X-Trail still shining
The X Trail started production around 2000, as Nissan's first sub-compact SUV, which was both agile and aggressive in style. It was known for its angular shape and prominent front lights incorporated in the roof rails for some of the models.
Nissan, a company known to experiment with different design models, seems to be satisfied with the performance of the X-Trail, as they have stuck with it for more than two decades. It sits snugly between the Qashqai/Rogue and the Pathfinder, with dimensions that are more comparable to the former.
The appearance of the X-Trail has matured with the times, as the years of good performance on the sales lots has helped it to look curvier and edgier than ever. The engineers had a field day with the signature lines, as they contort at various points around the vehicle. This is most obvious around the wheel arches and the bonnet, where the lines are a continuation from the front grille.
Its body is sculpted in steel and chrome with new headlamps and 19” alloy wheels and aerodynamic panels around the pillar. Nissan says that it has a low aerodynamic underbody, for a quieter ride and an impressive fuel consumption.
The front facia, which has a prominent chrome 'V'-shape grille, comes with active shutters, which automatically open and close to help achieve better aerodynamics and overall performance. When engine temperature is normal, the shutters will close, minimising the amount of air entering the engine compartment.
A trait which the X-Trail has kept over the years is the abundance of headroom, along with an overall spacious interior. For the model I tested, the front seats can be manually adjusted for height and reach, to ensure the driver finds a comfortable position.
Another long-standing tradition, which some drivers may or may not like, is the foot brake, which is placed at the far left of the foot well.
Design-wise, the layout and colour selection are cohesive, as Nissan toes the line of functionality and sophistication, with many buttons and piano-black accents here and there. For the most part, the fixtures feel sturdy and well put together, with soft touches where possible, such as the dashboard.
Around the back there is adequate legroom, with seats that can slightly recline and designated A/C vents, so the rear passengers can feel comfortable. There is also the option for a third row of seats with the EZ Flex Seating System, where you can lift the lever in one motion, to slide and tilt the second-row seat forward for easy access.
With all seven seats in place the X-Trail has 445 litres of space, while in five-seat form there's 565 litres. If you fold both the second and third rows, the cargo space becomes 1,996 litres.
In the trunk, there is an option to create a long, flat floor for big items or access underfloor storage for things you want to hide.
Years ago, I drove a X-Trail on the North-South Highway, and though the ride was comfortable, the driving experience was bland, due to the CVT transmission. This time around, Nissan has done its best to make their CVT engine more engaging with 169 horsepower. Truth be told, while they are more fuel efficient than traditional transmissions, they can be a bit boring to drive.
The X-Trail addresses this with an electronically controlled eco mode, for saving gas and a sport mode for instant power.
A big selling point for the vehicle is suspension set-up, which provides a very comfortable ride, that gives a pillowy feel. This system applies subtle braking to prevent unpleasant upper body motion over bumps and enhance ride comfort for all passengers.
For those who select the 4WD option, there is a circular knob behind the gear lever, where you can select the various driving modes. Choose full-time 2WD for maximum efficiency or Auto Mode, which constantly monitors conditions and adjusts the balance of power between front and rear wheels for best traction.
The Nissan X-Trail is tried and proven in a compact SUV class that is saturated with quality vehicles. At this point, it comes down to price and preference, where it positions itself as one of the must-try vehicles for 2022.
Price of tested model: $6.6 mil
Price Range: $5.7 mil to $7.35 mil
Engine: 2 Litre
Torque: 172 LB-FT
Horse power: 169
Transmission: CVT or 6-speed manual, AWD
Fuel tank: 65 litres
Ground Clearance: 200 mm
Body Type: compact SUV
Competition: Subaru Forester, Mazda CX5, Toyota Rav4, VW Tiguan Allspace, Honda CRV
Vehicle provided by Fidelity Motors Ltd (876) 948-5459, firstname.lastname@example.org