Nissan X-Trail Review

Find out more about the Nissan X-Trail in the latest MOTORS Review

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Out of 5


  • Smart, sensible package providing exactly what an average driver needs
  • Easy to drive at all times
  • Increased space over previous model


  • Has lost its identity to become Qashqai Sr.
  • Uninspired interior and exterior
  • A lack of power in the 1.6 models
Model review

Introduced before the 2001 model year, the original X-Trail is now credited by Nissan as the start of their crossover revolution.

With a charming, almost Defender-esque boxy style, the first X-Trail certainly looked to be a genuine off-roader, even if the platform was shared with the Primera.

A second generation appeared in 2007, which hinted at slowly moving away from the X-Trail’s distinct look, and the third generation – which debuted in 2013 – confirmed Nissan’s intentions to ape Qashqai going forward, going as far as a shared platform with the smaller model.

Latest model

The X-Trail has had some work done for 2017, both in terms of appearance and internals.

The exterior has been revamped to match the brand’s new design language, including the ‘V-Motion’ grille that has also been seen on the new Micra and Qashqai models. The car now features a choice of either 17 or 19-inch alloy wheel designs, and is available in four colours – Red Pear, Orange Pearl, Blue Pearl Metallic and Dark Brown Pearl.

A new hands-free electric tailgate is one of the standout improvements to non-driving usability; it is opened by swiping your foot under the rear bumper, which will surely prove to be useful when holding armfuls of grocery shopping.

The undoubted headliner for the X-Trail is the impending arrival of the ProPilot autonomous feature. The feature will be available for the X-Trail from 2018. ProPilot is a combination of three technologies – traffic jam pilot, lane assist and intelligent cruise control. These systems are linked to the automatic ‘X Tronic’ transmission, but will not be available for manual gearboxes.

Value for money

The base X-Trail is the 1.6 DiG-T Visia 5dr, which has a price tag of £22,855. It features an in-line 4 Turbodiesel engine that suffers from a lack of power; but more on that later.

The base model comes with a rather impressive set of toys including cruise control, Hill Start Assist and a 5’ HD screen with which you can control the DAB Radio and Bluetooth.

Step up to the top of the line Tekna model, which is available from £29,595, and you are greeted by heated leather sets, Bi-LED headlights, Intelligent Blindspot Intervention, 19” Alloy Wheels, NissanConnect SatNav systems and more besides. The very top of the range is the Nissan X-Trail 2.0 dCi Tekna 5dr 4WD Xtronic, which will set you back £36,490.

Compared to rivals like the Skoda Kodiaq and the Honda CR-V, the X-Trail is priced within very close range. With certain packs, you arguably get more bang for your buck than the comparative rival specs, however.

It’s certainly worth noting that depreciation needs to be considered when considering an X-Trail. Your top spec Tekna would be worth well under half its new value by 2020.

Looks and image

We love the look of the original X-Trail. It’s a very purposeful car, and looked distinct from the rest of the Nissan range. The new X-Trail is the perfect example of modern design’s homogenous nature. It is very difficult to distinguish from the Qashqai, and even some of its rivals.

With that said, it is by no means an ugly car. It has good proportions, and it looks particularly classy in Blue Pearl Metallic. It has all of the trademark good looks of the Qashqai but on a bigger scale.

This continues inside the car too, and the cockpit is barely distinguishable from that of the X-Trail’s little brother. You’ll struggle to find a trace of truly imaginative interior design, however, it is ultimately a relatively comfortable and pleasant place to be, even if the materials feel a little cheap.

Video review

Space and practicality

One thing the X-Trail excels on is space and comfort. The X-Trail’s suspension is almost too soft, however, which leaves the car leaning heavily around corners, and shuddering at the mere thought of a pothole – all in all, this is not good form for an off-road style car.

With 550 litres of space with five seats in use, there is certainly plenty of space in the X-Trail. If you opt to take down all the rear seats, you are looking at nearly 2000 litres of space, making the X-Trail’s boot one of the largest in the segment.


