I recently purchased the new Nissan X-trail after owning the original T-30 (2006 model). With a growing family I opted for the 7 seats, which only comes in 2wd. I initially thought this would be a problem as we use the car for many holidays including camping and various trips. I also tow a camper trailer and have found it performs exceptionally well.
The new car is improved in so many ways. Firstly the way it drives is far more comfortable than the old model. It handles better and the combination of the CVT gearbox and the retuned engine (it is effectively still the old engine) responds extremely well on the open road. I have no problems with this as I have had not one spot of bother with the old X-trail. It has been faultless. This was a deciding factor on why I chose another X-trail.
On a recent trip to the snow with two adults and full of gear I averaged 7.1 litres/ 100 for the whole trip. This with only 2000 Kim's on the clock and driving not at all conservatively. On my recent trip with a full load with children, roof pod and bike rack on the back I got 7.4.
I test drove (hired both Mitsubishi and Subaru with CVT) for a few days on interstate trips and found the X-trail far superior. It's more responsive and the interior much nicer than both the outlander and Forester. The standard reverse camera, Bluetooth with audio streaming and overall versatility with 7 seats was a huge plus for me. With three children the extra space in the back (much more than the old model) and rear vents were mandatory.
I also test drove the Kia Sorrento with 7 seats, but found no need for the V6 and couldn't justify the extra cost. Nor could I justify the extra cost of the Mazda CX-5, which was just too small and no extra seats. Nisasan were happy to negotiate and I walked away with the car, roof racks and towbar for less than 33k drive away.
I also appreciate the Nissan capped service deal. It is reasonable (about 220 for standard service) and runs for 6 years. The running costs seem to be about average up to now.
The only downside I have found is the foot park brake. The smaller wagon in the nissan family (Quashkai) has an electronic version. But the automatic hill holder does all the work anyway. The split seats also make it slightly hard to get the three booster seats buckled up without squeezing the hands in between. The middle booster seat seems to overlap the buckles.
Overall I am very happy with the purchase. It is important to slightly change your driving habits in a CVT. You need to squeeze the trigger and let the engine build up revs. If you do this then it is very smooth and economical. At cruising sped on the freeway the engine is barely over 2000rpm. Around town by squeezing the throttle has the engine and gearbox find the perfect sweet spot.
I recommend for a family with 2 kids or more to check out the X-trail.