Here's why the new Nissan X Trail is better than you think it is..
A few years ago you wouldn't have caught me as even a passenger in an X Trail, mainly because of the stereotype of drivers that drove them and the simply horrific styling they all had. The X Trail was a vehicle to be driven by your uncle Brian and his wife Linda, they occasionally towed their caravan with it and typically cut you up at junctions without a care in the world.
However, Nissan have changed that forever by updating the styling + pricing..
With base prices starting at £22,580, the X Trail is a well priced SUV which comes with a variety of tech as standard - but if you want loads of tech and a few options you're looking closer to £29,000 (this would give you a Tekna with some options).
The standard tech on the Tekna includes leather seats, heated row 1 & 2 seats, Bose sound system, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, street sign recognition and much more. However it feels entirely premium, the infotainment is slightly outdated but still works decently and the Bose sound system is loud and clear. The interior is so premium you sometimes forget you're in a Nissan..
The exterior changes are significant, including the Nissan 'V Inspired' front end design. This has taken the X Trail from a horrible square design to a smooth and much easier on the eye design. With extra exterior packages (including, in 2018, Chrome door mirrors.. how retro) available on almost all variants, this is a car which can look exactly as unique as you want it to.
While the interior is a great place to be, it's the driving aspect that shocks..
In a good way, I promise. At least with the diesel engine that is - as the petrol 1.6 feels gutless in a Qashqai, let alone a much heavier X Trail.
The 1.6 diesel unit produces 128bhp, 320Nm torque and can get a 4x4 X Trail to 62mph in just under 11 seconds. It's not breaking any world records, but it's also not draining your pocket in fuel consumption - amazingly..
Nissan claim 57.6mpg, something I hit time and time again. Around town the engine is quiet and frugal, on the motorway it produces enough power to overtake and still return high MPG figures. Thanks to 320Nm of torque, the 128bhp doesn't feel 'slow' in the X Trail, while not spritely it's quick to move at a junction if you need it to be.
Find yourself down a country track stuck in the mud (we've all been there.. right?.. not just me..?), just pop the X Trail into AWD mode and you're away. While not as versatile as a Navara, the X Trail gets 7 seats, good fuel economy, technically costs less, is easier to park and you don't have to climb into it.
And in summary?
This is a substantial improvement on previous versions, with better looks and technology than ever before. The engines options are great, however I'd be set on the diesel 1.6 every day of the week. The drive was fairly easy, while not entirely engaging, but what else would you expect from a 7-seater crossover SUV for under £30,000?
Nissan have absolutely nailed this SUV on the head, the build quality is great and as a family car it's exceptional. While I'm sure it's not to everyone's taste, to the demographic that buy these - it's perfect.