Nissan X Trail review by Jason Dawe

26 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Nissan X Trail review by Jason Dawe
Nissan X-Trail

There are few things in life I can recommend unreservedly, but one is a second-hand Nissan X-Trail.

Introduced to the UK in October 2001 the X-Trail could easily have been just another 4×4 entering a crowded marketplace.

But in an age when new cars are often more about hype than substance the Nissan X-Trail delivers just what it says on the tin: proper off-road ability, bags of space, practical design and more driving fun than anyone would expect from a vehicle with an entry-level price of just over £16,500.

At launch the X-Trail was powered by either a 2.2 litre 112bhp turbo diesel or a 138bhp 2 litre petrol engine. Despite its modest power the diesel never feels slow, and when the turbo kicks in you’d be forgiven for thinking the unit was nearer three litres than two. Equally well endowed is the petrol engine.

You’ll lose some of the diesel’s economy (expect 8-10mpg less) but it accelerates more briskly and will tow just as happily.

A more powerful 2.5 litre 165bhp petrol engine became available in December 2002 and a 136bhp diesel was introduced a year later. But while the 136bhp diesel is perhaps the most desirable engine in the range, there are no duffers in the line.

In a hotly competitive sector of the market Nissan hoped the X-Trail would win sales by offering a generous list of standard equipment. Base S models enjoy front airbags, antilock brakes, front and rear electric windows and a huge electric “skyroof”. Pay about £800 extra for used Sport version and you gain alloy wheels, electronic climate control, side airbags and a keyless entry system that also operates a sophisticated alarm and single-disc CD player.

Top of the range is the SE+, adding leather seats, leather steering wheel, power-fold door mirrors and a CD stacker. Costing about £2,000 more than the Sport when new, the SE+ retains much of that premium second-hand and you can expect to pay about £1,500 more for one.

Nissan X-Trail

Good levels of equipment and strong engines are not the X-Trail’s only virtues; they also drive well. All models corner with a minimum of body roll, the steering is accurate and the suspension soaks up speed bumps and potholes with aplomb.

While most second-hand X-Trails will have enjoyed the usual life of school runs, supermarket visits and family outings, there are exceptions. The X-Trail’s off-road ability, reputation for reliability and good towing characteristics make it an ideal workhorse, so don’t be complacent when checking over second-hand examples.

Take a good look underneath for damage caused by off-road use and avoid models that have a towbar fitted since this can indicate a hard life: you don’t want an X-Trail that has been in salt water every weekend launching a jet ski. And don’t buy without a complete service record to validate the mileage as interiors are hard-wearing, making clocked cars potentially difficult to spot.

With second-hand X-Trails in strong demand you are also unlikely to find many bargains. But I never said that a Nissan X-Trail was the cheapest 4×4 you could buy, just one of the best.

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