Malaysians should be familiar with the Nissan X-Trail. The butch crossover from Nissan was not only spacious but it also came with rugged versatility, such as the plastic front fenders that will pop back into shape in minor bumps, and the boot that was equipped with a plastic tray which can be taken out and hosed down with ease. A favourite choice among the Malaysian officials is also saying a lot about the hardy X-Trail.
The X-Trail might have look like it has been on sale for ages but in fact, it actually arrived in the market a few years later than the Honda CR-V. While the CR-V was seen evolving from generation to generation, the X-Trail stayed true to its boxy looks portraying its tough go-anywhere capabilities; but not anymore with this third generation T32 X-Trail.
|Name||Nissan X-Trail 2.5L 4WD|
|Engine||2,488 cc 4-Cylinder, Normally-Aspirated|
|Transmission||Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)|
|Max Power||167 hp @ 6,000 rpm|
|Max Torque||233 Nm @ 4,000 rpm|
The total redesign might be an attempt to keep the X-Trail competitive in the ever-expanding SUV market, but we suspect the fresh dose of appearance should be able to lure a more diverse buyers from the other brands as well. It even throws in extra two seats in the back for good measure.
The T32 X-Trail made its debut here in early 2015 and it is offered in two 4-cylinder engine options, a 2.0-litre and a 2.5-litre. With a price gap of more than RM 20k between the two, the difference is more than just the engine displacement, the 2.0L model is strictly a front-wheel drive against the 2.5L model that drives all four wheels. We bagged ourselves the 2.5L variant test unit finished in Tungsten Silver, now let’s find out what the new X-Trail has to offer other than a new appearance.
It looks like the Nissan designers have misplaced their ruler when sketching the new X-Trail. Gone are the straight lines and the slab-sided profile of the previous X-Trail, replaced with an organic and athletic appearance that ties the X-Trail closer to the rest of the Nissan product range.
The X-Trail now is more pleasing to behold thanks to the smooth lines that define the more dynamic profile compared to its predecessors. The shapely front bumper adds some aggressiveness to the face, but it’s also adorned with a slash of chrome just below the air intake, as well as chrome rings surrounding a pair of foglamps for a bit of that classy touch.
The nose is highlighted by the thick and chromed V grille that frames the Nissan logo. The line from the grille then continues to flow on to the bonnet, and joined by another crease that emerges from the LED headlamps. Both lines curve towards the flanks, to become the rising shoulder line that ends up at the kicked-up rear D-pillar.
The strong side profile is accentuated by the wheel arches that houses a set of 17-inch wheels, while some eye candy comes in the form of chrome door handles and the design of the LED indicators on the side mirrors. In addition to that, the X-Trail is equipped with roof rails and black plastic cladding line the lower part of the whole vehicle for some extra ruggedness.
At the other end, the new X-Trail is missing the trademark vertical tail lights from the previous generation models, now replaced by a pair of angular items. It appears quite generic if you throw away the Nissan badge, but that’s not an issue when the back looks more appealing than the previous X-Trails.
Despite the dark colour scheme used in the X-Trail, the cabin feels spacious and airy; and with leather covering the seats, it’s a comfortable place to sit in too. Another reason it’s so comfortable is the zero-gravity inspired seats that supports your body at the right places so you’ll stay fresh as a daisy even on long drives.
Electric adjustments are only reserved to the two front seats, the rest rely on levers and straps to manipulate their form. The second row seats split, slide, and tumble forward to give access to a couple of third row “complimentary” seats that can be raised or lowered by a tug of the strap.
Getting in and out of the third row is still a bit of a squeeze, but at least the rear doors open to a wide angle to facilitate that. There are acres of space for everyone bar the two unfortunate souls in the third row, and it can feel quite claustrophobic due to the rising side window line and the thick D-pillars; but smaller-sized kids will fit in there just fine. Everyone gets a three-point safety belt, but sadly there are only two airbags in the whole cabin.
With the last row of seats in place, boot space is limited for some light groceries. Fold them down and you get 550 litres of real estate, and even more when you fold down the second row seats. The boot floor is quite high but you do get a small compartment to stow away the tonneau cover at the edge of the spare wheel bay.
Dual zone climate control is standard fitment, complete with blowers for the second row passengers, but our test unit is fitted with the optional TCAT touch screen multimedia system instead of a standard 5-inch screen in the middle of the dashboard. Other than the bigger screen size, the upgrade adds GPS navigation into the mix.
Cabin practicalities are fine, there’s a well-sized glovebox, deep cubby under the front central armrest, a 12v power outlet in the boot, while each row have at least two cupholders (the first row cupholders are chilled as well). The build quality seems solid enough, although some of the materials used feel cheap, such as the glossy plastic surrounding the gearlever and the hill descent switch next to the drive mode knob on the center console.
The 2.5-litre engine has survived since the first-gen X-Trail, but it’s now producing 169 hp and 233 Nm of torque. With that amount of power, the 0 to 100 km/h sprint time and top speed should be tolerable because it doesn’t really matter for the daily grind although the fuel consumption is rated at around 8.3 litres per 100km.
A CVT is tasked to send the power to the All-Mode 4×4-i System, and you can choose from 2WD, Auto, or lock it in full 4WD mode via a knob on the center console. Complimenting the AWD system is the Advanced Hill Descent Control (AHDC).
The 360 degree birds eye view camera has to be one of the main selling points of the new X-Trail. Aided by the four cameras located around the exterior, they’re reliably accurate so you should be able to slot the X-Trail in the tightest parking spot available. Having said, if you are still unable to park the X-Trail properly in a normal parking bay then maybe you should consider to retake your driving test.
