Expert Reviews

First drive: Nissan X-Trail dCI 177

Friday 09 December 2016

First drive: Nissan X-Trail dCI 177

The most important addition to the new X-Trail is the introduction of a new 2.0-litre diesel engine. When it was launched, the X-Trail was only available with a 1.6-litre diesel unit. As it  developed 128bhp, it had the effect of making the X-Trail feel like it wasn’t performing to its full potential – especially while towing.

However, this more powerful engine helps the SUV rise up to its full potential that little bit more. With an extra 47bhp and 60Nm of torque, towing capacity has been upped by 150kg. You can now have four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox as well, a drivetrain configuration not previously available.

Looks & Image

The latest iteration of the X-Trail, which is also Nissan’s flagship mainstream car, helps build on the dependable image of the original 2014 model.

With top-of-the-line Tekna trim specified, there is a decent level of quality at first glance. However, under closer inspection you do find it lacks some of the premium appeal of more upmarket brands. The interior is very button-heavy, soft-touch materials seem to be few and far between and the infotainment system is starting to show its age.

Space & Practicality

If you’re after space, however, the X-Trail has it in abundance. In five-seat configuration, the boot offers 550 litres of space, as opposed to 445 litres in the seven-seat model. In both cars, though, this increases to 1,982 litres when the second and third row seats are folded flat.

Thanks to a 40:20:40 split in the second row of seats and back doors that open to 77 degrees, the boot is easy to access. The two rear seats as well as the entire second row can be moved forward by as much as 26cm to improve rear storage space.

The X-Trail also features a good deal of safety features. Standard chassis control can help reign in any loss of control brought on by overenthusiastic driving, while a smart vision pack adds forward emergency braking and lane departure warning. Safety shield – which is included on top-spec Tekna models – features blind spot warning and moving object detection.

Behind the Wheel

Thanks to the inclusion of an Around View Monitor system, parking the X-Trail is surprisingly easy, especially considering its size. If you’re going to specify anything, make sure this is an option you go in for. Tekna models also gain an intelligent park assist feature.

On the road, the X-Trail is a fairly comfortable vehicle to drive, with the chassis control helping to mask most of the bumps in the road. While we didn’t try an X-Trail fitted with smaller 17-inch alloys, the 19-inch wheels on our test car didn’t affect the ride too much, unless they were on particularly bad road surfaces. Wind and road noise is fairly minimal, although at motorway speeds the thrum of the CVT transmission can be a little intrusive.

In the corners, the X-Trail is a reasonably composed car. There is some body roll, but it does manage to conceal its size rather well. Active trace control helps to keep you on track, although you will hear a bit of screeching from the front tyres if you enter a bend too fast.

Off the beaten track, it is unlikely most customers will use the full capabilities of the X-Trail – especially in 4WD specification. While axle articulation is limited, it copes well with loose surfaces and some rather daunting angles.

Value for Money

Prices for the 2.0-litre diesel start at £29,095 for cars in Acenta trim, a manual gearbox and four-wheel drive. In this specification, you will likely find everything you need is included – apart from a DAB radio.

The larger engine does compromise economy when compared with the 1.6-litre diesel, but considering it sits at between 46.3mpg and 50.4mpg depending on wheels and transmission, it doesn’t do too badly overall.

Who would buy one ?

Nissan is targeting dads who have at least two children and spend a lot of time outdoors with the X-Trail. It is marketed as a car you would take camping, hiking or on any other outdoorsy sort of activity. A two-tonne towing capacity on the manual car means the X-Trail is also useful for pulling a horsebox, boat or caravan.

Facts at a Glance

Model: Nissan X-Trail dCI 177

Engine: 2.0 diesel

Transmission: six-speed manual

Performance: 0-60mph: 9.2s, top speed: 127mph

Power: 175bhp, 380Nm

Economy: 48.7mpg

Emissions: 153g/km

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