Nissan X-Trail: 24,715 miles

FINAL REPORT: How has the practical yet easy-to-drive SUV coped with 12 tough months on our fleet?

After a year of driving the Nissan X-Trail, I’m ready to shout about its abilities from the roof-top! The hugely practical off-roader has been a great companion over the past 12 months, providing faultless and reliable transport.

My annual mileage proves that the X-Trail has worked harder than any of the cars on the Auto Express fleet, but it hasn’t let me down once. In fact, the only blemishes on its record are my doing. A few scratches and scuffs on the interior from my mountain of camera gear are the sole problems to report.

A fresh pair of front tyres at 21,000 miles is the only extra expense I’ve encountered, so running costs are exceptionally low. I’m trying not to think about returning the keys because my next car will struggle to match its abilities. The Nissan offers huge amounts of luggage space and has a pair of useful storage areas, including a handy sliding tray beneath the boot floor. Hard plastic trim in the load bay provides a tough, utilitarian feel, although it does pick up the occasional scratch.

I’m equally impressed by the SUV’s sharp handling and comfort on the move. It’s car-like to drive and incredibly agile for such a hefty machine. The high driving position gives great visibility and really takes the stress out of long motorway journeys – you can see much further ahead than in a conventional car. Plus, the extra ride height is handy when I leave the tarmac.

I often have to venture off-road when I’m hunting for the perfect photo location, so muddy grass and dirty tracks are part of the daily grind. But the X-Trail takes it all in its stride and copes admirably. The easy-to-use All Mode system switches between two and four-wheel-drive at the twist of a rotary dial, which is located next to the gearlever – so I’m ready for the rough stuff in absolutely no time.

Good communications are a must for anyone who spends as much time on the road as I do, and the Nissan’s hands-free phone connection means you can concentrate on driving. It works exceptionally well, and even features voice-activated controls, so your hands needn’t leave the steering wheel. Other neat touches include a helpful reverse parking camera to take the strain out of edging into tight spaces. These valuable features have left a big impression on me – so I can’t believe the X-Trail is worth only £13,000 as a trade-in!

Second Opinion

It looks tough, but the X-Trail couldn’t be easier to drive. All the controls are light and it’s quick – not at all what you’d expect from a 4x4. I never ventured off the beaten track, although its 4WD and all-season tyres shrugged off the snow we had at the start of February. What appeals to me is that big boot – it swallows loads of the products I carry around for testing. But while the trim is durable, it’s also very slippery, so the drive home from the supermarket can be a bit of a lottery.

Kim Adams Consumer contributor

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