Nissan_X-Trail_N-Sport_frontThere is nothing unique about the Nissan X-Trail N-Sport. Egged on by the sales success of the N-Sport Navara limited edition, the Japanese automobile manufacturer has done likewise for three more models.

The seven-seat Pathfinder SUV, sporty 370Z, plus the popular mid-size SUV X-Trail have come in for ‘special’ attention. Sitting well up the ladder in the highly competitive medium sports utility vehicle segment under $60,000, it was thought the X-Trail could handle a mid-cycle shove with 600 units of the N-Sport.

Based on the Nissan
X-Trail ST-L, the N-Sport comes in two and four-wheel drive, selling for $39,250 and $41,250, plus on-road costs, respectively. The latter was on test.

Black highlights are the name of the game for the N-Sport with gloss black mirror caps, black side sills and roof rails, dark metallic front and rear bumper finishes and dark radiator grille.

However, it is the larger 18-inch black painted alloy wheels that are designed to set off each of the body colours available – Diamond Black, Gun Metallic, Ivory Pearl and the Brilliant Silver of the test car.


A leather wrapped steering wheel joins leather upholstered seats, the driver’s position power adjustable six ways, the front passenger seat four ways, plus lumbar support for the driver, in presenting a premium feel to the space.

Heated front seats and dual zone climate control air-con, add extra comfort all round.

A 7-inch LCD colour QVGA monitor, DAB+ digital radio and satellite navigation with traffic monitoring keep the N-Sport up with the latest in communication technology.

The four-wheel drive X-Trail N-Sport is powered by the latest Nissan 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine producing 126 kW and 226 Nm, at 6000 and 6400 rpm, respectively, mated with a continuously variable transmission.

Intelligent emergency braking comes in the form of forward emergency stoppers with forward collision warning. Other state-of-the-art systems include vehicle dynamic control, hill start assist, limited-slip differential and hill decent control with the four-wheel drive variant.


An around-view monitor with moving object detection gives a 360-degree picture of the vehicle for help in parking, while blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert warn of approaching vehicles when overtaking or reversing out of a parking spot.

Six airbags – driver / front passenger, side and curtain – take care of passive safety.

The X-Trail N-Sport power train? Nothing to see here, the 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine mated with a CVT and four-wheel drive is carried over from the 2017 common-or-garden model.

Drive time with the N-Sport was truncated thanks to a left-rear window being shattered by a wayward stone thrown up from a passing vehicle while it was parked outside my home.On the move, passenger cabin air pressure beats came in at around 80 km/h and by the time the vehicle reached the legal speed limit were almost unbearable. Alleviation was allied to opening the other rear window.

Fuel consumption ranged from 9.1 litres per 100 kilometres on the motorway to more than 13 litres per 100 in city and suburban commuting.

Pressing the Eco button on the dash, while urging driving frugality through the instrument panel, made the performance ponderous, especially in stop / start traffic. Not for me.

Nissan’s intelligent 4×4 that operates in three modes – 2WD, Auto and Lock – activated by a knob on the centre console – is one of those systems that operates without the driver being aware of what’s happening.

Using 2WD saves fuel by directing power through the front wheels only; Auto monitors all four wheels, switching torque to where it’s required; and Lock permanently engages the rear wheels delivering 50:50 torque split between front and back.

The basically black materials of the passenger cabin could have meant sombre surroundings but there was enough light getting in through the windows for that not to be the case, even with privacy rear tinting.

A pleasing feature was Nissan’s Divide-N-Hide flexible cargo storage system comes up with 18 ways to cart stuff. Two luggage boards allow the area to be split into upper and lower areas in a single-handed move. In its top position, the board can hold up to 10 kg of cargo; in its lowest, maximum load is 75kg.

In 2016, the X-Trail was the world’s best-selling SUV and a year later the third most popular vehicle. With credentials like that, the N-Sport’s 600 units should have little trouble adding to the pedigree. However, ‘Sport’ seems slightly misplaced.


Nissan X-Trail ST-L N-Sport 2WD $39,250
Nissan X-Trail ST-L N-Sport 4WD $41,250
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Nissan dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (X-Trail 2.5L 4-cylinder petrol engine with Xtronic CVT, 4WD SUV)

Capacity: 2.488 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 126 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 226 Nm @ 6400 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 91 RON
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 8.3 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 192 g / km

DRIVELINE: XTronic continuously variable automatic, 4WD

Length: 4690 mm
Wheelbase: 2705 mm
Width: 1820 mm
Height: 1740 mm
Turning Circle: 11.8 metres
Tare weight: 1549 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 60 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc

Three years / unlimited kilometres

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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