I always remember glancing at X-Trails of old and thinking that they looked a bit odd, a bit awkward looking, and in my opinion not very pretty. These days however, Nissan have done a fine job and created a sleeker and more modern design, giving it a similar look to the Qashqai, its smaller sibling. On the downside, it does look like a lot of the other SUV style crossovers that are on the market today, and some would argue because of that, it’s lost its character.
Jumping behind the wheel I was immediately impressed with the dash layout, in my opinion it was far nicer than the new Jeep Cherokee that I’d just driven, and more importantly nothing from it reflected onto the windscreen, which is a bug bear of mine these days.
Another first impression that stuck with both Mrs Turner and myself was that the seats were incredibly comfy and supportive. This from Mrs T was a great compliment, and not something to be taken lightly.
It got better too, throwing the X-Trail around narrow roads was a joy, its steering and suspension handled the undulations very well, especially around bumpy bends. I assumed that Nissan’s Active Ride Control would have had a part to play in that.
The 129bhp, 1.6-litre diesel was quite nice too, which is a good job really as it’s the only engine available. It develops 320Nm of torque, which happens to be the same as the outgoing 2.0-litre diesel, and because of its smaller capacity, 90kg weight saving and stop-start tech, the new X-Trial is 20% more efficient.
I have to agree with other colleagues when they said that the engine is a bit lethargic at low revs, but because the turbo kicks in progressively, you don’t get a sudden surge in acceleration, which in turn gives the X-Trail a good pace of speed.
Transmission wise it’s available with front-wheel drive and either a 6 speed manual or CVT automatic gearbox, or four-wheel drive with a manual ’box only. I enjoyed the 6 speed gearbox, it was slick and appeared to be good match.
Any complaints? well, I was quite surprised by the lack of leg room for the rearmost passengers with the 7 seat option, definitely small children only, and that’s probably it.
You could argue that after only 20 minutes or so I wasn’t able to give the X-Trail a thorough workout, and you’d be correct. We didn’t take it on a motorway, there was no city driving, no off roading and certainly no trips to the tip, but they say first impressions last, and on one of our briefest of Flash Drives, the new Nissan X-Trail didn’t disappoint.