Nissan X-Trail 1.6dCi Tekna review

Nissan can't be blamed for hoping some Qashqai magic will rub off on the X-Trail now it looks like it's from the same family. The X-Trail has kept its name because market research showed it to be well known and respected.

The new X-Trail is a big advance over its predecessor and more practical than a Qashqai but it is easy to be seduced into expensive, high spec models with gadgets and technology you don't really need.

Review by Russell Bray for nextgreencar.com


PERFORMANCE

For this third generation of the X-Trail Nissan has replaced its 2-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine with a 1.6 litre four cylinder which delivers more torque, 236 lbs ft at 1,750rpm, but better fuel consumption and slightly better performance. Vehicle weight is down by about 90kg compared to the previous car which helps performance. Maximum power is 128bhp.

Acceleration from rest to 62mph takes 10.5 seconds for the front wheel drive only model tested here, an improvement of half a second over the previous version. Top speed with the six speed manual gearbox is 117mph. The engine was jointly developed with Nissan's Alliance partner, Renault. The engine is turbocharged with stop-start as standard.

HANDLING

Despite the press conference hype about advanced driving aids, including active trace control - surely something lost in translation -which can brake wheels individually to reduce understeer and keep the car on course, the X-Trail isn't a vehicle that encourages an enthusiastic driving style. There's too much body roll through corners if you build up the g-forces and the car twitches around over bumpier curves and sometimes even in a straight line. The steering is virtually devoid of any feel of the grip under the tyres. Engine braking under deceleration can sometimes be more than you expect.

BODY STYLE

You are not going to mistake the new X-Trail for the old one that is for sure. The boxy, traditional SUV lines have been replaced by curvy, swervy ones which remind of the new Qashqai.

The X-Trail is more functional at the back where a square approach means more luggage capacity. Big wheel arches show off the standard alloy wheels and all models get LED daytime running lights. Though only 18mm longer overall than before, Nissan has added 76mm to the wheelbase to increase cabin space. Seven seater models with a third row of seats cost from £23,695. Length 4653mm. Width 1839mm.

COMFORT & CONTROLS

Nissan X-Trail Interior

The high up driving position combined with plenty of adjustment to the driver's seat and steering column immediately scores good points for the X-Trail and all-round cameras mean there are no concerns about the corners which are out of sight when parking. Major controls are obvious but you will need the handbook to work out where some of the beeping sounds are coming from and what they mean.

The way you can slide and recline the second row of seats gives the X-Trail an advantage over its rivals. A third row of seats is optional but occupants will have to be small. A parking assistant system means the X-Trail can virtually park itself - you have to work the accelerator and brake - which might mean slightly less chaos outside school gates in a morning.

MPG & RUNNING COSTS

Under laboratory test conditions the X-Trail 1.6 dCi manages an incredible 57.6mpg but I would expect 40-42mpg in traffic choked Britain. The fuel consumption figure equates to a fuel cost of 11p per mile. Carbon dioxide emissions are 129g/km which puts the X-Trail in taxation cost D with road tax of £110 per annum. The car is covered by a three year/ 60,000 mile warranty which is beaten by quite a lot of manufacturers these days.

GREEN CREDENTIALS

Technical innovations designed to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions include a cold-loop, low pressure exhaust gas recirculation system which recycles exhaust gases at a lower temperature to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides. An optimised thermal management system means the engine reaches operating temperature more quickly so reducing frictional losses when starting from cold.

Streamlined door mirrors and an underfloor spoiler over the exhaust and rear panel have helped optimise the X-Trail's aerodynamics. Nissan has also reduced the X-Trail's weight by 90kg. Seven kg has been saved by fitting a plastic rather than steel rear tailgate. All engines have city traffic stop-start as standard. The tested X-Trail has aNext Green Car Rating of 38.

OPTIONAL EXTRAS

The cabin is much classier than before with contrasting colour stitching on the leather upholstery, piano black panels and touches of chrome. Moving with the times the storage box between the front seats is large enough for a 10in tablet computer. You can plan a route for the satellite navigation from the office or at home and then send it to the car. The system includes Bluetooth audio streaming and mobile phone integration.

All models have as standard air conditioning, alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, five inch colour information screen, slide and recline rear seats, Bluetooth with microphone, cruise control, speed limiter, hill start assist and six airbags. Top Tekna spec vehicles have Bi-LED headlamps, 19in diameter wheels, keyless entry and engine start, leather upholstery, electrically adjustable driver's seat and front and rear parking sensors.

MODEL SUMMARY

Nissan X-Trail Interior

Model tested:Nissan X-Trail 1.6dCi Tekna five-seater front wheel drive
Body-style:Five or seven seat sports utility vehicle (SUV)
Engine:128bhp 1.6 litre, four-cylinder turbo-charged diesel engine
Trim grades:Visia, Acenta, n-tec and Tekna

On-road price:From £22.995. Price as tested £29,295
Warranty: Three years/60,000 miles
In the showroom:Coming soon
Review rating:3.5 STARS

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Russell Bray

Author:Russell Bray
Date Updated:10th Jun 2014

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