While the 2.0 dCi (177bhp) offered at the top of the cars price bracket does a perfectly acceptable job of powering the vehicle, there are questions to be raised regarding the 128bhp 1.6-litre turbo-diesel and 160bhp 1.6-litre petrol engines.

Of course, the smaller engines are more frugal, and are more wallet-friendly as a result. However, if you do opt for either 1.6 – particularly the diesel – you are making a compromise.

The car sets off easily, but with little gusto until you hit 1700rpm, in spite of gearing that feels short in second and third. The Turbo ultimately has a limited effect, but it makes itself known from 1800rpm to 3200rpm.

In terms of noise, the X-Trail is fine at a cruise but a little gravelly and grumbly under acceleration. There also seems to be a fair amount of vibration in the cabin.

The X-Tronic Auto box, which will be mandatory if you are buying in 2018 and wish to have ProPilot on your car, is certainly not the best auto in the segment. It will be strange having such a technical advancement attached to such an out-dated and clunky gearbox.

Running costs

The running costs of X-Trail are one of its biggest selling points.

According to WhatCar’s True MPG tests, the 1.6 diesel engine runs at 45.7mpg, which is a very strong result for a car of this size. The 2.0-litre is obviously a little thirstier, but that may be a worthwhile trade if you are intending to tow or use the X-Trail off-road.

The 1.6-diesel version can cost as little as £115 to tax, which makes it roughly average relative to rivals. The Kia Sorento, for example, is more expensive to tax, whereas the Honda CR-V starts at a remarkably low £30.

Things to look out for

There are various reports of rattling interiors, particularly as the car passes the 8-10K mile marker. The sunroof is also reported to have rattle issues by several drivers on the web, so it seems as though build quality may be an issue for the X-Trail.

A variety of other issues have also been reported, but there don’t seem to be many other faults across the board, merely further symptoms of build quality problems.


The X-Trail’s biggest rivals are the Kia Sorento and the Hyundai Santa Fe, the two highest-rated models in the segment. Both are substantially more expensive than the X-Trail, starting at £28,850 and £32,545 respectively. Honda’s CRV and Toyota’s RAV4 are closer in price to the X-Trail, but do not drive quite as well. From a driving perspective, at least, the X-Trail out-performs its price tag.

Compared to the interior of its higher-priced rivals, however, there is significant shortfall in the X-Trail, but that shouldn’t be a worry if you wish to have size and practicality first and foremost.

Trims explained

There are four levels of trim for the X-Trail, all of which can be paired with any of the three engines.


The standard spec, Visia, is surprisingly well equipped. Hill Start Assist, 17-inch alloy wheels, cruise control and brake assistance systems all feature, alongside an electric handbrake and air conditioning.

Prices start from £22,855


The Acenta specification adds a powered panoramic sunroof, front and rear parking sensors, dual air conditioning and rain sensing windscreen wipers. This is the specification I’d tend to go for, as a majority of the features in higher specs are simple not necessities. However, if you value on-board technology, leather and ‘smart’ features, then there may be some merit to the higher models.

Prices start from £24,945


The next step up – N-Vision – is highlighted by the ‘Smart Vision Pack’, which includes intelligent emergency braking, intelligent lane departure intervention and traffic signal intervention. The N-Vision pack also includes a touchscreen navigation and entertainment system, and 19” Alloy wheels.

Prices start from £27,595


Finally, the top of the range Tekna spec adds leather seats, intelligent blind spot intervention, Bi-LED headlights and adjustable electric seats.

Prices start from £29,595


  1. Shake and rattle inside, and roll in the corners
  2. Power vs. Economy in regards to engine choice
  3. Clunky automatic gearbox is worth avoiding
  4. Only buy over Qashqai if you need the room
  5. Most features above the Acenta pack seem unnecessary
  6. Good value compared to rival vehicles from Kia and Hyundai
  7. Fans of X-Trail’s past may not gel with the current model
  8. ProPilot feature due in 2018
  9. Slightly limited – but handsome – range of colours
  10. Mixed thoughts from customers regarding reliability