When I was looking to update my car I wanted one that was reliable, practical and able to do beach driving as well as some basic off-road camp sites. But I did not want/need a big cumbersome 4wd as I still do a lot of city driving around Brisbane.
To date I have not been disappointed and it has served all my purposes and more. I have put about 45,000kms on the car since buying it 2 years ago and absolutely love the car. Now I know this car devides opinions on its looks and that my uses for the car might not be the same as everyone else, but I wanted to share my experiences with the car which may help out people who were in a similar boat to me when I was looking for a car.
The cabin is a quiet, comfortable and spacious place to be for both front and rear passengers, even on camping trips with 4 adults and all their gear in the car. With well bolstered leather seats (heated up front) and a good stereo, road trips are a breeze. It is not the most up to date interior, but it is hard wearing, easy to clean and practical storage solutions are everywhere, from the extra-large glove box to cooling cup holders. The boot is quite large for vehicles in its class, with a clever slide-out draw and storage area underneath the floor which can easily be accessed even with the boot full of gear (this particular feature has impressed many of my friends). The rear seats also fold completely flat and is big enough to fit a double air mattress in.
I personally like the styling of the car as I feel it gives it a bit of personality. IMHO the new X-Trail looks very similar to many other 4wds now, good or bad is each up to their own though.
As far the off-road ability, I have (as have other friends of mine in much more capable 4wds) been pleasantly surprised with it. I never intended to go to difficult tracks where you need a heavily modified 4wd to get to, I just wanted a vehicle to be capable on the beach and to do the odd bush track. Firstly, I fitted the car with a lift kit and (slightly bigger) all-terrain tyres to make it better off-road. Being a “soft-roader” I cop a bit of light hearted ribbing from my friends, but it has never stopped me from having a go and I’m yet to get stuck since making the mods (got stuck once before). I have been to beaches such as Fraser, Double & Bribie Islands, as well as some basic 4wd tracks like Duck Creek Road and Conondale National Park.
To date, I have had no faults and the servicing has been very reasonable. The manual transmission and engine work well together, but it is by no means a performance machine. I have averaged fuel economy of about 9.5L / 100km over the two years. The ride is comfortable over bumps but corners do cause a bit of body roll if you go in too fast (the lift kit and upgraded heavy duty suspension fixed this for me).
Final note, anyone who has a T30 or T31 model X-trail, there is a great forum called the "Australian X-Trail forum" where you can find a lot of useful information about the car, including modifying them.