When our beloved Aussie family wagon of 17 years finally had us doing an expected cardio sessions four times in two weeks, we knew it was time to upgrade, or cancel our gym memberships!
After a quick test drive of a sub-$30K ST Nissan X-Trail, I was impressed. The electric steering was light and effortless. The reverse camera was a surprise in such an affordable car, the flat-bottom steering wheel was a small pleasure and the all-round visibility was excellent. The car drove very well, had eager performance when pressed in traffic, the seats were comfortable and the foot-operated handbrake was breeze to use.
We decided on the ST-L in a 7-seat option, but were then surprised to find out it only came with a front drive layout. How annoying! Nissan, please address this when I choose to buy another one - I'd love a 7-seat TI turbo diesel next time...
X-Trails have grown considerably in size since the T32 model introduction in 2014. Leg and head room in the front and rear was more than expected. The ability to slide the rear seat forward to create more cargo volume is a real winner for me. The storage options in the rear with the false floor being present was another plus in the 'hide the junk out of my trunk' Olympics. The space saver under the floor does not bother… after all, this is an urban SUV, not a low-range rock crawler for serious bearded people.
The ergonomics are excellent for someone of my height (175cm). When you open the door, you slide across easily to get in (tick). The steering wheel has loads of adjustment, the dash layout is very pleasing to my eyes, and I especially like the white-lit analogue dials and well-sized information screen and menu options between the speedometer and tachometer.
Little touches like the heated/cooled front cup holders are a delight when needed. The heated seats (bottom only) are good and work fast. The air conditioning is very strong and cools our black car in summer quite quickly. One of the best features of this car has to be the 360-degree camera. The front, side, and rear views makes parking super easy. Blind spot warning, AEB, 6 airbags, ABS, and traction control all add up to a car that has a host of safety credentials to keep it in the mix with other brands.
Despite not having a turbo petrol engine or DSG gearbox, the old NA 2.5-litre 'big block' 4-cylinder does an admirable job of getting us around. Combined with its CVT transmission, it makes the most of the available performance and economy on offer. The fact that this engine/gearbox combination has been around for ages makes me feel safe in the knowledge that it must be a proven package by now.
As you can tell, I am quite happy with our car – it fills the void left by the demise of our beloved Aussie 6-cylinder wagon.
The ST-L comes with sat-nav, DAB and Bluetooth connectivity, but no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Compared to our old car, this infotainment system is light years ahead of our tape deck, but compared to its rivals, the Nissan 'trails' in this department.
Overall, if family duties are a high priority, and simplicity of operation and practicality are important virtues, it would be hard to go past a Nissan X- Trail considering the low cost of admission and now with a 5-year warranty!!!
Thank you for making it this far... have a great day.