First Impressions

Bright red and brimming with technology, the X-Trail is the beginning of a new series of more intelligent SUVs entering into a more affordable market. Technology that was once only found in luxury vehicles are beginning to trickle down into a market that the average kiwi can afford.


The Test Drive

Building on the Renault-Nissan partnership, the new X-Trail has been heavily influenced from Euro design cues and is also sharing the new CMF platform with many of the future Renault vehicles.

I was entertained by the fact that the new X-Trail actually looked like all the other Nissans built to date. But upon further investigation it’s much less boxy and awkward. The new modern headlights and grill show confidence and the much sharper features with sleek, swept back angles give it a more sporty and robust presence. The similarities with old could be attributed to Nissans own design language it carries across many of it’s SUVs, an essence that makes the vehicles their own.


Getting into the driver’s seat you can see the effort Nissan have put into their top of the line Ti model. Well laid out control panels with the different clusters of functions neatly and effectively utilise the space. A decent sized 7” touch screen LCD was sufficient for the media and navigation, and a separate LCD strip for the climate controls was great as well. Having them separate like that made it easy to operate and quickly see what settings the climate controls are without having to mess with the main media/nav screen. This is available across all models except the ST 2WD and ST 4WD have a 5” LCD instead. The navigation system on the ST-L and Ti models is not only in the main LCD, but has been nicely integrated into the driver’s smaller screen that sits between the speedometer and tachometer. This shows useful information such as traffic, road works, speed zones displayed in a clear and easy to read manner.


The vehicle is relatively nimble with electronic steering and has a good turning circle. I did find the steering wheel slightly uncomfortable, mainly with the thumb grips too small and placed low on the steering wheel, which meant they were constantly in an uncomfortable place under my hand while driving. The engine was fantastically quiet to a point that when parking you can only hear the scrub of the rubber on the concrete when turning. The brakes were sensitive and smooth and acceleration responsive and constant. It was also not too bad going up some of the steep narrow Wellington hills considering the X-Trail only produces 126kW of power and 226Nm of torque, while weighing in just over 2-tonne. Up side of the efficient QR25 2.5L Engine was driving on the motorway we averaged a fuel consumption of 8.4L/100km which is reasonable for a SUV. The cruise control was simple and great that it had the option to choose the speed before engaging it, you can set a target speed down to one kilometre increments instead of reaching the desired speed. This target speed feature is a much better way to set cruise control as once you hit the motorway you can just set it to the target speed and let the computer and engine do its thing. The one kilometre increments were also most impressive, a display of good precision.


Like many new vehicles, the Nissan X-Trail also has blind spot detection technology where a light on the sides of the interior light up when there is a vehicle in the driver’s blind spot. This makes much more sense than say putting the lights on the tips of the side mirrors because any misting or rain drop mosaics on the windows would hinder you being able to see this little light flash. However the X-Trail has nice wide open windows making side and rear visibility clear, making manual blind spot checking pretty easy.


Probably one of the best features about the X-Trail is the quality of its reversing camera. It had superb clarity even in low light conditions, something you only usually see on high end luxury cars. Noise levels were low and clarity of objects were recognisable from the background. There are multiple cameras located on the vehicle, on the bottoms of the side mirrors, front and rear. Which together create a bird-eye view image on the main screen. By tapping on the different sector you are also able to enlarge the view of each different quadrant around the vehicle. The Ti model also comes with ‘moving object detection’, as the name implies, can also detect any moving objects around the vehicle and highlights the quadrant on the screen while sounding an audio warning. Perhaps this is a potential solution to the all too common driveway accidents that occur. There is also a lane departure warning system- it doesn’t correct the vehicle unfortunately, but lets out a warning beep to warn the driver. Handy when irresponsible drivers get too tired or are using their mobile phones.

One of my favourites on the Ti was it’s massive almost full length sunroof, with full tilt and opening options. Sunroofs really add a refreshing element when driving, probably due to the increased natural lighting within the vehicle. The tilt option only opens the sunroof slightly to let a slither of fresh air in, good for those hot days.


