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Nissan X-Trail

The new Nissan X-Trail retains all the traits that made the first version such a hit

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

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The new X-Trail retains all the traits that made the first version such a hit. The rugged styling remains, while the family-friendly cabin benefits from better quality materials. Boot space has grown, while car-like handling makes the Nissan enjoyable to drive. For those who don't need the seven seats offered by some rivals, the X-Trail remains one of the best compact 4x4s you can buy.

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Give the people what they want. That's the approach Nissan has taken with its latest X-Trail, listening to customers' demands to make minor improvements rather than sweeping changes.

As a result, if you take a look at the newcomer now that it's arrived in the UK, it doesn't seem too different. However, sharing its platform with the Qashqai crossover model, it's actually all-new - every panel is different, and it's longer, taller and wider.

The Qashqai influences continue inside, where there are plenty of cup holders, a large glovebox and a central dash-top cubby. Thanks to quality materials and a modern layout, there's a more upmarket feel than with its slightly workmanlike predecessor.

A larger luggage area is now enhanced by a removable false floor, under which is a hidden sliding drawer. As before, a low load lip and a boot area trimmed in wipe-clean plastic all add to the practicality. The new X-Trail retains the same dynamic approach of its forerunner, with its light controls meaning it's easy to drive, turns in sharply and has little body roll.

Feeling much more car-like than most other compact SUVs, it scores extremely well when it comes to handling agility and steering feedback.

Under the bonnet, the 2.0-litre dCi engine is also new. Available in 148 or 171bhp outputs, it delivers its power smoothly. While the less potent version we drove had some diesel clatter, refinement has certainly improved. The ride is comfortable on motorways, too, making the Nissan a relaxing cruiser. It's only around town that the suspension feels a little firm. The changes may not be that radical, but the X-Trail is now far better all round.

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