Don’t judge a book by its cover
It’s not the most glamorous SUV on the block, but this hasn’t stopped it being one of the most popular family adventure vehicles on the market.
Despite its overall design feeling slightly outdated, the 2020 Nissan X-TRAIL Ti is spacious, its features are practical, and it drives hassle-free – precisely what families want in a car.
That said, an upgrade has already been released in the US for 2021, making the 2020 version the last of its kind. It is fair to say that the X-Trail is due for a face lift, but that doesn’t mean this year’s Ti doesn’t do the job. Quite the opposite, in fact.
The 4×4 five-seater is fitted with a 2.5-litre 16-valve 4-cylinder engine and a CVT transmission. It pushes out 126kW of power and 226Nm of torque. Standout features include its panoramic sunroof, sturdy chassis, fuel efficiency and generous boot size.
Around town, the Ti’s 2WD option is appropriate. However, we wanted to test it in its natural AWD habitat, so we put it up against what might just be its biggest ever competitor, the Snowy Mountains of Australia.
Loaded with two humans, we took off down the freeway en route to our chilly destination.
Our Ti was packed with two snowboards, snowboard boots and gear, one roll-up mattress, blankets and pillows, three bags of clothes, an esky and a few other bits and bobs, and yet we still found plenty of room for more.
With the second row of seats up, you get 565-litres of luggage capacity, and with the ‘EZ Flex’ 60:40 seat split, you can comfortably fit 945-litres. If we had kids, there would be plenty of space for them in the back too.
And just in case you think you’ve run out of room, extra storage can be found in the boot under the floor.
Before we get too far on our journey though, we stop to get fuel. It’s then we really notice the exterior style of the 2020 X-TRAIL has not changed much since the third-generation model back in 2013.
It is still styled with its U-shaped chrome front bumper, chunky bonnet and cat-eye shaped headlights.
What has changed is the addition of 19-inch alloy wheels, fitted with P225/55 R19 all-season tyres, LED daytime running lights, LED headlights with auto-levelling, LED taillights, and multiple exterior parking ad safety cameras.
It has roof rails and cargo tie-down hooks, which are convenient and easy to use.
Settling into the next leg of our journey, we start to assess the Ti’s interior. Purely judging the X-TRAIL on its outdated cabin, you see why the 2021 version is timely. Yet its hard-wearing and sturdy interior does feel appropriate.
The centre dashboard is a little chunky if you compare Nissan’s technology to the Peugeot 5008 or Skoda Kodiaq, and it doesn’t feel top of the range, even if it is. In saying that, Nissan does ensure no detail is missed.
Our seats came in cloth, but black leather-accented trim or tan leather is also an option. The driver’s seat is equipped with 6-way power-adjustable options and a massage system.
As we approach the mountains, the outside temperature gets colder, and the Ti’s heated front and back seats and heated steering wheel, are a saviour. The dual air conditioning system works well, and it even comes with heated and cooled centre console cup holders.
The 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment display screen built into the centre console is relatively small, and the graphics could be better. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto do not come in the X-TRAIL either.
You just get the standard satellite navigation with traffic monitoring, Bluetooth hands-free phone system, and DAB+ radio, all connected to 8-speaker Bose premium audio system.
The X-TRAIL’s new Advanced Drive-Assist Display on the dashboard gives you access to all of the Ti’s information, adjusted by easy-to-use steering wheel controls. Again, practicality trumps style here.
The information is clear and simple to navigate, but you will not find any 3D graphics, flashing lights or fancy features.
Coming into the last leg of a drive, we hit some hills and corners. Travelling along the freeway at 100km/hr is comfortable, and the CVT transmission is smooth. But when approaching hills or overtaking road trains, the Ti does struggle to accelerate.
We do have to remember that flying down the freeway at top speeds is not its forte though, so the moment we hit those icing roads, we flick it into 4×4 and let the hill descent control do its job. It’s a role it plays quite well.
It’s not overpowering, but you feel in control and stable. No part of our trip required us to tow or pull anything either, but on that front, the X-TRAIL Ti is only offering 1,500kg braked towing capacity.
The X-TRAIL has a 5-star ANCAP rating. Front, front-side and side-curtain SRS airbags and emergency braking with pedestrian detection are all winning features. The adaptive cruise control makes for easy travelling too.
The blind spot warning is clear, and lane intervention and lane departure warning are useful. It also has forward collision warning, a rear view camera with predictive path technology, and an around-view monitor with moving object detection system.
The long drives meant we got to experience the best of its fuel efficiency as well, clocking in at roughly 8.4-litres/100km from the petrol engine.
Our vehicle was dressed in Marine Blue, but you can also choose Ruby Red, Brilliant Silver, Gun Metallic, Ivory Pearl, Pearl Black, or Copper Blaze. The 2020 Nissan X-TRAIL Ti hits the road at $44,490 drive away and comes with a 5-year unlimited-kilometre warranty.
Our test vehicle was provided by Nissan Australia. To find out more about the 2020 Nissan X-TRAIL Ti, contact your local Nissan dealer.
This story was written by Jacinta Counihan and first published as "2020 Nissan X-TRAIL Ti (car review)" on Exhaust Notes Australia.
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