The interior styling had a mixture of soft touch plastics with fake carbon fibre and gloss black plastic, and a touch of chrome accents. But despite there being many nice trims and design influences throughout this vehicle, the island of torture though was the grisly gloss-black-plastic gear stick platform that someone missed that at the design stage. Below next to the brake there is a foot emergency brake to make space supposedly for our gloss plastic bulge. The space could have been better used, slim the shapes and add some more storage spaces is one idea.

The leather seats are very comfortable, utilising Nissans “zero-gravity” inspired seats. And best of all they’re heated. This is probably my wife’s favourite features about the newer vehicles. The X-Trail’s heated seats come with a high and low option, both of which heat up quickly. Personally I find that it is only good for a little while before heated seats begin to feel uncomfortable and distracting.

The light switches in the front seats also control lights in the rear of the vehicle. A great feature I imagine would be super useful if there were kids in the back, or cargo that you want to be able to do a quick visual check on in the dark.

Another super useful feature about this vehicle is its most practical boot, with multiple shelving configurations – divide-n-hide. The panels are removable and can be laid side by side on differing heights, and also to create staggered shelving. It is very easy to change and highly functional, such a simple idea that is highly adaptable for many different purposes- a great feature to have. The automatic power tail gate controlled by the Intelligent Key with remote vehicle unlocking is also a very nice finishing touch to a modern and smart car that X-Trail is proving to be.


What’s it up against.

The X-Trail Ti is a well balanced and priced vehicle, especially with the amount of technology it comes with. These gadgets and safety features are what well give it an edge on it’s competitors.

Brand / Model Engine Power Fuel L/100km Luggage Capacity Price Highest to Lowest
Toyota RAV 4 2.5 litre In-line 4, Petrol 132kW/233Nm 8.5L/100km 1776 Litres $60,790
Mazda CX-5 2.5 litre In-line 4, Petrol 138kw / 250 Nm 7.4 L/100km 1560 Litres $54,445
Nissan X-Trail Ti 2.5 litre InLine 4, Petrol 126kw / 226 Nm 8.3 L/100km 1520 litres $53,290
Hyundai IX35 2.4 litre InLine 4, Petrol 130 kw / 240 Nm 8.4 L/100km 1579 Litres $52,990
Ford Kuga 1.6 litre InLine4, Petrol 134 kw / 240 Nm 7.7 L/100km 1603 Litres $52,990
Subaru XV 2.0 litre Boxer, Petrol 110 kw / 196 Nm 7.0 L/100km 741 Litres $48,990
Suzuki Grand Vitara 2.4 litre InLine4, Petrol 122 kw / 225 Nm 9.9 L/100km 758 Litres $39,990


Pros Cons
  • Reversing camera/ moving object detection.
  • Multiple configurations in boot.
  • Comfortable seating.
  • Drivers screen linked with main navigation screen.
  • Intelligent lighting design.
  • (very)unflattering gear stick base.
  • Not much power.
  • Uncomfortable steering wheel.

What do we think ?

A positive step forward in driver aids and convenience technology for the crossover SUV category. Nissan have made cutting edge safety features user friendly and easy to understand, effectively providing information and integration into the vehicles user interface seamlessly. Overall design and choice of materials is of high quality, bar one exception. In a market where many of the crossover SUVs are designing the same, creating almost clones of each other, the new X-Trail is creating new ways of tackling mundane things like luggage storage solutions and driver/passenger smart connect systems.

3.5 out of 5

Rating – Chevron rating 3.5 out of 5


Nissan X-Trail Ti


Vehicle Type Compact Crossover SUV
Starting Price $ 39,990 NZD
Tested Price $ 53,290 NZD
Engine QR25 2.5L Engine, Petrol, 126 kW/226Nm
Transmission Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with Manual mode
Kerb Weight 2080 kg
Length x Width x Height 4640 x 1820 x 1710 mm
Cargo Capacity 1520 litres (2nd row seats down, to ceiling)
Fuel Tank 72 litres
Fuel Combined – 8.3 L/100km
ANCAP Safety Ratings yet to be tested at time of writing article.
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Tom Lo
Filthy tidiness is probably how I would describe my passion for anything with a motor. I enjoy the perfection, purposefulness, and thought put into the design and assembly of cars....but I do love to see them been thrashed and covered in brake dust, dirt and blood. You gotta use it to love it in my books.


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