2018 Nissan X-Trail ST: owner review

I’m in my late 60s and had been considering an SUV, because of the ease of getting in and out and the elevated driving position, for some time.

What we love
  • Space and practicality
  • Excellent all-round vision and safety
  • Build quality
  • Ride and comfort

What we don’t
  • Foot-operated park brake
  • Space-saver spare

NOTE: Editorial images used as none provided by the writer.

The Nissan X-Trail wasn’t on my radar until I drove one, my son’s ST 2.5-litre seven-seater, which impressed me. So when I saw this one advertised, I bought it without a second thought.

I like the styling, which I think is purposeful and ‘clean’ without unnecessary creases and folds, and the dimensions translate into plenty of space inside. The high roof line adds to the feeling of space and airiness, unlike some other makes with their sloping/lower roofs.

Outward vision through the large windscreen and windows is very good, but I have found myself needing the blind-spot monitoring a few times in heavy traffic. The powered and heated leather seats are very comfortable (with powered lumbar support for the driver), and with the seat and steering wheel adjustments it is very easy to find a spot-on driving position.

The flat-bottomed leather-bound steering wheel feels nice and chunky, and the buttons for the most part are easy to use – my only gripe is with the smallish cruise-control buttons, which take a bit of time through use to become intuitive. The steering is light and the X-Trail is very easy to park and manoeuvre in tight spaces.

I like the dash layout; the instruments are clear and easy to read with a large, central digital speedo. The good-size screen controls the audio, sat-nav etc, and I’m enjoying exploring all the functions. The digital radio is brilliant through the six speakers and it has a CD player too (yippee!). When selecting reverse, the screen splits between the rear-view camera and the all-round virtual bird’s-eye view, which is a real boon in congested spaces.

Apparently the 2.5-litre engine is ‘old school’, but I consider it proven and reliable, preferring it (an atmo) over the complexity of a turbo. It has enough power for me, and the CVT means smooth and easy driving. The brakes feel slightly spongy, lacking that initial bite, compared to my previous Japanese sedan, but work well enough.

The X-Trail is well soundproofed and it’s relaxed at freeway speeds. At 100km/h the engine is ticking over at about 1700rpm and returns excellent economy in the 6L/100km range. I’m averaging mid 7s to low 8s for general suburban driving.

The cargo area has plenty of space and a retractable blind. The floor is split with a handy hidey-hole for valuables or to carry wet swimmers and towels etc. The carpeted floor is a bit slippery, so I’m putting a ribbed rubber mat down to stop shopping bags sliding around.

Overall, I am very happy with the X-Trail, but there are a few quibbles:

  • the aforementioned smallish cruise-control buttons
  • the foot-operated park brake, which is a bit strange but I’m used to it now
  • the start-stop button for me is on the wrong side (it should be on the right-hand side of the steering wheel)
  • the space-saver spare wheel

MORE: Everything Nissan

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