UK drive: Nissan's X-Trail is a genuine go-anywhere vehicle

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Nissan’s facelifted X-Trail has landed in the UK. Ryan Hirons heads to Snowdonia to find out what it’s like.

What is it?

This is the new Nissan X-Trail, the Japanese manufacturer’s 4×4 — well, it’s not totally new, it’s actually a facelift of a generation introduced in 2014.

Nissan X-Trail

Since then though, it’s become the world’s most popular SUV with 766,000 units shifted, so there’s no need for a completely fresh car just yet.

It sits alongside the Qashqai in Nissan’s SUV lineup, offering a more go-anywhere option.

What’s new?

Although this is just a facelift, there’s plenty of new features for the X-Trail.

The most noticeable are aesthetic tweaks to give a more rugged and aggressive appearance, as well as the addition of Nissan’s latest angular family grille.


Nissan X-Trail

Inside the car, interior upgrades present to give a more premium feel to the SUV. Amongst these are a new d-shaped steering wheel, heated front and middle seats and a redesigned central armrest area.

New tech includes a hands-free tailgate, a Bose audio system and Stand Still assist — which is an improved version of hill start assist.

What’s under the bonnet?


Three engines are on offer for the new X-Trail — a 1.6-litre petrol, a 1.6-litre diesel and a 2.0-litre diesel.

Nissan X-Trail

We spent most of our time with the 1.6-litre petrol. This develops 161bhp and 240Nm of torque, taking the car 4×4 from 0-60mph in 9.5 seconds and up to a top speed of 124mph. Nissan claim that it’s capable of 46mpg while producing CO2 emissions of 145g/km.

The Japanese manufacturer also expects the most popular engine to be the 1.6-litre diesel. It produces 126bhp and 320Nm of torque, resulting in a 0-60mph time of 10.8 seconds and a top speed of 116mph. Fuel economy is a claimed 53.3mpg with CO2 emissions of 139g/km.

What’s it like to drive?

On the road, the X-Trail surprisingly feels like a much smaller car to drive — more akin to a Micra than a fully-fledged 4×4.

The 1.6-litre petrol combined with the six-speed manual proved responsive and versatile, requiring few changes and allowing for a dynamic drive.

Nissan X-Trail

Our only real problem with the driving experience was the sometimes overly-intrusive Stand Still assist — it can hold on too long on lower inclines, leading to frustration at junctions.

A brief stint with a four-wheel drive diesel model off-road really showcased the X-Trail’s ability to go anywhere.

Thanks to a high torque output, it was able to comfortably tread through the dirty stuff with almost no throttle input whatsoever, and at no point felt out of its depth.

How does it look?

A facelift to the X-Trail has turned a once bloated looking car into something with more aggression and road presence.

To some, that may not be a good thing but we think the changes have made a huge positive impact.

If you combine the fresh looks with the new Monarch Orange colour, you’ll have something that your kids won’t be embarrassed to be dropped off at school in and will catch the eye of other road users.

What’s it like inside?

Sitting in the X-Trail is a pleasant experience. High quality materials feature throughout the cabin, with no hard-touch plastics in sight.

Nissan X-Trail

Seating is comfortable with plenty of space for both the driver and front passenger, while three adults can comfortably sit in the middle row. An extra two rear seats are optionally available, but the Bose audio system is not available with this — worth bearing in mind if good audio equipment is important to you.

A few niggly problems did arise, though. Using the infotainment display in bright sunlight on the move was near-impossible due to high amounts of glare and in the diesel models, the engine sound is a little over-intrusive.

What’s the spec like?

Four trims are on offer for the X-Trail: Visia, Acenta, N-Connecta and the top-spec Tekna.

Standard equipment on all models includes an electric handbrake, Stand Still assist, cruise control, LED daytime running lights and Bluetooth connectivity.

Nissan X-Trail

The N-Connecta spec we drove also came with push-start ignition, a seven-inch touch screen infotainment system, 18-inch alloy wheels, leather trim and Nissan’s hands-free tailgate opening system.

For the £30k the car we drove cost, you’re getting about as much kit as you should expect at this price point and perhaps just as much as you’ll need for a family hauler.

If you plan on using the car as a go-anywhere machine though, you’d be better off going for a four-wheel drive equipped model — only available with a diesel engine.


The facelifted Nissan X-Trail is almost all the car you’d ever need if you want a family hauler.

It’s extremely spacious, practical, easy to drive and rather well-equipped. It does have its niggling issues, but ultimately there’s nothing majorly wrong with the car. It even makes for a great casual off-roader.

Although the top-end models can be pricey, especially compared to the likes of the Skoda Kodiaq, mid-range versions provide more than enough for most needs at a decent value.


Model: Nissan X-Trail N-Connecta 2WD
Price as tested: £30,095
Engine: 1.6-litre petrol
Power (bhp): 161
Torque (Nm): 240
Max speed (mph): 124
0-60mph: 9.5 seconds
MPG: 46mpg
Emissions (g/km): 145

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