off-Road, Snow, Auto,
Eco and Sports.
Fuel consumption is a claimed 7.8L/100km for the Ti-L. It takes standard unleaded and we
were getting 8.9 from the 55-litre tank after close to 400km.
Maximum braked towing capacity is up from 500kg to 2000kg.
The previous X-Trail offered perky if ultimately uninspiring performance. Like its
predecessor, the ‘all-new’ model is a bit of a mixed bag in this department.
Although the numbers are slightly larger, the naturally aspirated engine lacks torque down
low where it is needed and has to be pushed hard to get it going. This brings on the awful
zoominess that we’ve come to associate with CVTs, together with higher fuel
Off the boil and cruising the open road performance is relaxed, smooth and relatively
effortless. In this context, demanding drivers will most likely find the way the car performs
more than acceptable – and really, that’s all that matters.
On the plus side, the ride quality is much improved, with little road noise penetrating the
cabin. You’ve gotta like that.
Large, bright, impressive digital displays for the driver and infotainment help the car
standout too, with separate controls for most used features.
Of special note, the 10.8-inch head-up display in our Ti-L is one of the few, if not the only
example we have ever encountered that is visible through polarised sunglasses.
I still remember driving the first-generation X-Trail. It was surprisingly good off road and a
dream to drive compared to the big, clumsy 4x4s that ruled the roost back in the day.
X-Trail was late to the compact SUV party but it was well worth the wait. I really liked the
previous model that I drove not so long ago, but this one is so much better it doesn’t bear
Good work, Nissan!
AT A GLANCE
X-Trail ST 2WD $36,750
X-Trail ST AWD 7 seat $37,790
X-Trail ST-L 2WD $43,190
X-Trail ST-L AWD 7 seat $46,290
X-Trail Ti AWD $49,990
X-Trail Ti AWD ePower hybrid $54,190
X-Trail Ti-L AWD $52,990
X-Trail Ti-L AWD ePower hybrid $57,190
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your
local Nissan dealer for drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Nissan X-Trail TI-L AWD 2.5L 4-cylinder petrol, CVT automatic, AWD
Capacity: 2.5 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 135 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 244 Nm @ 3600 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 91 RON
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 7.8 L/100km
Emissions CO2: 183 g/km
DRIVELINE: CVT automatic, all-wheel drive
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4680 mm
Wheelbase: 2705 mm
Width: 1840 mm
Height: 1725 mm
Turning Circle: 11.1 metres
Kerb Mass: 1672 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 55 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc
Five years / unlimited kilometres