In-depth reviews

Nissan X-Trail review - Engines, performance and drive

A good motorway cruiser with decent refinement, the X-Trail isn’t the most exciting car to drive

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.5 out of 5

Engines, performance and drive Rating

3.8 out of 5

£32,830 to £49,645
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All fourth-generation X-Trail models use a 1.5-litre inline three-cylinder engine, with mild-hybrid versions available alongside the more powerful and efficient e-Power models. The latter system utilises the car’s engine as a generator to charge an onboard lithium-ion battery, which in-turn powers the electric motor that's used to drive the wheels.

It’s an unusual set-up, but we found it to be a smooth operator with no jerky transition between electric and combustion-engined power sources as you might find with a full-hybrid or plug-in hybrid powertrain. In fact, the novel hybrid-cum-range-extender system really does provide an EV driving experience, making it an incredibly easy car to drive smoothly at low speeds. 

The X-Trail is perfectly comfortable out on the road, with the suspension only really troubled by the worst of the UK’s pockmarked routes. The big SUV is a decent cruiser at motorway speeds, too, with little wind or engine noise entering the cabin and spoiling the sense of refinement. When the engine is idling to charge the battery, we did find it can sound droney, but the rest of the time it isn’t that intrusive. The same goes for the high-pitched whine produced by the X-Trail's electric motors which we found was far more audible than in a Kia Sorento we recently pitted against the Nissan.

During our testing we also found that while the driving position in X-Trail is high in the typical SUV style, it's not quite as commanding as the Sorento’s. The C-pillars are relatively thick and the rear side windows are small too, so visibility is a little compromised.

If you’re happy not hustling along in too much of a hurry, then you'll find the X-Trail a good companion. We found the steering devoid of any feedback, and there was quite a bit of body roll through twisty roads, but for most people’s needs it fulfils its brief competently. Buyers will find the ‘e-Pedal Step’ mode, which allows some one-pedal driving, particularly useful in urban traffic, while the e-4orce all-wheel drive model has a dual electric motor setup that is able to respond 10,000 times faster than a mechanical four-wheel drive system – according to Nissan.

0-62mph acceleration and top speed

The Nissan X-Trail is not a car bought for its handling prowess on twisty B-roads or its straight-line performance. Nevertheless, the Japanese SUV is capable of a decent turn of speed, with the quickest 210bhp e-4orce, all-wheel drive (five-seat) model able to cover 0-62mph in 7.0-seconds flat. Opting for seven seats means you’ll need a further two tenths of a second to reach the sprint benchmark.

If you’re not fussed about having 4WD capability or seven seats, then the X-Trail 201bhp e-Power version is the one to go for. The mid-range car manages 0-62mph in 8.0 seconds, while the 161bhp mild-hybrid variant is the slowest option taking 9.6 seconds to reach 62mph.

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