Driven: 2016 Nissan X-Trail N-Tec Review
I took a first look at the latest Nissan X-Trail, and here are my thoughts on it.
What is the Nissan X-Trail N-Tec all About?
Don’t worry, there’s no mistake in the title, the car as shown in the picture is really the Nissan X-Trail, and not a Qashqai.
Being one of Nissan’s first crossover SUVs, the X-Trail is actually a relatively recent production of the Japanese manufacturer Nissan. It was just a compact crossover SUV, but since Nissan pulled the plugs on the Qashqai +2, they needed a replacement, and now the X-Trail occupies the mid-sized crossover SUV segment for Nissan.
Sharing the same Nissan C platform as the Qashqai, and also co-developed with Renault, AKA the Renault-Nissan Common Module Family (CMF), the X-Trail also boasts unparalleled safety thanks to advanced active and passive safety features.
From the outside, the new X-Trail certainly looks very reminiscent of the Qashqai, however, rest assured that there are actual differences. Even at first glance, you will notice that the X-Trail is a much bigger car than the Qashqai, as practicality is essentially its motto at this point.
Nissan has decided to spruce up the boxy looking second generation X-Trail by borrowing cues from the Juke. While some may think that the the stylistic two-tone plastic trimming that surrounds the lower portion of the car does look a little on the cheap side, I think it is done to moderation, and it helps the overall front look a lot.
In the front of the car is the signature Nissan front grille, typical of Nissans nowadays, and the large gaping mouth right below, a black honeycomb variant as well, which is quite subtle and adds a pinch of fierceness to the car.
Overall, the car follows sharp but dynamic lines giving it a good side profile, while the rear of the car is finished off with a large chunky tailgate and modern tail lamps. Worth mentioning are the additional roof railings and 19 inch alloys that came with our spec, the N-Tec.
It’s a trendy look, quite commonplace among competitions of this segment right now, and to be honest, while arguably a little boring, there’s nothing wrong with it.
While there are 4 different specs you can opt for while buying the X-Trail, the engine option is really limited to say the least. There’s 2 diesels and 1 petrol engine to choose from, all of them only 1.6 litres. Our model in particular is the MR16, the 1.6 litre petrol, putting out the most horsepower out of them, 160 hp and 240 Nm of torque.
While there are 4WD options available, the petrol option will only get you a 2WD variant with a 6-speed manual transmission. However, they have managed to keep the weight relatively low at roughly 1.4 tons, so the car completes the 0-62 mph mark at just below 10 seconds.
Pushing it further will net you a top speed of 124 mph. Our variant also nets 44.1 mpg combined, and puts out 149 g/km of CO2.
How Does it Drive?
Now, the X-Trail was never about the driving finesse and representative of Nismo’s best, but that doesn’t mean it drives terribly. The engine is borrowed from the Qashqai and, being a smaller car than this, creates some predictable characteristics for the car.
To begin with, the engine enjoys being pushed, the powerband is around 3,000 rpm and has enough clout to move the car around happily. I found myself shifting gears more often just making sure I kept in the useable power band for the car, to make the most of the small but efficient engine.
However, the car rides very well. Keep in mind that this is a family car, and the X-Trail certainly irons out bumps on the road rather well. It is also well sound-proofed, so interior noise is minimal.
For the size of the car and how it rides, you’d be surprised at how well-behaved it is in the corners as well. It’s not an Ariel Atom, but it doesn’t roll as much as you’d think.
To conclude, the X-Trail is a car you’d want to bring your friends along with on a long road trip. It’s not a car that I would mind driving for a long time, but it would be good to have an engine with a bit more poke. Perhaps the diesel would be a bit better with more torque.
What is it Like Inside?
In its own segment, the X-Trail has practically unparalleled interior passenger space and storage space. Hence, stepping in, you’ll notice that everything is very utilitarian, from the bulky steering to the cloth seats.
However, don’t let that fool you, as the X-Trail is packed with tech, cruise control, Bluetooth, LED daytime running lights, the middle 5 inch touchscreen infotainment system. In our N-Tec model, we had the luxuries of lane departure warning, and even a 360-degree camera view, quite impressive for a feature of Range Rover to make it here.
With all those safety features, our model also came with 2 additional seats (to make it 7 seats), a £1,000 option, however, those seats are really meant for children. With those seats, the boot space is limited, put it down however and you get 550 litres of boot capacity, plenty. If you need more, the rear seats fold as well to give you nearly 2,000 litres of space, incredible.
The experience of the X-Trail is a positive one overall from Nissan, the car is full of family friendly practicalities. Living with the car I should imagine will be a delight, there is plenty of passenger room and lots of places to store all your things as you go through your busy life. In N-Tec spec all the clever technology keeps the car feeling up to date.
While some might argue the car is boring, it was refreshing to drive knowing that this car will be one that’s sold to the common folks. It has an appealing price for what it offers, and that is space, space and more space. Otherwise, the driving characteristics are typical of most family cars. With a bigger engine, Nissan will get it spot on.
- Price: £22,395
- Engine: 1.6-litre petrol inline-4
- Power: 160 bhp
- Torque: 240 Nm
- Transmission: 6-speed manual
- 0-62mph: 9.7 seconds
- Top speed: 124 mph
- Weight: 1,430kg
- Economy combined: 44 mpg