I’m in my late 60’s and have been considering an SUV for some time, because of the ease of getting in and out, and the elevated driving position. The X-Trail wasn’t on my radar until I drove one - my son’s ST 2.5-litre 7-seater. I was impressed, so when I saw this one advertised I bought it without a second thought.
I like the styling, which I think is purposeful and “clean” without unnecessary creases and folds, and the dimensions translating into plenty of space inside. The high roofline adds to the feeling of space and airiness, unlike some other makes with their sloping/lower rooves.
Outward vision through the large windscreen and windows is very good but I have found myself needing the blind-spot monitoring a few times in heavy traffic. The powered and heated leather seats are very comfortable (with powered lumbar support for the driver) and with the seat and steering wheel adjustments, it was very easy to find a spot-on driving position.
The flat-bottomed leather-bound steering wheel feels nice and chunky, and the buttons for the most part are easy to use – my only gripe is with the smallish cruise control buttons, which take a bit of time through use before they become intuitive. The steering is light and the X-Trail is very easy to park and manoeuvre in tight spaces.
I like the dash layout. The instruments are clear and easy to read, with a large, central digital speedo. The well-sized screen controls the audio, sat nav and the like, and I’m enjoying exploring all the functions. The digital radio is brilliant through the six speakers and it has a CD player too (yippee!). When selecting reverse, the screen splits between the rear view camera and the all-round virtual bird’s-eye view, which is a real boon in congested spaces.
Apparently the 2.5-litre engine is “old school” but I consider it proven and reliable, preferring it (an atmo) over the complexity of a turbo. It has enough power for me and the CVT means smooth and easy driving. The brakes feel slightly spongy, lacking that initial bite when compared to my previous Japanese sedan - but they work well enough.
The X-Trail is well soundproofed and it’s relaxed at freeway speeds - at 100km/h the engine is ticking over at about 1700rpm and returns excellent economy in the 6’s (litres per 100 kilometres). I’m averaging mid 7’s to low 8’s for general suburban driving.
The cargo area has plenty of space and has a retractable blind. The floor is split with a handy hidey hole for valuables or to carry wet swimmers and towels etc. The carpeted floor is a bit slippery so I’m putting a ribbed rubber mat down to stop shopping bags sliding around.
Overall, I am very happy with the X-Trail but there are a few quibbles:
- the aforementioned smallish cruise control buttons,
- the foot-operated park brake - which is a bit strange but I’m used to it now,
- the start-stop button for me is on the wrong side (it should be on the right-hand side of the steering wheel),
- the space-saver spare wheel.