Nissan making its mark with all-new X-Trail

The last-generation Nissan X-Trail was a rugged and practical 4x4, but the all-new version is a lot

The last-generation Nissan X-Trail was a rugged and practical 4x4, but the all-new version is a lot more sophisticated says Matt Joy, Press Association Motoring Editor - Credit: PA

What's new?

The most important sport utility vehicle in the Nissan range is the Qashqai, but its bigger brother, the X-Trail, has arrived in an all-new form to serve those looking for something larger. From the completely redesigned exterior to the new engines and chassis, this latest X-Trail aims to offer a more refined drive and better on-road performance than the more utilitarian approach of the old car.

In fact the new X-Trail owes a lot to the Qashqai as it uses the same platform and mechanicals. The key difference however is size, with a longer wheelbase and greater length creating more space and room for seven seats.

Looks and image

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It's a game of spot the difference for the X-Trail and the smaller Qashqai. Put them side by side and you'll see where they diverge but the familiarity is no bad thing. The old X-Trail was an undeniably boxy affair but the new one is slick, modern and attractive.

It still looks tough and has the raised ride height, but it's a much classier car that can cut it with posh boys rather than looking like a farm hack.

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Space and practicality

You don't fully appreciate just how large the X-Trail is until you step inside. Up front there's generous head and legroom and in the second row the space is impressive – legroom is particularly good and the seats can slide forwards or backwards to suit your needs. The third row folds into place easily and while you wouldn't want to shove an adult in there for long it's ideal for children.

Behind the wheel

Another important feature on the X-Trail is a new 1.6-litre diesel engine that is likely to be the most popular engine choice. Despite its relatively small capacity it offers the same torque as the outgoing 2.0-litre diesel but with far superior emissions and economy figures. It doesn't feel underpowered either – it's not fast of course but quick enough with 0-62mph taking 10.5 seconds.

The X-Trail's transformation is completed by the ride quality and all-round refinement. Where the old car always reminded you of its off-road capability, the new X-Trail is composed over poor surfaces and is easy to drive with accurate steering and slick controls. It's not really a car to be hurled through bends but it is safe and faithful should you choose to do so.

Value for money

All versions of the X-Trail are packed with equipment. The entry-level Visia model comes with air conditioning, six airbags, LED daytime running lights and Bluetooth connectivity as standard, as well as those all-important seven seats. Move up the range and there's luxuries such as Nissan's Safety Shield, intelligent park assist and heated leather seats.

Who would buy one

The X-Trail has the kind of flexibility and appeal to suit a broad range of customers. Families will love its ability to swallow children and luggage with ease and the fact they can bring their mates along too will be well received. On the other hand if you're one of those 'active lifestyle' people you can jam it full of bicycles and surfboards, and in four-wheel drive guise it would make a good towing car too.

This car summed up in a single word – relaxed

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