Nissan X-Trail (2014-present)

The Nissan X-Trail is the Nissan Qashqai's bigger brother, with the option of seven seats

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Lots of room inside
Efficient diesel engine
Cheaper than many other seven-seat crossovers

Weaknesses 

Seven seats optional, not standard
Mediocre performance
Some reliability worries

The Nissan X-Trail is a bigger version of the Nissan Qashqai, offering the option of seven seats and more boot space than the best-selling Qashqai.

It's a crossover car, combining the mechanical parts from a standard car with a higher driving position and designed more for on-road comfort than off-road ability. This is an increasingly popular formula for buyers and there's now a lot of competition from the likes of the Kia Sorento, Hyundai Santa Fe and Land Rover Discovery Sport, all of which have three rows of seats.

The X-Trail used to be the cheapest of the lot, with prices starting at around £23,000 and popular mid-range diesel cars costing around £27,000 before discounts. It’s since been joined in the same price bracket by the large Skoda Kodiaq. To try and keep the car competitive, the Nissan received a minor update this summer. These cars are easy to spot because they have a deeper front grille that runs all the way down to the number plate. They are also 50mm longer than previous versions.

Inside, the 2017 revisions improved the X-Trail’s quality. The car gained a sturdier flat-bottomed, multi-functional steering wheel, plus optional heated rear seats and two-tone leather. There are currently some nearly-new pre-update X-Trails available with large discounts, which aren't much different to the latest model.

If you are upgrading from the Qashqai, then the X-Trail will seem familiar - identical, almost - from the driver’s seat. The dashboard has the same straightforward layout and optional equipment. It doesn't have the hi-tech digital design of the Peugeot 3008 but you can have a 360-degree camera that lets you see all around the car while parking. There's also an optional self-parking system where the X-Trail does most of the work.

The seven-seat layout is a £900 option – only five seats come as standard – but all cars are versatile (only 40% of buyers choose seven seats, which is useful to know when looking for a second-hand example).

With seven seats raised, there's minimal boot space, but the rear two fold flat into the floor, opening up around 450 litres of luggage space, which is a little larger than the Qashqai. Five-seat cars have a bigger 565 litre boot. 

All X-Trails come with a hidden compartment underneath the floor of the boot, plus Nissan’s Flexible Luggage Board system, that allows you to create compartments and shelves in the boot to separate luggage.

The second row can slide forwards or backwards, allowing you to increase space behind at the expense of middle row legroom. The rear doors open extra-wide to help get to kids in the back (it’s a little cramped for adults in the back row of seven-seat cars) but there are only two sets of Isofix mounting points for child seats: in the middle row.

If space is a priority over style, then you might also consider cheaper seven-seat people carriers like the Seat Alhambra, Renault Grand Scenic, Volkswagen Sharan and Citroen Grand C4 Picasso.

The X-Trail is available with a petrol or two diesel engines, the latter being available with the option of four-wheel drive. With this fitted, it becomes capable of tackling tougher terrain than many rivals – apart from the Land Rover Discovery Sport. None of the engines are particularly brisk, though, and performance is better in rival crossovers such as the Land Rover and Kia, which are available with more powerful engines.

But the X-Trail isn’t designed for nimbly darting down back roads: it’s best-suited to a laid-back driving style, thanks to its soft suspension that’s effective at absorbing most of the impacts of driving on a rough road. If you do try to take a corner too quickly, then this comfort-focused set-up means that the X-Trail will lean noticeably. The Kodiaq is better in this respect: it’s just as comfortable but more stable in corners.

Standard equipment is good across the X-Trail range, with every car having air conditioning, alloy wheels, cruise control and Bluetooth for wirelessly connecting your mobile phone as standard. A semi-driverless system called ProPilot, which can accelerate, brake and steer the car on motorways, is due to be available from next year.

The X-Trail has received the top five-star rating from independent crash-tests at Euro NCAP, and safety can be boosted with optional technology, including a warning if you drift out of your lane.

Search for all Nissan X-Trail deals

Last Updated 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - 10:30

Key facts 

Warranty: 
Three years/60,000 miles
Boot size: 
565 litres
Width: 
1710mm
Length: 
4690mm
Height: 
1820mm
Tax (min to max): 
£160-£500 in the first year, £140 thereafter

Best Nissan X-Trail for... 

Nissan X-Trail 1.6 dCi Visia
Your choice of petrol or diesel, two- or four-wheel drive, and manual or automatic has a big impact on fuel economy. The most frugal combination is the front-wheel-drive manual, which returns an official 57.6mpg (expect around 45mpg in real-world driving).
Nissan X-Trail 1.6 dCi Acenta [7 Seat]
Even if you don’t have five children, ticking the box for seven seats is a good idea when ordering your X-Trail, as it gives you the flexibility to bring extra friends or relatives along when you need to, while still preserving the X-Trail’s decent luggage space when you don’t.
Nissan X-Trail 2.0 dCi Acenta
The larger diesel engine is quicker than both 1.6-litre units, but it’s not good for business users as CO2 emissions rise. There’s also no disguising the fact that the X-Trail is a large, relatively heavy car, so you still need to take it easy going around corners.
Nissan X-Trail 1.6 DiG-T Tekna
The combination of the petrol engine’s poorer fuel economy versus the lower-powered diesel, the Tekna trim level’s high price and the reduced practicality of five seats versus seven makes for a pretty undesirable version of what is otherwise a very good car.

