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Nissan X-Trail 2019 review: Ti

EXPERT RATING
7
The Nissan X-Trail is an Aussie favourite that's been around for decades, but has the competition beaten this mid-sized SUV at its own game?

Nissan’s X-Trail is one of the most popular mid-sized SUVs in Australia, and around the world, and nobody is going to think you’re silly if you put one in your driveway. Well, you wouldn’t put one in your kitchen, but you get what I mean.

The thing is, the X-Trail’s rivals have reincarnated themselves into new models in the last couple of years, while the X-Trail has barely changed. So, is this a good thing, or is the X-Trail falling behind?

I tested the top-of-the-range Ti: it’s the all-wheel-drive petrol one with five seats, and it came to stay for a week with my family. Here’s what I found out, having recently driven its rivals such as the Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5 and Subaru Forester.

Nissan X-Trail 2019: Ti (4WD)
Safety rating
Engine Type2.5L
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency8.3L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$44,790

Is there anything interesting about its design?   7/10

If minimal changes to the design of a car over the years translates to a better resale value, then the X-Trail should be a winner here, because not much has changed since the 2017 update.

Not much has changed in the X-Trail's design since the 2017 update. Not much has changed in the X-Trail's design since the 2017 update.

That said, it’s a good-looking SUV that has aged well. I’m talking about its tough exterior, which somehow combines curvy elegance with a powerful stance.

The X-Trails tough exterior, combines curvy elegance with a powerful stance.

The X-Trails tough exterior, combines curvy elegance with a powerful stance.

The same can’t be said for its insides, which have dated. There’s the small screen and the analogue instrument cluster, all surrounded by a busy cabin full of buttons when we now live in a world of minimalist, cleanly designed cockpits.

Want to see how the French would design an X-Trail? The Renault Koleos is the French company’s restyled version of its Japanese partner company’s SUV, and it's very different indeed.

The Ti is the top-of-the-range petrol X-Trail and what sets it apart visually from the lower grades are the chrome strips, which skirt under the doors, a panoramic sunroof, LED headlights, 19-inch aluminium-alloy wheels... and that’s it.

The Ti features 19-inch aluminium-alloy wheels. The Ti features 19-inch aluminium-alloy wheels.

The dark tinted windows you can see on our test cars also come on the ST-L grade below, and so do those roof rails and fog lights.

The Ti’s insides don’t look much different from the ST-L’s either (are you starting to get the message here?) with the black leather seats and larger touchscreen.

What are the X-Trail’s dimensions? At just under 4.7m long, 1.8m wide and 1.7m tall the X-Trail is longer than a RAV4, a CX-5 and even a Forester, which makes it a big, mid-sized SUV that’s getting into Hyundai Sant Fe territory, and that bodes well for space inside. 

How practical is the space inside?   7/10

Practicality has long been the X-Trail’s strength, but in recent times rivals have come out with better packaging and more modern utilities, such as wireless charging and USB ports.

Still, it does have tall, wide-opening doors, which make getting in and out easy, big front seats and great rear legroom (I’m 191cm tall and can sit behind my driving position with about 30mm to spare), plus good storage space in the form of cupholders (two up front and two in the back), door pockets and a deep centre-console storage bin.

The Ti has wide-opening doors, which make getting in and out easy. The Ti has wide-opening doors, which make getting in and out easy.

Headroom is reduced thanks to the sunroof, which comes standard on the Ti;  it’s also partly due to the theatre-style seating in the second row, which has the passengers sitting high for better visibility. Great for kids, but not for tall adults.

There is a good amount of storage space in the form of cupholders. There is a good amount of storage space in the form of cupholders.

The X-Trail Ti is a five-seater, so if you need seven seats I have good news and bad news, and then good news again. The first good news is that a seven-seat version of the X-Trail can be had in the form of the ST or ST-L, and both cost a lot less than the Ti. The bad news is that those grades don’t come with all the Ti’s features, but the other good news is that this means they don’t have a sunroof, and therefore headroom is great in the second row.

Back to the Ti. For charging and media you have two 12V outlets up front, along with a USB port, and a 12V in the boot.

The X-Trail has a big boot, extending to 945 litres with all seats folded flat. The X-Trail has a big boot, extending to 945 litres with all seats folded flat.

At this price point we’d like to see more USB ports. The new RAV4 GXL has five USB ports on board, including two in the second row, along with a wireless phone charger up front.

Backseat riders do have directional air vents, though.

The X-Trail does have a big boot – we’re talking 565 litres with the second row in place and 945 litres with those seats folded flat. Keep in mind those aren’t VDA litres, which is what Volkswagen and Mazda use to calculate boot sizes.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   6/10

The Ti’s list price of $45,040 makes it the second-most expensive X-Trail in the line-up, sitting under the top-of-the-range TL. The thing is, both share the same standard features. Well, the only differences, really, are to do with the engines, which we'll get to below.

Coming standard on the Ti are a seven-inch screen, digital radio, sat nav, dual-zone climate control, heated and power front seats, leather upholstery, roof rails, LED adaptive headlights, a heated steering wheel, auto tailgate with kick-open function, heated rear seats, Bose eight-speaker stereo, panoramic sun roof and 19-inch alloy wheels.

 The Ti has heated and power front seats with leather upholstery. The Ti has heated and power front seats with leather upholstery.

