The Nissan X-Trail has been a well-loved car in Australia, and despite it now being a bit long in the tooth, it hasn't stopped many from buying one. In 2019, it was the third best-selling medium SUV in the country.
Overseas, Nissan has recently unveiled the car that will replace the current X-Trail and is badged as the Rogue in America. Timing and specifications for Australia are still to be confirmed at this stage.
Aside from a $150 price bump earlier in the year, the 2020 Nissan X-Trail Ti mostly retains the same features and specifications as before, but adds locally fitted rear park sensors, and is priced from $45,490 before on-road costs. Special-offer pricing at the time of writing sees the X-Trail Ti on offer from $44,490 drive-away.
Standard safety gear includes autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, and six airbags.
Other features found in the X-Trail Ti include: leather seat trim (in black or tan), auto lights and wipers, proximity key with push-button start, LED headlights with adaptive lighting and high-beam assist, an opening panoramic sunroof, and electrically adjustable front seats.
Under the bonnet is a 2.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine mated to a CVT transmission. Outputs of 126kW at 6000rpm and 226Nm at 4400rpm aren't any real highlight, though they remain reasonable for the medium-SUV segment.
The majority of the time spent in this car was on a 3000km road trip, mostly divided into three-hour stints at a time. There were no complaints about discomfort with the leather seats, and the armrests were extremely padded. The overall design of the cabin isn't spectacular, but it feels hard-wearing and sturdy, which is exactly what you would want. The Ti comes with a heated steering wheel, not always necessary in Australia most of the time, but it's a nifty feature to have on a chilly Melbourne morning.
The cooled cupholders were a blessing for bottled water, especially when towns were sometimes hundreds of kilometres apart. My passenger and I had different needs when it came to air-conditioning, so dual-zone climate control was also a lifesaver.
In the rear, there's plenty of room for kids to play around in, with excellent leg and head room. Nissan uses 'EZ Flex' to describe the ability to slide, recline or fold the second row with a 60:40 split, which opens up options for passenger comfort or cargo hauling. The rear seats are heated, too, and there are air vents ducted into the rear as well.
However, there were no coat hooks, so five jackets had to be awkwardly hooked onto one of the rear grab handles. If you often carry a coat or jacket for work, you'll know how vital this tiny feature can be.
Two large suitcases fitted side-by-side into the 565L boot without any trouble at all, and if you have your hands full, the tailgate can be opened by waving your foot under the rear of the car. Thanks to the space for a third row, Nissan offers five-seat models like the Ti with 'Divide-n-Hide' boot sections, which provide a configurable way to hide small items under the floor or help keep groceries and soft bags upright and in place.
The hardy removable floor shelf was fitted to the top level to make a bit of extra width for our trip. It would've been extra reassuring knowing there was a full-size spare wheel, but the space-saver would have to do.
We made use of Nissan’s inbuilt satellite navigation on the 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, but to keep us on track, we also had Google Maps on in the background to compare routes. The majority of the time they both followed each other, which was great. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are, for the time being, still missing from the X-Trail's spec sheet. Nissan does have a newer infotainment system on models like the Juke, Leaf and Navara, but the X-Trail looks set to stick with its older system until the all-new model arrives.
The 2.5-litre petrol engine was happy sitting on 100km/h, especially with adaptive cruise control, even though it wasn’t that reliable on declines, creeping faster and faster. When it came time to overtake road trains, it was a bit of a struggle to get it going with its 126kW of power and 226Nm of torque. Punchy turbo engines on some competitors like the Honda CR-V, Volkswagen Tiguan and Mazda CX-5 feel more rapid when a burst of acceleration is needed.
Loaded with souvenirs and heavy suitcases, the X-Trail was averaging 7.5L/100km on freeways and 9.9L/100km driving around town sightseeing. Its combined claim is 8.3L/100km, so it wasn’t too bad. The capacity of the fuel tank is 60L.
Most of the kilometres driven were country roads, which its 19-inch alloy wheels picked up a lot of bumps, and we felt it may have been a smoother ride on the 17-inch wheels that come standard in the lower ST, TS and ST-L variants. The sound insulation within the cabin wasn’t great on dirt roads, and we noticed we had to talk much louder, but it was fine once it was back on bitumen.
We did some exploring off the beaten track, and the all-wheel-drive system had no problem dealing with dirt tracks on an incline. The hill descent did its job perfectly, even though we weren’t on very rocky or steep roads to see it work to its full potential. Hill-start assist was handy when it came to stopping halfway up a hill to look at the local wildlife, and the 11.3m turning circle was average for tighter turns.
Away from the wide-open spaces, the X-Trail Ti fits in nicely with town and city streets. Steering is light and effortless at parking speeds, visibility is good without being a standout, but the 360-degree camera, with a dedicated button to activate it as you need, helps keep an eye on the area surrounding the car.
The CVT automatic fades into the background most of the time, but can pin the engine revs and generate some additional noise if you need to bring the car to speed on a freeway on-ramp. For ambling about town, it's much more agreeable.
Capped-price servicing is available, with intervals being 10,000km or 12 months. Services are priced at $240, $349, $240, $443 and $240 respectively for the first five dealer visits. It is covered by Nissan's five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty with five years of roadside assist. In 2017, it was tested by ANCAP and received a five-star ANCAP safety rating.
The X-Trail did its job just fine during its week-long journey. It was comfortable and spacious on the long drives and was economical.
Although it struggled with the more challenging roads, it was a reminder that it’s a family car more suited to dropping the kids off to school or the occasional camping weekend, which it does very well.