Nissan X-Trail Tekna diesel review

8 May, 2014 12:00pm Joaquim Oliviera

Nissan's latest X-Trail compact SUV adds style and comfort to the old model's substance

Verdict

4
It's a smart move by Nissan to build on the success of the Qashqai, with this latest X-Trail. It offers buyers a more practical alternative with but without sacrificing all the stylish appeal, comfort and technology of one of the world’s best-selling crossovers. It’s not as rugged as the car it replaces but the four-wheel-drive models can tackle a bit of a light off-roading and the new, on-road biased character is far more relevant to today’s buyers.

The Nissan X-Trail used to be a bit of a boxy, off-roader but you’ll notice this new model has taken a few tips from the big-selling Qashqai – both visually and technically. The streamlined looks come as part of a streamlining of the Nissan line-up, which sees the seven-seat Qashqai+2 dropped, and the new X-Trail stepping up to fill the gap.

This third-generation model is built on the same platform as the latest Qashqai but comes with an extended wheelbase and independent rear suspension on every model. On the Qashqai only four-wheel-drive variants get the more advanced suspension set-up. There’s a slightly higher ride height, too, which reveals Nissan’s plans to position this as more of a rugged off-roader than the Qashqai.

What you also get over Nissan’s popular Qashqai is an extra 268mm of length in the body and 80mm of height – both of which are immediately noticable in the functional cabin. The second row of seats can slide a total of 260mm back and forth in a 60:40 arrangement, while the seat backs can also be angled for extra room in the boot.

Nissan X-Trail cabin

For £700 you can get a third row of seats, which fold completely flat in to the floor. With them in place you could conceivably carry a couple of average-sized adults but children will feel a lot more at home – especially because of the theatre-style seating, which sees each row mounted higher than the one in front. Fold the rearmost seats out the way and there’s a pretty generous 500-litre boot. It’s 135 litres with all the seats in place.

Picking an X-Trail is easy as there’s only one engine on offer – a 1.6-litre dCi boasting 128bhp. The 320Nm torque figure is the same as the old X-Trail’s 2.0-litre engine but with a 90kg lower kerbweight, this car is 18% more fuel efficient, boasting 58mpg in the front-wheel-drive manual-equipped model. It’s a really smooth, quiet engine and there’s enough performance to ensure it never feels sluggish. Unless, that is, you decide to go for the CVT gearbox, which we found results in lazy acceleration. On the plus side, it shifts a lot like a traditional torque converter auto, without any of the over-revving you normally get from a CVT.

Nissan X-Trail side on

The handling feels a lot more comfort-focused than in the Qashqai. There’s more body roll in the corners and a little less stability at speed as a result but comfort and refinement are both excellent. The Qashqai’s relaxed character has been carried over and turned up a couple of notches. There’s clearly a little more off-road ability here, too, when you’ve got the £1700 four-wheel-drive system fitted, which offers buyers a choice between two-wheel drive, auto, or a permanent four-wheel-drive ‘Lock’ setting. 

The cabin is just as good as the Qashqai, featuring the same high-quality materials and premium design. All models come with a five-inch colour screen in between the dials, as well as alloy wheels and Bluetooth. We drove a flagship Tekna model but would recommend n-tec, instead – from £27,295 – which gets 19-inch alloys, a seven-inch touchscreen, keyless-go, 360-degree parking cameras and safety systems like auto braking and lane departure warning.

Check out our round-up of the best 4x4s on sale now.

Disqus - noscript

Needs a bit more powerful (2 Litre?) engine & better auto gearbox TBQH.

If I had my way everything would have a 6 litre engine, but back in the real world maybe Nissan designed the car around their target buyer. They already had a 2 litre available with 150 break but higher C02, they also have a 2.3 TD with 200bhp. There is a reason why it is only 1.6/128bhp, marketing have already done their homework. Also, try the gearbox, it's a big improvement on the old CVT's.

The New engine is actually weaker than the old one..... Real "improvement" there, Nissan :)

So in essence, the new X-trail is a raised, 4x4 qashcow, rather than a proper 4x4 like the old version. The old xtrail was a proper rival for the freelander, and better in some ways.
It seems all 4x4's are heading down the same 'soft road' track including the discovery, freelander and even the new defender.
Makes life tricky for farmers and people needing a rugged, no nonsense 4x4 for all weather use.
The discovery used to be a viable farm use vehicle but the latest versions are more e-class or 5 series.

It's not tricky for farmers and estate managers. If you are looking at Nissan then an X-trail has never been very interesting and neither has the Freelander. The Disco is the family car and goes out in the rough but doesn't do loads and hard work, just people. The Navara is the choice here. we run a Navara and two VW Amaroks, plus an old Ford Ranger. We have a pickup for chucking loads in and hosing out, this is no place for plush seats and carpets. There is plenty of choice in 4x4 pickups.

Does the old engine use less fuel, emit lower CO2 and have a load car tax bracket?

There's more than one definition of weaker. The new engine is more than sufficient for sensible driving.

The definition of "weaker" that I would go with is "unable to operate an automatic transmission and four wheel drive at the same time", which appears to be the case with this vehicle, because you can only have one or the other. This is a step back from the model it replaces and disappointing at present, however perhaps there will be a wider engine choice in due course.

Take the Bmw 2.0L diesels, from 2002 --> today. Almost every year they're cleaner, AND stronger.....
If Nissan calls this vehicle a "SUV", please remove the Sport, and Utility part in it...

Will no doubt make a useless tow car now which is what I saw the majority of them being used for. Have a look next time you see an old one, will have a tow bar.

Cant imagine this will be any good.

Of course farmers can use pickups. You might as well say that farmers can use quad bikes, tractors and combine harvesters and that would be a valid statement. But we are talking about SUV's here sir

Yes, we are talking about SUVs, not farmers.
You brought farmers into it. Farmers use pickups not SUVs.

What I'm saying is, your point about being "tricky for farmers" is not true because there are plenty of working vehicles more suitable to yard work than these SUVs that have never been in the picture.

OK no problem, lets move on yes?

Key specs

  • Price: £29,995
  • Engine: 1.6-litre turbodiesel
  • Power: 128bhp
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 10.5 seconds
  • Top speed: 115mph
  • Economy/CO2: 58mpg/129g/km
  • Equipment: 19-inch alloys, seven-inch touchscreen, 360-degree parking cameras, Bluetooth, LED headlights, dual-zone climate control
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