Nissan X-Trail Review

Andrew Brady

Written by

Andrew Brady

Nissan X Trail
Nissan X Trail


1 / 10

heycar rating
"Big practical but boring SUV"
  • Launched: 2013
  • SUV
  • Petrol, Diesel

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Quick overview


  • Torquey diesel
  • Quiet and comfortable
  • Spacious


  • Ponderous to drive
  • Boring interior 
  • Third row is tight for adults

Overall verdict

On the inside


Cost to run

Prices and Specs

Overall verdict on the Nissan X-Trail

"If you want a Nissan Qashqai but you find the interior a bit too small for your growing family, the X-Trail is the car you're looking for. It's just as comfortable and easy-to-drive as its smaller sibling, but with much more back row space, a bigger boot and the option of seven seats. "

Nissan X-Trail frontleft exterior

If size is what you’re after then you’ll find plenty of it with the Nissan X-Trail. There’s more than enough space for adults in the back row and, for an extra £700, you can get a third row of seats. These are really for occasional and will fit only smaller kids, use but they give the X-Trail added practicality - just remember to try the Skoda Kodiaq too, since it's a similar price and also provides the option of seven seats. 

If you go for a five-seat Nissan X-Trail you get a spacious 550-litre boot, which has a two-part adjustable load floor for extra flexibility. This is further enhanced by the fact the middle row of seats are mounted on runners, so you can pick between more legroom or load space. Alternatively you can fold the seats entirely to maximise carrying space. 

The engine range includes a 163PS petrol, which is a good fit for the X-Trail and provides ample performance, plus a 130PS 1.6-litre dCi diesel. It might sound too small for such a large car but it's more than capable thanks to peak torque of 320Nm. If you do need more go, there's a 2.0-litre dCi with 177PS and 380Nm of torque. 

Two-wheel drive is standard but for those who live in areas with a tough climate there is an all-wheel drive option. There's also a CVT transmission option which is smooth and quiet for the most part, only droning when accelerating hard. With seven seats and a reasonable 2000kg braked towing weight, the X-Trail is capable of all sorts of family tasks including caravan holidays. 

Some might think it’s too similar to the Nissan Qashqai to spend the extra money on, while rivals including the Skoda Kodiaq are plusher and more upmarket - but it’s certainly worth a look if you demand a comfortable, easy-to-drive car with plenty of space.

Comfort and design: Nissan X-Trail interior

"The cabin in the Nissan X-Trail is light, spacious and reasonably well finished. The dashboard is covered in plush, soft-touch plastic while harder plastics are used elsewhere, but they generally feel hardwearing and durable. The instruments are clear and the minor controls are all easy to operate without consulting the manual - but some of the switches feel on the cheap side, especially next to a Skoda Kodiaq."

Nissan X-Trail front interior

The layout feels dated next to the Kodiaq too, with the low-res touchscreen system feeling antiquated next to the huge, bright screen in the Skoda. On the plus side, space is excellent with more than enough head and legroom in the back to comfortably accomodate adults. The back seats slide forward and back too, meaning you can select between knee room and load space depending on your needs.

The boot is spacious at 550 litres, but that can be expanded even further if you tumble the rear seats forward. For those with larger families there is a seven seat configuration on offer, but the rearmost row of seats is too small for anything other than occasional, short trips - even for children. That's down to the tiny amount of foot and knee room on offer. 

That's another area where the Skoda Kodiaq beats the X-Trail. It's extra row of seats is surprisingly useful and, while it's also only really meant for occasional use, the kids sat back there should at least last a few more miles before they start to whine and ask "are we there yet?".

Standard equipment is decent - even entry level models get alloy wheels, cruise control and hill-hold assist, while mid-level models gain extras like a panoramic roof. The best value trim level is the n-tec, which comes with a 360 degree parking camera, a navigation system and a powered tailgate. Moving to a top Tekna trim model adds luxuries including heated leather seats, a blind spot warning system and moving object detection.

Handling and ride quality: What is the Nissan X-Trail like to drive?

"Over potholes, ripples, lumps and bumps the cabin is serene, absorbing everything but the most severely damaged roads. The level of comfort is further helped by good visibility and lightly-weighted, easy-to-use controls. There are extra niceties like the electronic parking brake with hill-hold function - which makes stopping and starting simple. It's very easy to drive. "

Nissan X-Trail backleft exterior

The excellent ride quality comes at the expense of handling, though. The X-Trail isn’t a car that revels in being driven hard - pushing into bends with any pace causes noticeable body roll. However, in town, on the motorway and at more sedate speeds, the X-Trail has impressive road manners and is very relaxing and comfortable.

