When Qashqai vanishes from the market map of this region next year, it could be some time before that gets noticed. The all-new Nissan X-Trail is designed to cover up for the Qashqai as well. It even masquerades as several other Nissans too in bits, including the Murano and the Pathfinder. The rear, at some squinting angle, looks like the Ford Escape; flat yet slightly chopped off. Ironically, the only model the 2015 Nissan X-Trail doesn’t remind you of is the outgoing Nissan X-Trail.
UPSIDE: Driving support gadgetry, panoramic sunroof, 7-seater option, Simulated top view for parking, great value
FLIPSIDE: Squeezed third row, noisy climb, body roll
The Price (with insurance at Arabian Automobiles): 2WD: AED 81750 to AED 84,750 4WD: AED 94,000 to AED 122,000
Rear forwards, the first thing you miss is the long rear lamp cluster that used to run from top to bottom in the old X-Trail. The new one gets the Nissan family signature boomerang rear lights. The familiar boxy design has been tamed by the rounded edges like the Pathfinder’s, but that is in tune with the times. Though the new Nissan X-Trail looks bigger, it is only an inch longer, almost half a foot wider and keeps a four and half inches lower profile than the outgoing model. If the rear feels like an overdose of plastic, remember it saves 7 kg on its own!
SPECS: 2.5L 4 cylinder engine, CVT Transmission, 170 hp 236 Nm torque @ mid to high cycles, 2WD or 4WD, 17’ and 18” alloy wheels
If you want a comfortable, spacious five-seater crossover that can seriously double up as a capable light off-roader or a school bus for the whole neighborhood, then the options don’t get much better than the new X-Trail. The 2015 X-Trail comes with a switchable 4X4 dial, where Auto would skew the driving power towards the front wheels 90% of the time, yet usefully releasing some to the rear wheels when you need extra traction or torque back there. The driver info even includes a torque distribution report and differential status on the 5-inch TFT colour display on the instrument panel.
I like Nissan’s generous policy of “if you have it in the family, why not share it among the siblings?” How about alerts when crossing the line, or when the clearing distance isn’t adequate to change lanes? The unthinkable would be the simulated top-view of the surroundings in the camera feed while backing up. Bung in a sensor-activated tailgate, you are so spoilt that you wouldn’t want a choice!
This isn’t a Mercedes with magnetic ride control, but three “Active” features make the 10,000 units target that Nissan has set for the new Nissan X-Trail in our region seem easy. Active Ride Control that monitors bumps on the road and adjusts suspension settings for a consistently smooth ride, Active Engine Brake that uses the meticulous transmission to add control to engine braking while cornering and slowing down, as well as Active Trace Control that brakes wheels individually using sensors that measure torque, to reduce under-steer. The X-Trail also has mechanisms in place to prevent the car from free-rolling when starting uphill, or while coming down a slope.
Now, how effective are these brochure-bashers is the question. The ride is certainly smooth but steering neutrality is the downside to it. If you ask me, that isn’t much of an issue; it’s a family vehicle and not a Sports SUV. There is a definite body roll felt by the driver more than the buttressed passengers and you can still feel the reluctance of the vehicle to steer as much as you want.
The same old 2.5L engine of the X-Trail spills 170 hp and 236 Nm of torque. To the X-Trail’s benefit, the obtuse steering didn’t get me straying over lanes, so the lane change warnings were few. The brakes that spared my nerves while steering away from a negligent truck driver or the music system that played what was streaming in from the radio or my USB were are all standard fare from Nissan. If this is a segment that worries about fuel economy, the C-Trail returned 9.5L/100km at its impressive best, and overall figures of 11.3 L / 100 km.
Cabin and Controls
SPECS: 7-inch colour touch screen, 5 inch TFT colour display with driver info, turn-by-turn navigation instructions and eco driving advice; Smartphone connectivity with prospect of apps covering music and social networking; Bluetooth, Aux-in and USB slots
The 2015 Nissan X-Trail is a thoroughbred Nissan outright: whether it’s the droning CVT that fusses noisily up the tachometer before settling down to a pleasant calmness; or the new Nissan philosophy of “feed them till the competition explodes” sort of gadgetry; or the art of carving space out of nowhere in a compact looking body.
Under its class-leading expanse of sunroof, the cabin provides ample storage with sunglass-holders fixed to the ceiling, a generous armrest niche, cup-holders galore and a thoughtful mobile anti-skid pad on the console junction.
Space creates an irony of sorts within the new X-Trail. Not that there isn’t space. There is plenty in the passenger cabin and in the rear storage: but only in the five-seater mode, mind you. Once it assumes the 7-seater configuration Nissan has ambitiously introduced, the X-Trail outsmarts itself silly!
Push the mid row to a comfortably uncomfortable point and try squeezing into the third row. You’ll be lucky if your fourth-grader fits in. But then, you can score brownie points when your kids want to take their friends along to the beach party; and they are not the type that complains! The fact is, if you want a 7-seater compact SUV, there aren’t many options, really!
The boot does have underneath storage, which is a boon when you bring up those third-row seats. The automatic tailgate sensors, unlike the Ford Escape, aren’t handily situated on the underside but just under the windscreen –manageable nevertheless.
The essential Nissan X Trail 2015
The Nissan X-Trail 2015 test car featured leather seats and decent cabin material as well as ample in-cabin assistance that make it a cut above the class. It even doubles up as a 7-seater or an off-roader when you really have to push things. When you consider an SUV in the mid-range, things really don’t get much farther than the high driving stance and the button for the mud-path. Happily enough, for just above 92K, the new Nissan X-Trail throws in a few well-thought out bonuses to hold you back from hunting for ‘premium’ any time soon!
Drive Courtesy: Nissan Middle East
Pictures: Sudeep Koshy