Nissan X-Trail T31 vs T32
It was the first time ever that I bought the same brand and a follow-up model in succession. Am I happy with the decision? Well, you decide.
I was fortunate to drive both vehicles to the Grampians National Park two years in a row. On both occasions, we travelled to the western part, where there are many more low- to mid-grade bush tracks to tackle. The scenery is majestic and at the same time rugged. The tracks are relatively sandy with corrugations. On both occasions, we switched from front-wheel drive to all-wheel-drive mode. There were considerable differences between the two vehicles under the same driving conditions.
Firstly, the interior. The T32 is roomier for all passengers, but less so for luggage. Noticeably, the dash has much less storage space than the T31. It is lots quieter in the T32. The GPS/digital radio and more modern dash layout makes for nice surroundings. It is more like car comfort on a long highway run.
Secondly, the chassis set-up. The T31 has longer-travel suspension and thicker tyres. It handled the corrugations and sandy tracks with ease. The T32's lower ground clearance prevented us venturing off to the higher-grade tracks, which I have done with the T31 in the past. The front suspension of the T32 has a car-like characteristic (in many ways similar to an Altima that I hired once – maybe the T32 is a station wagon version of an Altima?). However, the rear end seems to be disjointed from the front set-up with more rolling motions during cornering.
Thirdly, the engine and CVT combo. Although both have the same engine and CVT set-up, they could not be any further apart. The T32 can be switched to either Power or Econ mode. The CVT and engine program changes the initial response with a more progressive motion in Econ mode. The Power mode is simply too sensitive for day-to-day driving in front-wheel-drive form.
On a regular city run in Econ mode, I can easily achieve 8L/100km consumption. I managed to do 5.6–5.9L/100km many times driving to and from Melbourne Airport along the tollway. The most that I have managed was between Parramatta in NSW to Epping in Melbourne – just over 850km with one 61L tank of fuel (air-con/luggage/three-up/passing slow travellers without hesitation).
So, how would I sum up the T32 purchase? It is a good highway cruiser, just don't take it too far off the beaten tracks.