Nissan has taken an evolutionary rather than a revolutionary approach to the styling of the second-generation version of its X-Trail compact SUV
The revolutionary stuff is hidden from view, with improved on-road dynamics, greater passenger space, more comfort and updated safety.
And it gets an “intelligent” All Mode 4x4-i four-wheel drive system as well as a revised version of the 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel motor.
There’s a new six-speed manual gearbox for the ST and ST-L models and a full ESP (Electronic Stability Programme) with traction control is standard on all but the entry level ST model.
Though power has increased slightly, it’s the revised torque curve that helps the new X-TRAIL deliver improved mid-range response.
With the CVT automatic gearbox, fuel economy is better than both the five-speed manual and four-speed automatic versions of its predecessor.
The all-aluminium engine produces 125kWs of power, along with 226Nm of peak torque.
With twin overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder, the 2.5-litre engine also uses a CVTC (Continuous Valve Timing Control) system to ensure a useable spread of power and torque over a wide operating range.
The ST-L and the range-topping Ti are equipped with Nissan’s Electronic Stability Program (ESP) including Stability Control and Traction Control with Active Brake Limited Slip, Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist.
Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control, as part of the electronically controlled ‘intelligent’ All Mode 4x4-i four-wheel drive system, are new to X-Trail and help extend its off road capabilities.
The ST has an enhanced version of the All Mode 4x4 transmission fitted to the outgoing X-Trail.
All models are equipped with four-wheel disc ABS brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA).
Passive safety gear includes front, front side and full-length curtain airbags on all models, along with front active headrests, side anti-intrusion bars and a collapsible steering column.
The new body is designed to maximise interior space.
The X-Trail gets a new chassis that contributes to better driveability on the road as well as abilities off-road.
With MacPherson strut suspension at the front, and a multi-link system at the rear, the new X-Trail has a more refined and comfortable ride, and the car now has electric power steering.
ST models have 16-inch steel wheels with 215/65 R16 tyres; there are 16-inch alloys on the ST-L and 17-inch six-spoke alloy wheels with 215/60R17 tyres on the Ti versions.
The new X-Trail can carry five passengers and the luggage area can be expanded to a maximum of 1773 litres when the new 40/20/40 split folding rear seatbacks are folded and the two-level floor with its sliding drawer is removed.The new X-Trail also has improved trim quality and the dashboard layout now places the instrument binnacle directly ahead of the driver to improve overall functionality.
Cupholders at either end of the instrument panel can heat or cool drinks, and there are two similarly heated or cooled cupholders for the rear-seat passengers.
Standard in all new X-Trails are a drive computer, exterior temperature gauge, cruise control, height-adjustable driver’s seat, air conditioning, CD sound system, power windows, remote keyless entry, 12-volt cargo area power outlet, cargo area tie-down hooks, double luggage floor, cargo area cover, roof rails and 2000kgs towing capacity.
The ST-L gains 16-inch alloy wheels and the full 4x4-i transmission with ESP, Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control.
The Ti adds 17-inch alloy wheels, climate-control air-conditioning, a leather trimmed steering wheel and a six-speaker sound system with six-stack, in-dash MP3- capable CD player, a large glass sliding power sunroof, front fog lights, leather trimmed gear knob and hand brake lever and a chromed grille and door handles.
The Ti leather model has full leather upholstery with power operated seats and front seat heaters.
ST pricing starts at $35,395 for the six-speed manual and $36,995 for the CVT automatic.
The mid-specification ST-L is priced from $36,895 for the manual and $38,495 for the CVT automatic, and the range topping Ti is priced from $40,595 for the cloth upholstery CVT automatic version. Leather upholstery is an additional $2300.