Brian Joss –
A few weeks ago I drove the new Nissan X-Trail 2.5 SE AT (tested), the flagship of the range and last week I had the Nissan X-Trail 1.6 dCi XE to play with for 10 days. It doesn’t have all the extras such as a reverse camera, Nissan Connect or SatNav. If you want it you’ll have to pay for it in the form of a TechnoPack or if you want to put your personal touch on the vehicle then the Design Pack is for you.
However, the crossover SUV, even without the x-tras offers excellent value. And is just what the family ordered.
There have been lots of changes since I took the second generation X-Trail on Route 62 to Rhebok, near Groot Brak, a few years ago. For one, the test car was a diesel and style-wise it is a mix of the Qashqai 1.2 (tested), the quirky Juke and the Murano to give the X-Trail a familiar face so that it can easily be identified as a Nissan. And the boxy, rugged look has gone.
Nissan has adopted the small inline turbo diesel from Renault’s Mégane and Grand Scenic. It develops 96kW and 320 N.m of torque and it takes 10 secs to get from 0 to 100km/ h. Since the X-Trail is not going to burn rubber at the lights this figure is merely of academic interest. What is more important though is its miserly fuel consumption: I recorded figures of just over 5litres/100km which included driving in heavy traffic, on the open road and up hill and down dale. The fuel tank holds 60 litres, five less than in the old model but the new X-Trail is more economical. The engine is matched to a six-speed manual transmission which is slick to use. In a word it is excellent. The Nissan X-Trail certainly walks the torque. The motor has plenty of oomph and there was no need to keep changing down, as there was always enough power if you wanted to overtake and you could do so safely. The engine always seemed to have something in reserve. The parking brake is electric and switches on when the engine stops, but you have to release it manually. There is a multifunction steering wheel which adjusts both ways. The music console is looks neat and there is enough storage place, including two cup-holders in the armrest. The seats are comfortable with plenty of support.
Inside, there is enough space for everyone, tall passengers included, with head and foot room more than ample in the five-seater. The cabin was quiet with no noise to speak of and very few rattles and squeaks, even over some bad corrugations. The X-Trail held the line well and road holding was good, even under pressure. The boot opens when you press the button on the key fob, but you have to pull it down to close it. The luggage space is large and there is a full-size spare to give more storage space. Safety features include airbags. ABS with EBD, traction control, ESP, auto headlights and wipers and day-time running lights.
The X-Trail is very similar to the Qashqai 1.2 and if you were looking for a new car then you should put the Qashqai on your shopping list. After having driven both it would be a hard choice for me to make. But on balance I would choose the X-Trail which I think is a juiced up Qashqai. In the end you will have to let your head and not your heart rule. To sum up, Nissan’s X-Trail 1.6dCi XE is a sensible and practical vehicle that you could use for the daily commute, to take the kids to school or go on holiday in it
It has a price tag of R351 000 with a three-year unlimited km warrant and a three-year unlimited km service plan.