Is it good value? Nope. The X-Trail’s features list hasn’t changed since 2017,  and while there are plenty of great attributes to this SUV, keeping up in terms of in-car tech isn’t one of them. The $38,590 Touring grade of the Mazda CX-5 has an excellent head-up display, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Talking of rivals, there’s also the Renault Koleos Intens X-Tronic, which is a rebadged and restyled ‘Frenchified’ version of the same Nissan SUV, but for $45,990. Then there’s the top of the range Mazda CX-5 GT for $45,890 (it sits above the Touring), the new Toyota RAV4 Cruiser at $44,490, and the top-spec Subaru Forester at just $41,490.

The last three SUVs have especially moved the benchmark forward in terms of tech and features, leaving the X-Trail behind.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   7/10

You know how I said the X-Trail Ti has the same features as the TL but for less money? Well the reason is the engine – the Ti is a petrol and the TL is a diesel. Both are all-wheel drive.

Powering the Ti is a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine making 126kW and 226Nm. I found that to be only just enough oomph (kerb weight is 1.5 tonnes) out on motorways and hilly country roads when overtaking.

The continuously variable transmission (CVT) does nothing for the driving experience, either, causing the engine to ‘drone-on’ and providing lacklustre acceleration, but it is a fuel-efficient automatic (see the mileage figures below).

Powering the Ti is a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine making 126kW and 226Nm. Powering the Ti is a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine making 126kW and 226Nm.

The X-Trail Ti comes with an intelligent all-wheel-drive system a dial on the centre console allows the driver to select from three modes: 2WD, which will send drive to the front wheels only, but will activate all-wheel drive if it detects a loss of traction; Auto, which monitors the four wheels and will distribute torque to maintain traction; while in LOCK the electronically controlled coupling splits the torque evenly between the front and back. The Lock mode works at up to 40km/h and will switch to Auto mode at higher speeds.

It’s important to remember that while the X-Trail Ti will handle a bit of mild off-roading, such as dirt and gravel roads, the vehicle isn’t equipped with High and Low range four-wheel drive, which is vital for serious off-road excursions.

How much fuel does it consume?   7/10

The Ti has a 2.5-litre petrol engine and Nissan says that after a combination of urban and open roads your fuel consumption should be 8.3L/100km. I took our test car on motorways, CBD peak-hour commutes and on suburban duties, too, with preschool picks ups and shopping thrown in, and when I measured mileage at the pump I calculated our test car was using 11.1L/100km.

Just to be totally clear, all my testing was done in the Auto drive mode setting,  which toggles between front wheel drive and all-wheel drive, when the system detects a wheel slipping.

What's it like to drive?   6/10

Let’s start with the good things. First, visibility all around is excellent – the A-pillars are thin and bend away to give you a better view and the rear windows are large and make parking simple. The X-Trail is also an easy SUV to pilot in car parks, with light and accurate steering and also on the motorway, where it’s big enough to feel secure and planted.

Visibility while driving is all around excellent. Visibility while driving is all around excellent.

Now, the not so good. The CVT makes the engine drone and the nature of these automatics means acceleration isn’t brisk. Next, the ride is good on a smooth surface, but on Sydney’s patchwork of roads the X-Trail struggled to keep us comfortable with a firm impact felt over even the smallest of bumps.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / 100,000 km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   8/10

The X-Trail was given the maximum five-star ANCAP rating when it was tested in 2017 and the Ti comes with advanced safety equipment such as AEB, which will brake automatically to avoid a collision with another car at speeds over 5km/h, and will brake to avoid an impact (as best it can) with pedestrians from 10-60km/h. There’s also rear cross traffic alert, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assistance, plus adaptive cruise control, which worked well for me on motorways.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   8/10

The X-Trail Ti is covered by Nissan’s five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty and five years’ roadside assistance, which is transferable to the next owner at no cost.

Servicing is recommended at 10,000km/12-month intervals and as a guide you can expect to pay $234 for the first service, $384 for the next, $244 for the third, $459 for the fourth and $254 for the fifth.

Verdict

Let’s start with the good things. First, visibility all around is excellent – the A-pillars are thin and bend away to give you a better view and the rear windows are large and make parking simple. The X-Trail is also an easy SUV to pilot in car parks, with light and accurate steering and also on the motorway, where it’s big enough to feel secure and planted.

Now, the not so good. The CVT makes the engine drone and the nature of these automatics means acceleration isn’t brisk. Next, the ride is good on a smooth surface, but on Sydney’s patchwork of roads the X-Trail struggled to keep us comfortable with a firm impact felt over even the smallest of bumps.

Pricing Guides

$38,265
Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)
Lowest Price
$28,490
Highest Price
$48,040

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
ST (2WD) 2.5L, ULP, CVT AUTO $30,990 2019 Nissan X-Trail 2019 ST (2WD) Pricing and Specs
ST (2WD) (5YR) 2.5L, ULP, CVT AUTO $31,490 2019 Nissan X-Trail 2019 ST (2WD) (5YR) Pricing and Specs
ST (4WD) 2.5L, ULP, CVT AUTO $32,990 2019 Nissan X-Trail 2019 ST (4WD) Pricing and Specs
ST (4WD) (5YR) 2.5L, ULP, CVT AUTO $33,490 2019 Nissan X-Trail 2019 ST (4WD) (5YR) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7
Design7
Practicality7
Price and features6
Engine & trans7
Fuel consumption7
Driving6
Safety8
Ownership8
Richard Berry
Senior Journalist

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