Car reviews - Nissan - X-Trail - Ti 5-dr wagon
New modern design, refined cabin and comfortable seating, great storage compartments, high level of safety equipment, updated infotainment system, loaded with kit
Room for improvement
Ride and handling could be better, full-sized spare not standard, thirstier than claimed fuel figure suggests
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6 Nov 2014
Price and Equipment
AS YOU would expect from a top-of-the-line variant the Ti comes standard with every bell and whistle on the X-Trail features list.
This includes 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, seven-inch colour display, Nissan Connect infotainment system with digital radio and iPod connectivity, sat-nav, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats with the driver’s being eight-way power adjustable, rear-view and surround-view cameras, blind spot and lane departure warning, power tailgate, tinted glass and sunroof.
While there is a space saver spare, these are for temporary use only and in an all-wheel drive SUV which may be taken a little further a field, a full-size spare alloy wheel would have been pleasing to see.
Even at $44,680 this is excellent value-for-money, but the X-Trail plays in the super competitive medium SUV segment.
All vying for the attention of growing families, weekend adventurers and grey nomads are rivals in the form Subaru’s capable Forester 2.5-S AWD ($43,990), Toyota’s trusted RAV4 Cruiser ($47,290) and the current segment leader – Mazda’s CX-5 Akera ($46,570).
The third-generation X-Trail brought with it a redesigned cabin with a modern feel and premium touches such as push-button ignition on even the base model.
There are some carry-over parts such as the all-wheel drive selector dial on the centre console.
The Ti adds leather trim to the seats, steering wheel and shifter.
Front seats are comfortable and supportive, while those in the back are more bench-like, but still stylish. Rear legroom is generous and this 190cm writer has can sit behind his own driving position with about 40mm to spare.
The Ti is a five-seater, but if it’s a seven-seater you’re after Nissan offers a third row on the two-wheel drive versions of the ST ($31,580) and ST-L ($37,190). We sampled the ST-L, too, and found the third row a touch cramped so best to keep kids only back there.
Storage space throughout is excellent with a bin under the armrest big enough to stow the takeaway or a handbag. There are enormous pockets in the doors for drink bottles, while the cargo area features multi-level compartments which Nissan calls “Divide and Hide” for your gear.
On one particular outing we were loaded up with four adults, a baby in a car seat and a pram in the back for a couple of hours. While there wasn’t a stack of room left over, everything that was needed was able to fit the car and all onboard were comfortable – once the bub fell asleep, that is.
Engine and transmission
Powering the Ti is a 126kW/226Nm 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine carried over from the previous generation SUV.
Coming exclusively with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) the Ti, like all X-Trail four-wheel drive variants, has a limited slip differential. There’s a three-mode 4x4 system with the driver able to switch between two-wheel drive, all-wheel drive auto or permanent four-wheel drive in which the centre diff can be locked.
Nissan claims an average combined fuel consumption of 8.3 litres per 100km, but after a week of daily duties, with a bit of toggling between two- and four-wheel drive we returned 13.5L/100km.
A bonus is that nothing more than 91RON is needed at the petrol station.
Ride and handling
Armed with Active Ride Control which modulates the engine and brakes over bumps, plus its monocoque body on a new platform with MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link suspension in the rear, the expectations were high for the Ti’s dynamics and on-road behavior.
While the Ti’s ride is comfortable on smooth surfaces, it can be a little uncomposed when confronted by patchier roads. Handling while acceptable, could be improved.
That said the cockpit is well insulated, the elevated driving position is commanding with good visibility helped even more by the multiple cameras.
The electric power steering is light and makes city driving and parking easy.
This test pilot has taken the previous generation four-wheel drive X-Trail thousands of kilometres across the Outback and along the Oodnadatta Track in South Australia where it proved itself to be more off-road capable that its looks suggested.
Although we didn’t submit this new generation SUV to the same torture test and we doubt most buyers will, the four-wheel drive system works well for small off-road excursions.
That said if you plan on tackling something more challenging, fr example the Simpson Dessert and you want to stay with Nissan, then skip straight to Patrol.
The new-gen’s ground clearance has been dropped by 5mm at 210mm with a approach angle of 24.9 degrees and a departure angle of 17.2. The maximum braked towing capacity is 1500kg or 750kg unbraked.
All-wheel drive is not just an off-road tool, it’s a safety aid, too. Selecting the AWD-Auto setting on wet days will ensure the best possible traction. An experiment on one torrential day using a long driveway found that accelerating hard in two-wheel drive resulted in brief wheel spin while in AWD-Auto we could accelerate with the same force without any detectable loss of traction.
Our Ti rolled on 225/60R18 ST30 Dunlop Grandtrek tyres which produced no noticeable road noise.
Safety and servicing
The new X-Trail has a five star ANCAP crash test rating sand features six air-bags, ABS, EBD, traction and stability control.
It’s great to see a reversing camera on all variants, while the Ti gets as even more comprehensive safety kit which includes the surround view camera and the excellent moving object detection system which alerts the driver to people in close proximity to the vehicle.
The X-Trail is covered by a three-year/100,000km warranty with capped-price servicing and 24-hour roadside assistance.
The X-Trail has been given the modern good looks needed to keep up with its stylish rivals in the medium SUV segment. The refined spacious cabin of the Ti is a comfortable place with great in-car tech and storage.
Ride and handling, while adequate could be improved given Nissan’s wealth of technology and know-how in this area.
Loaded with standard features at a price point that represents good value for money, the X-Trail Ti looks great, is pleasant and easy to drive, while being a safe and practical family SUV.
Subaru Forester 2.5-S AWD, from $43,990 plus on-road costs
With its 126kW/235Nm 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine and CVT the sharply priced Forester is a good match for the X-Trail Ti in terms of grunt, but the Subey’s ride is more composed and the handling is better, plus it has 10mm more ground clearance at 220mm. The Forester’s cabin, however, is becoming outdated and isn’t as refined as the X-Trail’s. Braked towing capacity is 1500kg.
Toyota RAV4 Cruiser, from $47,290 plus on-road costs
Another long-time family favourite in this segment, the RAV4 received fresh looks when the larger bodied fourth-generation model arrived in 2013. Powered by a 132kW/233Nm 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine the RAV4 has Toyota’s all-wheel drive DNA but its 136mm ground clearance is less than that of the Forester and X-Trail. Braked towing capacity is 1500kg.
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