After experiencing the serene calmness of the 2.0-litre 4-cylinder unit in the Teana, the 2.5-litre unit in this X-Trail sounds gruff and agricultural when pushed. However, it delivers impressive performance while the CVT paired to the engine deserves a praise too; it mimics the stepped gearchange of a conventional torque-converter automatic quite well thus minimising the usual CVT rubberband effect.
Ambling along the city roads, the X-Trail rides comfortably, smothering any imperfection in its path and as you venture to the highway, the X-Trail becomes a refined cruiser almost similar to the Teana with its pillowy ride as well as encapsulating its occupants from the outside noise.
The handling is safe and secure, by virtue of the Active Trace Control (ATC). Like torque vectoring, it senses and brakes individual wheels to allow for a better turn in to corners, making the X-Trail handle with admirable deftness.
The ATC is part of the Active Chassis Control (ACC), that also consists of Active Ride Control (ARC) and Active Engine Brake (AEB). The ARC is said to provide a smoother ride over road humps while the AEB utilises the CVT for engine braking. I didn’t really feel the former make any difference to the notorious multiple speed bumps of Jalan PJU 7/2, but the latter works whenever you lift off the throttle, slowing the vehicle down even when you’re not applying the brakes.
Although the X-Trail is most likely to be used to ferry kids to school and soccer practice, it’s actually a more capable vehicle than most would think it is; because the All-Mode 4×4-i System allows you to traverse the broken path beyond the school’s football field. Just twist the knob on the center console to choose from 2WD, 4WD, or Auto, and the X-Trail will take care of the rest for you.
In 2WD mode you will get a front wheel drive SUV, but by default you can leave the knob in Auto position, where the system will shift the power by up to 50 percent to the rear axle when needed, intelligently. Like any other “intelligent” 4WD system in other vehicles, the transition is seamless, but in case you doubt the system is even functioning at all, you can watch it work by looking at the 5-inch digital display between the meter cluster.
The 4WD mode is when you’re in the mood for some moderate off-roading session, like that sudden urge to climb a hill on a perfectly fine Sunday afternoon. Okay, even if you never have that kind of urge, the X-Trail is capable to crawl through rutted terrain and climb up a hill or two. Coming down shouldn’t be a problem either. Turn on the AHDC switch located next to the drive knob, and let the car control the engine and braking while you steer the car safely into path, making you look like a Camel Trophy veteran.
Fuel economy is acceptable for a vehicle this size and a large 4-cylinder petrol engine under the bonnet. We managed to score 7.0 l/100 km during our mixed driving, which is better than the claimed figure.
IS THIS CAR FOR YOU?
If you have a growing family thinking of upgrading from a C-segment sedan and you can’t be seen driving an MPV, the X-Trail is a worthy SUV to consider. The cabin is spacious and practical enough, and your missus would appreciate the commanding SUV driving position and the 360 degree camera. The inclusion of the All-Mode 4×4-i System could also come in handy in the time of need.
For those of you who are still single, the X-Trail could be your all-in-one vehicle. It’s pleasantly comfortable, spacious, and it can get you to almost everywhere with little effort behind the wheel.
We’re comparing the X-Trail with Honda’s refreshed CR-V and Mazda’s hot-selling CX-5. The CX-5 is the most expensive here, but the X-Trail and the CR-V are priced within a few hundred ringgits of each other. The CR-V has the smallest 4-cylinder lump under its bonnet but the 2.4-litre i-VTEC produces the most horses while the 2.5-litre SkyActiv-G in the CX-5 has the most torque.
The CX-5 has extra goodies to reflect its asking price, such as sunroof and a fancy Bose sound system. Size-wise the X-Trail is the biggest of the lot, and it’s the only vehicle to offer seating for up to seven. It’s also the only car with the least amount of airbags though.
|Nissan X-Trail 2.5 4WD
||Honda CR-V 2.4 4WD i-VTEC||Mazda CX5 2.5 SkyActiv-G 4WD
|Type||Inline 4-cylinder||Inline 4-cylinder||Inline 4-cylinder|
|Type||Electric power-steering||Electric power-steering||Electric power-steering|
|Transmission||CVT||5-speed Automatic||6-speed Automatic|
|Type||Front/Rear||MacPherson strut/Multi-link||MacPherson strut/Double wishbone||MacPherson strut/Multi-link|
|Front||Ventilated disc||Ventilated disc||Ventilated disc|
|Rear||Ventilated disc||Solid disc||Solid disc|
|TYRE & WHEELS|
|Tyres||225/65 R17||225/60 R18||225/65 R17|
|DIMENSIONS & WEIGHTS|
|Luggage Capacity (VDA)||L||550||589||403|
|Tank Capacity||60 litres||58 litres||58 litres|
|Consumption (Combined)||8.3 L/100 km||8.5 L/100 km||N/A|
|0 – 100km/h||sec||N/A||10.7||9.7|
WILL I BUY IT?
The X-Trail qualifies as the best case scenario for a universal vehicle. It should please most family man/woman because it’s easy to live with and it can even be the sole workhorse for a single household. It’s a sensible all-rounder with amicable road manners but its low airbag count might put some people off, although the ACC is there to prevent from the worse to happen.
At this price point I’d happily recommend the X-Trail to anyone seeking an easy to drive go-anywhere vehicle, but personally I’d rather sacrifice the “plus two” seats and top up a bit more for something with a little more verve. I think you know which SUV I’m referring to based on the comparison table above.