- Nice interior
- Comfortable ride
- Most trims are well-equipped
- Not overly engaging to drive
- e-Power models aren't really worth the extra money
- Some competitors are a tad better in most areas
The new Nissan X-Trail is far removed from the old one.
While the dated pictures of its first model over 20 years ago make it look utilitarian, it’s had more sophistication baked into it in more recent years.
The Nissan retains the durable aesthetics which give the impression of a rural 4x4. But the cosmetics and the interior are far more decorative than older models.
With three powertrains and five trims, there’s no shortage of choice.
The SUV is offered with a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, with the mild hybrid VC-Turbo 163 at entry-level mated to a CVT transmission.
The clever stuff is in the two e-Power models, though. One produces 204PS and the other 213PS, with the engine providing life to an electric motor on the X-Trail's front axle. But, unlike most vehicles, the combustion unit doesn't drive the wheels.
Effectively, then, the engine becomes a generator. There are examples of this technology in other cars, but it’s rare.
An electric motor is also installed on the rear axle if you opt for the e-4force four-wheel drive system.
The basic Visia trim gets 18-inch alloys, a seven-inch digital instrument cluster and LED lights. Meanwhile, the Accenta Premium grade adds an eight-inch infotainment screen with wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto. You also get dual-zone climate control and adjustable lumbar support.
The N-Connecta has a bigger 12.3-inch screen, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, ambient lighting, privacy glass and roof rails. Then the Tekna adds 19-inch wheels, a powered tailgate, a 10.8-inch head-up display, electric memory front seats, a wireless charger, and ProPILOT Assist with Navi-Link.
The flagship Tekna+ adds a ten-speaker Bose premium sound system, black quilted premium leather front seats and 20-inch alloy rims.
As we said earlier, every new generation of X-Trail has moved away from the utilitarian-looking first edition. And that’s noticeable here, too.
The front has been modernised significantly, sporting headlights that split into two predominantly horizontal lights on each side. The lower lights sit within an aggressively large air intake, giving a muscular effect.
We would be hard-pressed to say it's sexy. But it certainly reinvigorates the X-Trail and portrays a presence that the outgoing model lacked.
The interior is also more appealing, especially in Nissan’s tan and black colour, throwing out the basic cabin of the old X-Trail.
The steering wheel is chunky and purposeful, and the large infotainment screen sticks up above the top of the dashboard. While it’s not entirely on par with the premium brands, the interior design, layout, and materials have a genuine quality feel.
There are plenty of cheaper plastics, but most are hidden and, therefore, primarily out of mind.
The infotainment system impresses, too, being quick to respond. Finding your way around its menus is intuitive, while the climate control comes with physical buttons beneath the screen.
The Nissan could be better. But, if you’re an X-Trail loyalist, you’ll see it’s a huge step up from the bland, basic old model.
On The Road
Handling & Performance
The e-Power 213 is quick on paper.
Nought to 62mph is dealt with in 7.0-seconds, yet it doesn’t feel that rapid. And, although the engine remains largely quiet, it does roar a bit if you floor the throttle.
Nevertheless, added to a soft suspension setup, it wafts along in a calm, relaxed manner, making driving less monotonous.
However, for all the magic of offering an engine that doesn't drive the wheels, it doesn't provide a jump in sophistication or performance to justify the higher price versus the VC-Turbo model.
It is 2.6 seconds quicker to get to 62mph than the VC-Turbo, but is it worth paying extra for a motor that isn’t geared towards performance?
Moreover, the e-Power 204 offers a middle ground with an insignificant potency deficit to the 213.
With the soft suspension setup, it isn’t one for driving enthusiasts. This is because the X-Trail struggles at speed around bends, resisting turn-in and providing plenty of body lean.
For everyday driving, it's fine, but if you like testing vehicles to their limits, you won’t need to try hard to find the X-Trail’s.
It is okay at lower speeds, but it’s intended as a motorway cruiser - and designed to limit weariness on longer journeys.
Although you don’t get batteries in a conventional hybrid sense, a small battery is charged up through Nissan's 'e-Pedal Step' system. This tech provides one-pedal driving by applying regenerative braking when you’re not accelerating.
Space & Practicality
The interior is spacious, although some rivals are even roomier.
Nevertheless, headroom and legroom in the front and back are plentiful, even for the tallest occupants. Meanwhile, finding a chilled driving position is easy, especially with electric memory seats in the top two trims.
A high driving position means visibility is good, and even though the rear pillars are wider, rearward visibility isn’t bad. Indeed, it’s helped by parking sensors throughout the range.
The second row of seats (the back row in the five-seater version) can recline and fold flat to the floor if you have to lug some more oversized cargo.
The rear row of the seven-seater provides two additional chairs. These seats are suitable for children but, although adults will fit, you will only want to be sat there for a short time.
Boot space is 575 litres expanding to 1,396 litres with all the seats down. However, the latter measurement varies as the middle row can slide backwards and forwards, folding in a 60:40 split. You get an even more versatile 40:20:40 divide in higher trims.
There is a whole bunch of interior storage, too, with large door bins, a generously sized central cubby space and two cupholders in the front. You get another two cupholders folding out from the middle seat in the second row.
Precise fuel economy figures and emissions for each powertrain depend on trim and whether you choose the e-4orce four-wheel drive system.
The entry-level VC-Turbo will return 38.5-43.8mpg, emitting 146-167g/km of CO2.
The e-Power 204 does 47.3-48.6mpg, with CO2 figures of 132-134g/km of CO2, while the e-Power 213 claims 43.1-44.7mpg, producing 143-145g/km of CO2.
While that means the extra grunt of the e-Power 204 is more economical than the lower-powered VC-Turbo, we question whether the fuel savings are worth it.
Servicing plans are from two to four years, and Nissan offers a basic, three-year, 60,000-mile warranty.
Overall, the all-new Nissan X-Trail has a hell of a lot going for it, but there are better vehicles of its type out there.
Yes, it's practical and economical for a big SUV - and it's comfy, too, with modernised looks and a lovely interior.
But the clever tech of the e-Power is hardly worth digging deeper for. Plus, some competitors can beat it on each of the above criteria while also being better to drive.