New Nissan X-Trail 2017 facelift review

The Nissan X-Trail SUV benefits from trim and tech updates, now we drive the facelifted model in the UK for the first time

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

The new Nissan X-Trail is still a comfortable car and a credible option for buyers wanting a spacious and practical family SUV. However, a mild mid-life facelift can’t work miracles, and alongside newer rivals such as the accomplished Skoda Kodiaq, the X-Trail can’t hide the fact that it’s an older product. It looks expensive on paper, too, although a variety of tempting finance offers is currently sweetening the deal for buyers.

The Qashqai has been Nissan’s bread-winner in the SUV sector since it launched in 2009, but the X-Trail has also proven an undisputed success for the brand. Last year, more than 19,000 units were sold in the UK, with an astounding 760,000 models finding homes globally.

The current third-generation car has been around since 2013. Four years later, Nissan has freshened it up with a facelift. We've already put it through its paces on European roads, but this is our first chance to try the updated Skoda Kodiaq rival in the UK.

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Nissan reckons buyers will continue to shun lower-spec models in favour of plusher versions. Cars like ours in flagship Tekna trim are expected to account for 47 per cent of UK sales, with mid-grade N-Connecta cars claiming another 39 per cent.

The 1.6-litre dCi is the cheaper of the two diesel options, with a 1.6-litre petrol also available. New engines aren’t part of the updated package, so power, fuel economy and refinement remain as they were before.

There is a sizeable chasm in terms of grunt between the 1.6 and 2.0-litre diesel unit, though. The faster 175bhp engine also features in the Renault Koleos, and when linked to the optional CVT transmission it’s far smoother and much punchier than the 1.6. Buyers towing heavy loads may find the bigger engine too tempting to ignore.

From behind the wheel there are no surprises. The X-Trail has plenty of body roll, while the steering is soft rather than sharp. On the move it’s a comfortable cruiser with a well judged ride, although it’s fidgety at low speeds – finding bumps and lumps in the road around town. All-wheel-drive cars are capable when confronted with a bit of soft-roading, too, and new features such as an updated hill-start assist system are tailored with muddy stuff in mind.

Nissan has eked out an additional 15 litres of boot space in five-seat models, taking capacity with all the seats in place up to 565 litres. However, it can’t compete with a Skoda Kodiaq’s vast 720-litre load space.

Inside, the infotainment screen is small with outdated graphics, but it’s slick and responsive. New materials and an updated steering wheel lift the X-Trail, although the Kodiaq feels fresher. The Skoda is cheaper as well. Still, Nissan is offering some tempting zero per cent finance deals if you can stump up a hefty deposit.

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