The current generation of Nissan’s are not considered to be the top of the list when looking for a new car. This however is not the case for the Nissan X-Trail as they are right up there with their competitors and worth a look and drive.
The Nissan X-Trail ST-L is the second lowest level in the range and still offers plenty of comfort and quality driveability for the money.
The X-Trail ST-L is available with only one engine, a 2.5-litre non-turbo petrol engine, producing 126kW and 226Nm. While many manufactures are going for a smaller engine with the addition of a turbo, the X-Trail doesn’t need that to get decent fuel efficiency. It does however mean that the power isn’t there.
The ST-L is offered only with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and all-wheel drive can be had at a $2000 premium. That being said the transmission works very well with the engine and Nissan have done a great job in pairing the two.
Nissan doesn’t make extreme claims when it comes to the numbers of fuel usage with the five-seat 2WD X-Trail rated to consume 7.9L/100km. It really comes down to where you are driving and how you drive. Longer trips gives the X-Trail a well-deserved pass on the numbers but sit in traffic all the time and you won’t be as impressed.
For a mid-sized SUV, the X-Trail ST-L has a big cabin and occupants up front have plenty of headroom. The driver’s seat is comfortable and easy to get into a grove. The seats in the X-Trail are a little wider than other SUV’s and this makes long trips nice and relaxing.
There is a decent list of inclusions for the X-Trail ST-L with smart key entry, reversing camera, MP3 compatible sound system with an AM/FM radio, a CD player, Aux and USB inputs, Bluetooth connectivity for phone calls and audio streaming, and at least six speakers.
While the stereo has decent features it does not include Apple CarPlay or Android Auto; something the next generation should be getting.
There is a touchscreen for controlling entertainment and other cabin functions, smartphone integration through NissanConnect, height and reach adjustment for the steering wheel, which carries buttons for operating the cruise control, the sound system and phone.
Hill-start assist, Intelligent Ride Control, and Intelligent Trace Control – Nissan technologies that micro-adjust the engine and brakes automatically, with the aim of steadying the ride and helping steer into turns and autonomous emergency braking, six airbags and electronic stability control.
When driving the X-Trail it doesn’t come across as an exciting car to drive. It is perfectly suited to what it has been designed for but it just seems a little dull.
The engine is smooth and predictable and works well for everyday driving use. The dash is clean and all of the important instruments on the cluster are easy to see and decent to look at. There is also a lot more visibility for the driver then other SUV’s in its class and that gives a much safer feel when driving.
The steering is on the lighter side for an SUV of its size. This is good when trying to get into tight parking spots however gives little in the way of feedback when travelling on country and mountainous roads.
Parking is also helped by the 360-degree parking suite which, once you get used to it, is more than just a ploy to beat some others in the market that don’t offer it.
It works particularly well when in tight places like inner city or anywhere there has little room to park and helps make the judgement on if the tailgate can be opened or how close a pole might be.
A surprising aspect of the Nissan X-Trail ST-L was the lack of road noise inside the cabin. Older engines tend to make more noise however Nissan have done a remarkable job on this. The lack of noise was comparable to Euro SUV’s.
One big floor that the X-Trail, and some other manufactures, has is not having an electric handbrake. In the X-Trail’s case it is a foot pedal. Like most of its type they are hard to control with precision and easy to forget.
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The Nissan X-Trail ST-L is true to its name as a mid-sized SUV. It is spacious and good to drive, all be it a little underwhelming, but offers part-leather trims and satellite navigation. Its practical design means it is aging well and is very much family focused.
While an update to the multimedia is needed, the X-Trail has plenty more to offer including its reliable drive experience. Overall the X-Trail ST-L would be a worthy investment for a growing family.
Price: From $38,490