X-Trail horizon

New Nissan X-Trail


The best selling SUV has been updated, so we went to Wales to take a look.

This is a bit of a change of pace, isn’t it? Normally my job here at Influx Magazine is to write about rare, sporty, exotic, and even sometimes historical machines.

I get to gush over beautiful styling, incredible performance figures, and the rich layers of history. However, away from the glamour of the super cars, the mad prices of the classics, and the thrills of the race track, there’s been a quiet success story going on. This story goes by the name of the Nissan X-Trail. X-Trail? Yes, reader, X-Trail – what you’re looking at here is the world’s best-selling SUV.

X-Trail on raod

Now, that’s really quite an achievement when you think about it. SUVs are the thriving, thumping pulse of the global car market. Anyone who’s anyone in the car producing business is clamouring to get their SUV to market, hoping it’ll be bigger and better than competitors to tap into the relentless sales that this sector generates. There are an awful lot of resources being thrown at the SUV market, and the X-Trail is currently the one that comes out on top. For those of you who love a good stat – 3.7 million X-Trails have been sold worldwide since its launch in 2000. Naturally this seemed like a good time to put one to the test then, especially as Nissan has just launched a new one. A car that sells deep into seven-figures must be something pretty decent, and Nissan is certainly confident, packing us off to North Wales to experience its best-seller both on and off-road.

X-Trail rear

Before we go any further I should probably explain what exactly the Nissan X-Trail is. In terms us Influxers – who are normally more familiar with sports cars than everyday best-sellers – can get our heads around. It’s a relatively modest-styled five or seven seat SUV with 4WD and a choice of petrol and diesel engines that starts at just over £23,000. There’s nothing really about it that absolutely grabs your attention, as in most cars of this segment there’s no ‘wow’ factor, but the recipe of reliability, economy, and value for money is what has been a hit with buyers to this point.

X-Trail interior

On the first drive, it became obvious that the petrol engines are a bit disappointing. Well, it’s not the engines exactly, it’s the fact that low-powered petrol engines just don’t feel at home in an SUV that weighs in at just over 2-tonnes. Best then to go for the diesel, and you’ll want one with as much grunt as possible because none of the X-Trails are particularly quick and that can leave you lacking a bit when looking to overtake. As usual with heavy SUVs, a 2.0-litre diesel in the highest power output – in this case 177-horses supplemented with 380Nm of torque. If you’re a stat-freak still not satisified since my last hot piece of trivia, that means 62mph in 10-seconds and 40+mpg if you behave yourself. Not bad at all for something heavier than a small nation.

All SUVs of a certain size drive in pretty much a similar way, and that story hasn’t changed here. The overriding feeling you get from driving it is of a smooth ride with a commanding high seating position, and the usual SUV discomforts in corners – corners and SUVs don’t tend to mix at this level, but who really cares? Is there really much point going into deep details about how a big SUV drives? No, not really. You know what to expect, and it’s exactly that.

X-Trail front

It’s really impressive how easy off-roading has been made by computer systems and all-wheel drive cleverness, we took the new X-Trail around a disused mining site in North Wales and it felt right at home. We can relay to you with confidence that if you want to climb or descend a steep muddy bank, you can. Want to go through deep water? You can do that too. The new X-Trail won’t exactly get you to the South Pole, but it will cope with just about anything a normal person will throw at it. Winter conditions certainly won’t be a problem.

X-Trail boot

The world’s best-selling SUV then, eh? Drives like an SUV, can off-road like an SUV should, and it isn’t too expensive for an SUV either.

It won’t knock your socks off, it won’t excite anybody, but it will get you around with comfort and ease for a price that won’t knock your bank manager to the floor.

X-Trail horizon