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Nissan X-Trail 2020 review: Ti

Nissan's old-stager still looks pretty good.

It feels like I've been driving the current Nissan X-Trail for my entire car-reviewing career, which is getting on to eight years now. And a quick check of the release date for this third-generation X-Trail confirmed my suspicions - it's been almost seven years. That's a long, long time for a car to stick around.

Thing is, it still looks pretty fresh (if unadventurous) and it's still going okay in a wild and woolly section of the car market, the mid-size SUV. The top-of-the-range Ti is offered at a stout $45,490, however, so we're here to ask the question of whether that might be a few dollars too far.

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✅ What does it look like?

For an older car, the X-Trail still looks pretty good, whether it's beside its Qashqai sibling or out and about. 

It's not particularly adventurous and has a very strong Nissan aesthetic about it (partly courtesy of a mild facelift in 2017). It's all nicely proportioned and the way the glass kicks up at the rear means it looks a lot like the smaller Qashqai and doesn't reveal its bulk. 

For an old, the X-Trail still looks good. For an old, the X-Trail still looks good.

It's kind of a neat trick unless you're offended by people asking which one of the two you've bought. The high ride height should be a dead giveaway, however.

It's kind of the same inside. Bits of the car are looking dated and the small steering from a hatchback - complete with flat bottom - feels a little out of place in a fairly big SUV

You can tell how old the X-Trail is by how many switches in the cabin. You can tell how old the X-Trail is by how many switches in the cabin.

There's certainly nothing wrong with the interior but most of its competition is newer and often have more things to keep you amused.

You can also tell it's a bit on the old side by just how many switches there are in here.

✅ How does it drive?

The X-Trail is a very comfortable, easygoing rider, with a US-spec plush suspension tune to soak up the bumps and, one imagines, your troubles. 

Many SUVs in this price range have firm, road-biased suspension but Nissan has stuck with a more conservative set-up. That does mean a bit of body roll in the corners but it's very manageable.

The 2.5-litre engine has 126kW, and 226Nm of torque, the engine going without the turbocharging a number of its obvious rivals have. 

A continuously variable transmission (CVT) sends the power to all four wheels and for the keen, there is a locking centre differential for slightly more serious off-roading than perhaps you might imagine possible. 

The 2.5-litre engine produces 126kW/ 226Nm. The 2.5-litre engine produces 126kW/ 226Nm.

You can also tell the X-Trail to stay in front-wheel drive mode, which reduces fuel consumption.

I can't say I've ever been in love with the X-Trail's transmission - the last time I drove one it was noisy and unresponsive to my right foot's requests for power. 

This time around Nissan seems to have attended to that problem and it's a bit more responsive so my blood pressure remained normal as I tootled about the suburbs. It is still a bit of droner, though.

✅ How spacious is it?

The X-Trail has tons of room. The back seats have heaps of head and legroom and can slide back and forth to either improve access from the front seat or add more legroom for lankier folks.

  • The X-Trail has tons of room. The X-Trail has tons of room.
  • The back seats have heaps of head and legroom. The back seats have heaps of head and legroom.

The boot is huge at 565 litres and has an underfloor storage tray for valuables, or, as I once discovered, a good place for wet or muddy gear away from the rest of your stuff. 

  • With the rear seats in place, cargo capacity is rated at 565 litres. With the rear seats in place, cargo capacity is rated at 565 litres.
  • Fold the seat flat and boot space grows to 945 litres. Fold the seat flat and boot space grows to 945 litres.

The official figure with the rear seats down is a conspicuously conservative 945 litres. I'd imagine it's rather more than that.

✅ How easy is it to use every day?

Along with being quite spacious, the big rear doors open fairly wide making it easy to load and unload small kids. The outboard seats feature ISOFIX mounting points and there are three top-tether points.

Despite being a high-rider, it's easy to get in and out of the X-Trail and the low loading lip leads to a flat floor for loading through the electric tailgate.

✅ How safe is it?

✅ What’s the tech like?

A glaring omission is the lack of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, a still-common Nissan failing. 

It's a bit of a shame because the sat nav is a bit dinky as is the old media software which pales next to Mazda, Ford, Kia and Hyundai's newer offerings as well as even older interfaces from VW

It does have digital radio, though, so that's handy. Without the proper smartphone mirroring, you have to wrestle with the old school interface to play your music or podcasts.

In-between the two dials is a colour display for the driver. In-between the two dials is a colour display for the driver.

Apart from that, everything is quite straightforward, with a decent set of safety inclusions and easy to understand controls for the climate control. 

The keyless entry and start is a nice touch, meaning you don't have to grab your key to unlock the car.

✅ How much does it cost to own?

One thing that has changed since the last time I drove the X-Trail is that Nissan now offers a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty which also comes with roadside assist.

Servicing is every 12 months or 10,000km, which is very much on the short side these days. 

The service pricing is capped for the first three years or six services, which ever comes first, and averages out at around $320 per service, significantly more than, say, a RAV4 and a few bucks more than a Ford Escape. Both of which don't need servicing as often if you're going by kilometres.

The X-Trail missed its official combined cycle fuel figure by a reasonable margin. The sticker on the windscreen says 7.9L/100km but in my week with the SUV the dashboard told me it was around 11.5L/100km, but that was almost a litre better than the last time I had one. Most of my driving was around the suburbs but it did get a run on the freeway.


The Wrap

I still like the X-Trail for a number of compelling reasons - it has tons of space, is easy to live with and is a low-stress car to drive and own. 

Likes

Still looks fresh
Heaps of space
Pleasant interior

Dislikes

No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
Engine/transmission a bit ho-hum
Short servicing intervals

Scores

Peter:

3.5

The Kids:

3.8

$45,490

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.