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First drive: Nissan X-Trail Tekna

  • X-Trail revamped for 2011
  • High levels of kit on standard car
  • Emissions drop by 30g/km CO2

Nissan's X-Trail four-wheel drive has been given a facelift for 2011 and during a week-long test in which we covered 400 miles in the snowy conditions it never missed a beat. The grip levels, especially on snow, are remarkable, while the engine has enough pulling power to get you out of sticky situations. That, along with a slick gearbox and direct steering means it's a simple car to drive in normal weather conditions.

The X-Trail gets a huge amount of kit in standard specification. MP3 and Bluetooth connectivity, a selectable two- or four-wheel drive system depending on the conditions, six airbags and cruise control all feature.

The Tekna also gets touchscreen sat nav, a panoramic electric sunroof, electric and heated leather seats, rear view parking camera and an excellent Bose nine-speaker sound system.

Inside the cockpit has a quality feel, although is somewhat rough-and-ready. The controls are chunky and easy to reach, yet made of hard-wearing materials: this car was obviously built with off-road use in mind.

The seats are comfortable and supportive, although on the highest setting the heated seats can get a bit too warm.

Although the large boot is practical, there's a bar between the two rear wheel arches that stops the biggest loads going into the vehicle. This was illustrated when attempting to transport some large tyres, as pictured below.

The new Euro-V compliant 2.0-litre diesel engine with 171bhp and coupled with a six-speed manual gearbox emits 168g/km CO2. This places it in the 26% BIK band for 2011/2012. This is a drop of 30g/km CO2 over the old version.

The car we tested had optional metallic paint and carpet mats, giving it a P11d value of £27,805. This equates to £120.49 per month on the 20% pay scale and £240.98 on the 40% pay scale.

 Also consider:

Land Rover Freelander 2
Premium feel, practical family car, capable off road and refined on road.

Honda CR-V
Unique styling, excellent build quality and a refined diesel engine.

Toyota Rav4
High level of equipment, excellent reliability, good to drive, available in two- or four-wheel drive.