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What is the Nissan X-Trail?

The X-Trail is Nissan’s mid-size SUV. It has been locking horns with the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Land Rover’s now-deceased Freelander for the better part of 20 years. Currently, its rivals also include the Land Rover Discovery Sport, Skoda Kodiaq and Mitsubishi Outlander. Since its debut in 2001, the X-Trail has been through three generations, with the current car in production since 2014.

During this time, the world has been taken over by crossovers, largely led by Nissan’s own Qashqai. Comparatively larger SUVs like the X-Trail, although still popular, have taken a back seat in terms of sales, even though they are in-part responsible for the crossover craze.

At-a-glance 2019 Nissan X-Trail specs

  • Top speed: 111-126mph
  • 0-62mph: 9.4-11.4 seconds
  • Fuel economy: 45.6-57.6mpg
  • Emissions: 129-149g/km
  • Boot space: 565-1,996 litres

Which versions of the Nissan X-Trail are available?

The X-Trail is, first and foremost, an SUV, with just that bodystyle available. There are two basic specifications to choose from.

These are the N-Connecta and the Tekna, with the former starting at just below £30,000 and the latter adding £2,500. The engine range is mostly comprised of diesels, with 130hp 1.6-litre and 177hp 2.0-litre units spanning two- and all-wheel-drive setups.

The 2.0-litre is available with the Xtronic CVT transmission. The rest, including the 1.6-litre 163hp petrol, are manuals.

Nissan X-Trail styling and engineering

The current X-Trail rides on jointly-developed Nissan/Renault architecture, which also underpins everything from the Nissan Qashqai to Renault Scenic.

Revealed in 2013 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the third-generation X-Trail represented a significant departure from prior iterations in terms of styling. Those first and second-generation cars very much kept an upright, tough-looking aesthetic.

Nissan X-Trail rear

The third-generation sees the X-Trail fall into line with the family face of the Qashqai, adding some invaluable crossover appeal. The facelift in 2017 added more premium-look LED lighting. On the inside, it’s a touch lacking. Flimsy materials and ageing infotainment remind you this is now nearly a seven-year-old platform.

Is the Nissan X-Trail good to drive?

Crossovers and SUVs are fighting an uphill battle when it comes to driving dynamics. Nevertheless, most are acceptably competent, including the X-Trail.

It’s well damped, steers easily and is a doddle to manoeuvre, in spite of its size. As an off-roader, it’s not up there with the Land Rover Discovery Sport, although the four-wheel drive option is an asset in more adverse conditions.

The engines are good, especially the punchiest 2.0-litre diesel. The petrol is also strong, although it will prove an expensive choice at the pumps.

How much does the Nissan X-Trail cost?

The entry-level cost of the X-Trail is more or less in line with the Discovery Sport. That’s interesting, given Land Rovers often command a premium over rivals. Does that make the X-Trail expensive, or the Disco well-priced? Probably the former.

It’s also worth remembering that the Skoda Kodiaq kicks off at roughly £4,000 less. That said, the N-Connecta X-Trail does come as standard with 18-inch wheels, roof rails, a power tailgate and push-button start.

How do X-Trail drivers rate their Nissans? Read our user-generated owners’ reviews to find out.

Nissan X-Trail Model History

Current generation Nissan X-Trail

July 2014 – X-Trail arrives in showrooms priced from £22,995 for entry-level Visia five-seat with two-wheel drive, powered by a 1.6-litre dCi 133 diesel engine. Four trim levels are available from launch: Visia, Acenta, N-Tec and Tekna. Two- and four-wheel drive models can be specified, while a seven-seat option costs £700 extra.

July 2015 – Line-up expanded to include a 1.6-litre DIG-T 163 turbo petrol engine, with first deliveries in August 2015. Becomes the cheapest model in the range, starting from £21,995. Comes with two-wheel drive only.

April 2016 – Limited-run X-Trail Style Edition based on top-spec Tekna added to the range, adding various chrome exterior trimmings, black alloy wheels and sports pedals.

October 2016 – N-Vision trim introduced to replace N-Tec. It comes with Smart Vision Pack with 360-degree cameras, touchscreen infotainment and 19-inch alloy wheels. Prices remain the same.

November 2016 – Larger capacity 2.0-litre dCi 177 diesel added to the range, with deliveries beginning early 2017, with a choice of manual four-wheel drive, and Xtronic CVT automatic in two- or four-wheel drive form.

August 2017 – Mid-life facelift launches to refresh the entire X-Trail range. Modest styling changes, an improved interior, boosted practicality (bigger boot, waggle-foot-to-open-tailgate) and extra tech across the board. Four new paint colours options added.

Second-generation Nissan X-Trail (2007-2014)

Nissan X-Trail second generation (2007-14)

The second-generation X-Trail debuted in 2007 and, although it was larger than the car it replaced it felt somewhat stuck in a past at the time. Especially alongside the ground-breaking Mk1 Qashqai.

Still, the crossover trend took time to get into its stride and the X-Trail could afford to stick to the old-school SUV formula. The X-Trail was an interesting design when it first debuted. That it was significantly updated for its third generation is no bad thing, though.

First-generation Nissan X-Trail (2001-2007)

Nissan X-Trail MkI (2001-07)

Based on the Almera and Primera FF-S platform, the first X-Trail was Nissan’s entry into the burgeoning modern SUV market – one that Japanese marques were keen to explore. The Freelander had shown the way in the late 1990s, demonstrating that such cars didn’t need to be agricultural. But as was the case with many segments, the Japanese came along and did it better, particularly with the X-Trail, CR-V and RAV4.

The X-Trail was one of the most competent of the SUV cohort in 2001. That its legacy has endured where the Freelander’s has faltered is telling.