The popular Nissan X-trail has had a makeover worthy of a reality TV program. The stocky, boxy creation of the past has been wiped out. The 2014 Nissan X-trail has succumbed to peer pressure, joining many of the others with European-styled looks, and a more urban friendly presence. EFTM recently drove the new Nissan X-trail to Australia’s alpine region and back. Unfortunately for us snowmageddon occurred the day after we left, so don’t expect any snow glory shots!
The 10 Minute Test Drive.
The 2014 X-trail features an interior which in terms of quality sits about in the middle of the affordable SUV world. It’s neither lavish or poverty-stricken. Carbon fibre look inlays split the dash in two, while the infotainment hub and gear shifter get that piano black plastic treatment. Buttons and air vents operate and feel like many others in this segment and the instrument cluster gets the usual separate display screen. It’s all logically laid out and modern but hardly innovative.
We sampled the top shelf petrol Ti 2.5-litre with Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). Feeling closer to a traditional automatic than ever before, the four-cylinder hustles the 1574kg frame around quiet capably, but more so when overtaking on the open road rather than from a standstill.
The ride itself has somewhat of a budget feel to it. I found it to be a little rough around the edges for my liking. Outside of the European offerings and in terms of isolation from ordinary roads it’s marginally better than a Holden Captiva, probably on par with a Mitsubishi Outlander and Toyota RAV 4 but a long way from the very well sorted Mazda CX-5.
Steering is weighted towards the light side, making manoeuvring around town simple for any driver. As usual the SUV height advantage leads to some body lean when you start testing the waters.
But for those that may not be as in tune with driving dynamics there’s plenty to be wrapped about. Excellent connectivity via your smartphone is on offer, computer assisted driver aids bring safety levels to the forefront and there’s a decent 4WD system.
Ins and outs.
Our test car was the Ti 4WD 2.5-litre CVT model. With 126kW @6000rpm and 226Nm @4400, numbers that don’t set the spec sheet on fire. But the latest CVT Xtronic transmission does a pretty good job of pulling performance out of the petrol powered unit. CVT transmissions with their infinite ratios often offer a rather tedious drone like experience. The X-trail’s box tries its best to mimic a standard auto, with noticeable falls and rises in rev’s almost like traditional gear changes. There’s also quiet a useful manual mode, paddle shifters would had come in handy here.
The All MODE 4x4i system with electronic 4WD selection enables the driver to select full-time FWD mode, an AUTO mode which diverts power to either end as required or a LOCK mode for when more demanding conditions are encountered. (Like SNOW!)
A Chassis Control program incorporates a three-pronged electronic nanny system that includes Active Trace Control, Active Engine Brake and Active Ride Control. This all combines to monitor driving behaviour and counteract any dubious human inputs. Individual wheels can be braked and the CVT can alter engine braking and torque. These types of features are essentially an advancement on the now old-school traction control, ABS and ESP systems of the past. Most of the time you’ll never even know they are in operation, you certainly would if they weren’t.
I like the NissanConnect Smartphone Integration system, it supports Facebook and Google searching and like everything these days involved downloading an app to setup. However it’s not as content rich as the MZD Connect system found in the new Mazda 3.
The Ti model scores plenty of the good gear including a panoramic power tilt and slide sunroof, sensor activated tailgate, Around View® Monitor, satellite navigation, the aforementioned NissanConnect, lane departure warning, blind spot warning and moving object detection. There’s also double stitched leather seating, daytime running lights and DAB radio. If only the latter worked in tunnels!
The new X-TRAIL is certainly far more stylish than the outgoing model, but will losing some of that rugged appeal deter some? I doubt it. With the choice of up to 7-seats on some models and remarkably 18 storage configurations in the rear cargo bay (No we didn’t try them all) the X-Trail is sure to tempt many a family.
Spread across Nissan’s usual trim grades of ST, ST-L and Ti the third generation X-Trail is priced as follows:
- Nissan X-Trail ST 2.0L manual 2WD – five seat- $27,990
- Nissan X-Trail ST 2.5L auto 2WD – five seat – $30,490
- Nissan X-Trail ST 2.5L auto 2WD – seven seat – $31,580
- Nissan X-Trail ST 2.5L auto 4WD – five seat – $33,980
- Nissan X-Trail ST-L 2.5L auto 2WD – five seat – $36,190
- Nissan X-Trail ST-L 2.5L auto 2WD – seven seat – $37,190
- Nissan X-Trail ST-L 2.5L auto 4WD – five seat – $39,080
- Nissan X-Trail Ti 2.5L auto 4WD – five seat – $44,680
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We managed 7.8l/100km over a 1200km round journey to the alpine region of NSW. This actually betters the claimed figure of 8.3l/100km. Although most of the trip was at highway speeds with only a light load onboard.
EFTM Rubber Stamp.
The 2014 X-trail will be a strong contender in the sales charts, its performance is on par with all the other SUV clones in this segment. While lacking that premium feel the Mazda CX-5 still has, it does pack a decent level of off road ability and tech which will appeal to many. It earns the EFTM Pass Rubber Stamp of approval.