Having had six years in production to refine all of the details, the 2013 Nissan X-Trail has proven to be among the leading SUVs in the Australian market for vehicles in its class. It is overtaking the dominant manufacturers of the past in sales, beating out big names like Toyota and Mazda. The X-Trail has succeeded in design in some very specific areas where other SUVs have failed. Many SUV manufacturers have taken an approach that gives the impression that they have simply expanded and built upon the basics of a hatchback with a higher-riding suspension. However, the Hi-Cross design that has been the main organising factor for the X-Trail’s platform gives the vehicle the feeling of a much larger and less-efficient SUV minus all the drawbacks that might come with such a purchase. The X-Trail has its own unique sensibility and a carefully sculpted silhouette that modernises the boxy SUVs that make up its lineage.
Many owners rave about the X-Trail’s abilities when it comes to off-roading. The suspension is designed to handle rugged elements, but it is not so high that it causes issues with safety or stability on the motorway. These same customers are likely to have gone with the manual gearbox that provides greater control but does ultimately sacrifice some horsepower. The automatic transmission allows drivers to retain a generous amount of torque at 2000 rpm when outfitted with the AWD diesel version of this Nissan.
The competency of the X-Trail in off-road conditions does not end with the basics of mechanics that determine the power of the engine. A test drive at your local Nissan dealer will show you that there are plenty of driver-assist features that encourage people to take the road less traveled. There is a down-hill, speed assist monitoring system and an advanced 4x4i, all-mode system put into place. This all-mode design uses internal sensors to constantly determine the angle of the vehicle in order to decide when it is appropriate to send more power to the rear axle and engage the propshaft. This highly unique off-roading component is controlled by a single dial that is conveniently placed prominently on the central console. It can be switched between a lock mode, splitting torque 50/50 between the front and rear of the vehicle, or it can be moved into two-wheel drive mode, saving fuel and converting to front-wheel drive only.
While the X-Trail is certainly more solid than the majority of its competitors in nearly all conditions, one can hardly say that the ride is irresistibly smooth. The body of the car can pitch in more extreme driving conditions, and the suspension can produce jolts for passengers due to the fact that it absorbs shocks sharply. The movement of the vehicle body is not all that consistent, however. It primarily occurs during braking under what one would consider to be “stressful” road conditions. The excellent and responsive steering does seem to make up for many of these minor shortcomings.
The 2-Litre diesel engine does seem to be better suited for gravel and dirt roads despite the fact that the engine and steering make seamless transitions from lock to lock when changing the drivetrain. The acceleration from a dead stop is not really anything to brag about, but the power is evident once the vehicle is on the move. The interior of the X-Trail is drastically simple, again, giving the distinct impression that designers were thinking specifically of utility and off-road conditions when in the drawing room. Nonetheless, the cabin is not void of technology all together. Drivers enjoy touchscreen, satellite navigation and intuitive controls for every component of the dash.
Adding to its strengths as a vehicle designed around utility, the X-Trail includes a double-cargo floor, pull-out drawer systems, and a total of over 1600 litres of storage space when the headrests are removed. Comfort is present as well. The amenities that make drivers feel at home even when they are off-road include a sunroof, leather seating, and Bluetooth capabilities. Drivers who are interested in seeing what the X-Trail has to offer in person can visit a Klosters dealership or explore their options on pricing by checking out used cars online.