Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Contemporary Styling Gives SUV the X-Factor; One of Australia's Biggest Selling SUVs Has Been Overhauled, Grant Edwards Finds There Have Been Some Compromises for the Modern New Look

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Contemporary Styling Gives SUV the X-Factor; One of Australia's Biggest Selling SUVs Has Been Overhauled, Grant Edwards Finds There Have Been Some Compromises for the Modern New Look

Article excerpt

VITAL STATISTICS

Model: Nissan T32 X-Trail.

Details: Five-door medium-size sports utility vehicle.

Engines: 2.0-litre four-cylinder generating maximum power of 106kW @ 6000rpm and 200Nm @ 4400rpm; 2.5-litre petrol 126kW @ 6000rpm and 226Nm @ 4400rpm.

Transmission: Six-speed manual or continuously variable automatic.

Consumption: 7.9-8.3 litres/100km (combined average, slight differences depending on model).

CO2: 183-192g/km.

Towing: 1500kg (braked), tow ball rating 150kg.

Bottom line plus on-roads: 2WD - ST (m) $27,990, ST (a) $30,490, ST seven-seat (a) $31,580, ST-L (a) $36,190, ST-L seven-seat (a) $37,190. 4WD - ST (a) $33,980, ST-L (a) $39,080, Ti (a) $44,680.

WELCOME to funky town Nissan X-Trail.

The sports utility vehicle, which previously looked like it was designed with a set square, has a new fluent modern look inside and out.

Despite starting from a headline price of $27,990 (that is just for the entry-level 2.0-litre petrol engine with a manual transmission), most buyers will be chasing the larger 2.5-litre powerplant which is partnered to an automatic transmission and starts from $30,490 - and you can have seven seats for about one grand more.

There are three grades, ST, ST-L and Ti, and all have the option of 4WD with the Nissan 4x4-i system.

Anyone chasing a diesel will have to wait until later this year when a 1.6-litre oil-burner will join the range.

Comfort

Huge gains have been made with interior finishes and a more cohesive design. Even base model ST has a more refined feel with glossy black materials and a crisper, clearer instrument cluster for the driver.

Pivotal to the improvements is the new driver digital read-out, which sits between the speedo and tachometer and can be altered between functions such as trip computer, digital speedo and chassis drive modes.

Just like the Altima sedan launched last year, the X-Trail benefits from supple seats which offer cosseting support laterally and at the bases.

It makes long journeys a pleasure.

There is nothing too technical about the dash operations, and finding your way through the various functions and using the air con only needs a quick look before you have a thorough understanding of how things work.

Soft touch materials are used in the areas which matter most, like across the doors, with hard plastics restricted to the base of the console.

Getting into the back is made easier by doors which open at up to 80 degrees. With the second row having a tilt and roll function, it offers ample leg room for adults and improves entry into the third row of the seven-seat models.

Adults can fit in the third row, but that's best suited to shorter journeys and it is territory more akin to kids.

On the road

Quiet and composed, the new X-Trail is an easy and comfortable drive.

We sampled the 2.5-litre unit partnered to the continuously variable transmission in two and four-wheel drive, with both living up to modern expectations with responsive acceleration and a quiet cabin at speed and around town.

Many drivers are critical of CVTs for "flaring" through the rev range and sounding like a sewing machine. Often the transmission and engine work hard to catch up with driver intentions, but this is part of a growing band of good CVTs, which operates well and feels more like a conventional auto box.

While the SUV cornered flat with limited body roll and responded positively with good steering feel, we found the ride jittery on all-wheel drive variants. …

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