The Nissan X-Trail was recently updated, but looking at it, you\'d probably never realise.
- 2011 Nissan X-Trail ST; 2.5-litre, four-cylinder, petrol; six-speed manual; five-door SUV
The compact SUV market is burgeoning these days. Every major manufacturer has one to offer, so there has to be something special about a compact SUV to grab your attention and separate it from the pack. The Nissan X-Trail was recently updated, but looking at it, you'd probably never realise. That's a shame, because some may overlook what is essentially a great compact SUV.
The X-Trail ST 4WD (as tested here) is the base specification, but it now gets a six-stacker CD/MP3 plus Bluetooth as standard. On the steering wheel, there's cruise control, audio controls and phone call/end buttons; the wheel is also height and reach adjustable. As far as features go, the X-Trail ST is already loaded up and that's before you get to the more expensive models in the range.
The whole boot is plastic coated, which can be a little annoying when prams and bags slide around, but at least you won't get your carpet hacked to bits by sharp objects. But the backs of the rear seats are also covered in plastic meaning that when you fold them down, there's a massive, completely flat floor area for loading cargo. In fact, it's that big you could lay down a mattress and sleep in it.
It takes a little over nine seconds to get from 0-100km/h and with the recent upgrade, the engine makes the same power and torque (125kW and 226Nm) but fuel use has dropped. It now uses 9.1 litres/100km on the ADR combined cycle but on test we managed slightly higher than that: 10.9L/100km, which for city driving and a bit of off-road work means it's got plenty of potential to drop a lot further.
Off-road it's a similar story. The on-demand system keeps drive happening seamlessly, so much so that even soft beach sand is no challenge, provided the ESC is switched off. If you're thinking about doing sand work and opting for a self-shifter, then don't, unless you're buying a diesel X-Trail: the petrol comes with a CVT transmission and it takes forever to wind up, by which time you'll have bogged yourself.
That ANCAP rating and the slightly awkward styling are about the only drawbacks to the X-Trail. Its smoothness, off-road ability, ride and practicality all shine through to make this a logical choice for a family who wants a car to get out and about on the weekends.
It has more room than the Toyota RAV4, Subaru Forester and Mazda CX-7 and is better off-road than all three. Its on-road manners, however, aren't quite as good as the aforementioned, so it all comes down to what you need. If a colossal boot, good passenger comfort, and decent ground clearance and suspension travel are on your hitlist, then the X-Trail should be, too.