Nissan X-Trail History 

  • May 2014: Qashqai-based third-generation X-Trail goes on sale in UK
  • July 2015 Engine range broadened with addition of 1.6-litre DIG-T petrol
  • January 2017 2.0 dCi diesel engine added to range
  • August 2017 Updated X-Trail, with exterior tweaks and new steering wheel goes on sale 

Understanding Nissan X-Trail car names 

  • X-Trail
  • Engine
    1.6 dCi
  • Trim
    N-Connecta
  • Gearbox
    Xtronic
  • Engine
    The size of the engines is given in litres (here it's 1.6). Diesel engines are badged dCi and petrol ones have the letters DIG-T
  • Trim
    Each trim level comes with different amounts of standard equipment. The entry-level is Visia, followed by Acenta, N-Connecta and Tekna.
  • Gearbox
    Manual or an Xtronic automatic gearbox is offered.

Nissan X-Trail Engines 

Petrol: 1.6 DIG-T
Diesel: 1.6 dCi, 2.0 dCi

The earliest versions of the current Nissan X-Trail only came with a sluggish 1.6-litre diesel engine but this has since been joined by two other engine choices.

There’s a petrol engine that only comes with two-wheel-drive and is noticeably faster to accelerate than the 1.6-litre diesel, but it won’t make financial sense for many families. In real-world driving, you can expect fuel economy of around 35mpg, according to figures from the Equa Index, which generates realistic fuel consumption estimates based on public road testing.

The two-wheel-drive manual 1.6 dCi diesel X-Trail, with real-world fuel economy of around 45mpg will be top of many lists, despite its leisurely acceleration.

It’s also available as an automatic or with four-wheel drive, which does make it capable of driving on fairly rugged terrain. So if you live at the end of a narrow country lane or have to frequently with ice and snow, it’s worth considering, even though fuel economy drops by 2-3mpg.

The 2-litre diesel is considerably more powerful, so you won’t have to jam your foot to the floor when you’re going up hills, as you would with the 1.6-litre car.

It’s available with four-wheel drive and the automatic gearbox, which is known as a continuously variable transmission, or CVT. This doesn’t use fixed gears, and so accelerating can sound like a constant whine. Some CVT gearboxes can be jerky, but the X-Trail’s version is fairly smooth and a good choice if you spend a lot of time in stop-start city traffic.

The downside of this engine is the reduced fuel economy and CO2 emissions that can be as high as 162g/km, when the X-Trail is fitted with 19-inch wheels, making it an expensive choice as a company car.

Fuel

Fuel economy

Power

Acceleration (0-62mph)

Top speed

1.6 DIG-T

Petrol

45.6mpg

163hp

9.7sec

124mph

1.6 dCi

Diesel

55.4-57.6mpg

130hp

10.5-11.4sec

117mph

2.0 dCi

Diesel

47.1-50.4mpg

177hp

9.4-10.0sec

127mph

Nissan X-Trail Trims 

Visia, Acenta, N-Connecta, Tekna

The basic Nissan X-Trail Visia (which is the choice of just 1% of X-Trail buyers, so they’re rare second-hand buys) comes with essential safety kit such as two Isofix child-seat points, six airbags, hill-start assistance and tyre-pressure monitoring. It also includes 17in alloy wheels, digital radio, USB port, a four-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, electric windows all round, cruise control, heated mirrors, split-folding rear seats and air-conditioning.

Moving up to Acenta costs around £2,000 and many customers see it as good value, as it adds front foglights, a leather steering wheel, a panoramic sunroof, parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers, plus two extra speakers for the stereo. Acenta is also the cheapest trim level that can be specified with four-wheel drive.

N-Connecta (previously called N-Tec and N-Vision) adds Nissan’s ‘Smart Vision Pack’, which is optional on Visia and Acenta grades. This incorporates automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning and traffic-sign recognition. Other features here include a seven-inch touchscreen sat-nav system, a 360-degree parking camera, 19-inch alloys, roof rails and a powered tailgate, which has handsfree operation since the 2017 update.

Topping the range is the X-Trail Tekna, which comes with blind-sport warning, leather upholstery, brighter LED headlights, power-adjustable heated front seats and a self-parking system. As with every other model in the X-Trail range, the extra two seats in the boot are optional.

Nissan X-Trail Reliability and warranty 

Buyers tend to expect good reliability from Japanese brands like Nissan, but X-Trail owners who responded to Auto Express magazine’s 2017 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey appear were disappointed with how the car performed in this area. It was ranked 64th (out of 75 models) for overall satisfaction and 75th (last place) for reliability.

There isn’t much better news on the warranty front, either: the X-Trail gets a pretty bog-standard three years or 60,000 miles of cover, which less than what’s offered by its direct rivals the Kia Sorento (seven years/100,000 miles) and Hyundai Santa Fe (five years/unlimited miles).

Used Nissan X-Trail 

Demand for the Nissan X-Trail is high among both new and used buyers (this third-generation model has seen sales increase by 97% since its introduction in 2014, compared to the previous model), so the amounts of money that can be saved in either situation is comparatively modest for now. Indeed, it’s the relatively poorly equipped Visia trim level that attracts the biggest discounts – largely because buyers want better-equipped variants – so if you really want to save on an X-Trail, you’ll have to prepared to do without some desirable extras, plus it might be difficult to sell on.

A great deal of X-Trail buyers want the car specifically for the fact that is has seven seats, so bear this in mind – especially as only around 40% of cars have a third row. Whether you’re buying new or used, a five-seater example won’t hold its value as well on the second-hand market a couple of years down the line as its seven-seat counterpart will. Alternatively, if you're sure you only need five seats and plan to keep the car for a good while, you may benefit from greater discounts.

A series of changes in 2017, as part of a mid-life update, sharpened up the X-Trail’s looks and added a more modern-looking cabin with upgraded materials. Bear this in mind when comparing models from this year: most 67-plate cars will have this upgraded equipment.