1 Oct 2001
NISSAN’S first entrant in the burgeoning compact SUV 4WD wagon market took Australia by storm on its low-key 2001 release.
Developed from the front-wheel Nissan Primera mid-sized sedan not available in Australia, Nissan fashioned a conservative yet highly appealing two-box four-door station wagon that promised slightly more practicality than, say, the stubbier Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester.
Clever male-orientated marketing, showing the X-Trail used and abused with trail bikes and other ‘blokey’ outdoor pursuits, was another factor behind the Nissan SUV’s startling success.
The T30 X-Trail’s 4WD system is a simple part-time device.
Pushing the 2WD button locks the Nissan as a front-driver to save a little bit of fuel during normal road conditions.
Hitting the "auto" 4WD button next to it when the surface becomes loose or wet and drive will be sent to the rear wheels via an electronically controlled coupling if the sensors detect a need for traction.
And push the "lock" button when crawling through the bush at speeds up to 30km/h and 4WD becomes permanent with a 57:43 front-rear split - above that speed, the system reverts to the auto mode.
The system is a variation of the serious four-wheel drive system underneath Pathfinder (but with a push-button not rotary dial), except that in two-wheel drive the X-Trail drives its front wheels and there's no low range.
The baseline ST runs to remote locking, air-conditioning, a four-speaker single-CD stereo, electric windows, twin airbags and a strong-performing quartet of disc brakes backed with ABS, electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist.
The top-spec Ti model adds climate and cruise control, an in-dash six-CD stereo with six speakers, 16-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, variable intermittent wipers, rear roof spoiler, different interior trims and some leather trim.
Both models use a 2.5-litre inline four producing 132kW at 6000rpm and a big 245Nm of torque at 4000rpm, offered with a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic gearbox.
From December 2003 the Series II facelift arrived.
Car spotters will have difficulty identifying it.
The bumpers have been very subtly redesigned, as have the foglights on Ti and Ti-L versions, plus there are slightly wider "spars" bordering the Nissan badge in the grille.
The interior has had more of a rework, retaining the central instrument cluster but swapping tacho and fuel and temperature gauge positions, moving the drink cooler/holder apertures to the outboard edges of the dash, relocating the air vents that formerly ran across the centre console section of the dash to two separate vents either side of the radio, and giving the driver an adjustable face-level vent directly above the steering wheel.
The controller for the All-Mode 4WD system is now a Pathfinder-style rotating knob to the left of the (also redesigned) four-spoke steering wheel.
The Ti was joined by the more luxury-orientated Ti-L, while the base ST model remains.
In early 2006, to meet Euro III stage emissions requirements, the X-Trail’s 2.5-litre engine’s power and torque outputs dropped slightly, to 123kW and 230Nm.