We drove Nissan’s crossover for a week. Is it really worthy of its “Testosterone Driven” tagline? Read on.
To say that the much awaited update to Nissan’s popular marque thrilled the socks off of aficionados is not an understatement. The third-generation X-Trail’s contemporary styling and masculine appearance wowed fans of the previous generation, and made new ones from the over 190 markets it is being sold all over the world.
Built in Nissan’s Kyushu plant in Japan, the handsome crossover is no longer the boxy carriage it used to be. It’s bigger, bolder, with fluid lines and a broader athletic stance that makes it look even bigger than it actually is. It also features the V-motion front grille design that unifies its look with Nissan’s current line up. It comes with sleek, boomerang-shaped head and tail lamps, as well as LED daytime running lights.
Inside, the cabin is very roomy when in the 5-seater configuration. When not in use, the third row folds flat, and the second row slides back, to make way for more luggage and leg room. For added versatility, the second and third row seats can be folded in a variety of configurations depending on the requirement. The 4×2’s come with fabric seats, while the 4×4 variant come with leather seats.
In the driver’s seat, the tilt and telescopic steering wheel that comes with audio control buttons is easy to position, and the instrument panel is straightforward and easy to read. Like the 4×4 variant, the 4×2 we drove also has a 5-inch TFT display between the tach and speedometer, although it lacks some of the other features found in the higher spec’d variant.
The whole interior is sporty black gray, and is highlighted by carbon fiber, shiny black and chrome trims. Entertainment is courtesy of a 2-DIN head unit with CD/tuner/MP3/AUX/USB/iPod connectivity functions.
Available in five color ways: fiery red; diamond black; pearl white; brilliant silver; and copper blaze which is exclusive to the 4×4 variant.
The 4×2 X-Trail is powered by Nissan’s (ME20DD) 2.0-liter engine that produces maximum power of 144Ps @ 6,000rpm and torque of 200Nm @ 4,400rpm. The engine is mated to Nissan’s XTRONIC Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with the option of manual mode.
Suspension is courtesy of independent struts with stabilizers in front, and independent multi-links with stabilizers at the rear. It comes with front and rear disk brakes, 17-inch alloy wheels, and a limited slip differential (LSD).
Safety features include driver and passenger SRS airbags; ABS with electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and brake assist (BA); vehicle dynamic control with hill start assist (HSA); LED high mount break lamp; keyless system with remote; and engine immobilizer.
One thing the 4×2 variant sorely lacks is parking assistance or reverse sensors. Only the 4×4 variant’s Around View Monitor (AVM) that stitches a 360-degree view of the whole vehicle using four cameras mounted on the bumpers and side mirrors, and displayed on the 5-inch touchscreen head unit addresses this.
Air conditioning that Nissan is known for is taken care of by a full auto, dual-zone climate control system that guarantees passenger comfort.
Sometimes, the simplest things make the biggest impact. For the duration of the testing, I didn’t have to rummage through my bag for the car keys because of the X-Trail’s intelligent key and push engine start system. While this is something many vehicles come with these days, it is always an appreciated feature.
Another thing is Nissan’s zero gravity seats that are one of the most comfortable in the SUV segment, hands down. The NASA-inspired seats provide good lumbar support no matter the height or size of the driver and front passenger.
Driving the X-Trail is an easy task. Steering is responsive and confident in turns. Body roll is minimal, and the ride is basically smooth, thanks to its electronic assists.
Because of its heft and displacement, the 2.0-liter may not be the zippiest and most fuel efficient in its class especially for city driving, but thankfully, this improves when its allowed to stretch its legs on long drives. Maneuvering tight spots also takes a bit of getting used to because visibility is somewhat obstructed by the size of its hood.
The X-Trail doesn’t feel and perform like a compact crossover. The stability and comfort it affords, most especially in 5-seater mode, is a class above its segment.
The 2.0-Liter 4×2 CVT is priced at PHP1,375,000, while the top-of-the-line 2.5-Liter 4×4 variant is pegged at PHP 1,599,000.
While owners might not want to cede control over the wheel, I’m thinking it would also make for a great chauffer-driven car.
- Looks good
- One of the best front seats in the SUV market
- Fuel consumption not ideal for city driving
- Not advisable as a 7-seater