The engine range kicks off with a 163PS DIG-T petrol engine. This is up to the task of propelling the X-Trail, though it can get loud when accelerating hard. And, while it does the job around town and on the motorway, you'll have to pick a diesel if you live in a rural area and need all-wheel drive, or if you need an automatic transmission.

The cheapest diesel choice is a 1.6-litre dCi diesel with 130PS and 320Nm of torque.  It might sound like a small engine for a large car, but technology has moved on since the last X-Trail was introduced, but this has since been replaced by a 177PS 2.0-litre dCi and it's a better choice all round, with more punch and flexibility, if you can afford to pay the extra over the 1.6. 

The standard transmission is a smooth-shifting six-speed manual, but a CVT automatic is offered and it's designed to behave more like a traditional seven-speed auto, with steps programmed in rather than the usual infinitely variable gear ratios. This improves refinement under full throttle acceleration - though it still drones a little when pressing on hard. 

Unlike the previous model, the latest X-Trail is offered with two-wheel drive as standard. A 4x4 version is optional and it drives more or less exactly the same as the front-drive car, but with an automatic all-wheel drive system for slippery conditions, or the option to lock the differential. It’s useful for snowy areas or loose surfaces, but most drivers will find the front-wheel drive car more than adequate.

Usefully, for a family car, there is a comprehensive range of safety gadgetry on offer. Auto emergency brakes, lane departure warning, auto high beam, traffic sign recognition, automated parking assistance, a 360-degree birds-eye parking camera, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert are among the technologies available - but they're not standard so be careful when configuring your dream X-Trail. 

MPG and fuel costs: What does a Nissan X-Trail cost to run?

"In a large and heavy SUV like the Nissan X-Trail, diesel engines make the most sense thank's to their lazy power delivery and improved fuel economy".

Nissan X-Trail backleft exterior

The cheapest diesel choice is a 1.6-litre dCi diesel with 130PS and 320Nm of torque. Emissions are 129g/km with official fuel economy of 57.6mpg for the most efficient front-wheel drive manual model. In 2015 a 163PS version of the 1.6 diesel was added, with 230PS. As you might expect, economy drops with the hike in power, with a claimed 149g/km of CO2 and 45.6mpg.

How much should you be paying for a used Nissan X-Trail?

"Even the basic Nissan X-Trail comes with long list of standard equipment that makes it an easy car to live with everyday"

Nissan X-Trail switch

Visia is the entry level model and comes with 17 inch alloy wheels and LED running lights on the outside. Inside, you get an electric parking brake, six airbags, a tyre pressure monitor system, cruise control that holds the car at a set speed, a speed limiter which can stop you speeding, a Bluetooth phone connection and air conditioning. On top of all that lot, you also get electric and heated mirrors, folding, reclining and sliding rear bench 60/40, hill start assist, front and rear power windows, rear armrest with cupholder and a spare wheel.

Acenta trim adds Privacy glass that'll help keep the interior cooler in direct sunlight, door mirrors that fold away neatly when you're parked, front foglights, plus a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear knob. You also get a six speaker audio, dual zone climate control with separate controls for you and your front-seat passenger, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, auto lights and wipers, a power sunroof along with front and rear parking sensors.

N-Connecta models represent the best value. They look sportier on the outside thanks to their 18-inch alloy wheels and satin roof rails. Inside, you get a 7-inch touchscreen with navigation, a 360-degree parking camera, hands-free tailgate, keyless entry and start, while safety is boosted with traffic sign recognition, lane departure warning, auto emergency brakes, as well as front and rear parking sensors. 

Tekna is the top trim. It adds blind-spot warning, rear cross traffic alert and moving object detection – both of which can brake the car if they detect an imminent collision – auto park, plus LED headlights with auto dip and a beam that can match the shape of the road. On the outside, Tekna models get 19-inch wheels while inside, you get a leather interior, electrically adjustable front seats, heated seats front and rear, a heated steering wheel and a Bose stereo. 

Nissan X Trail cars for sale on heycar

Number of cars available
£12K - £31K
Price bracket of these cars
BlackBlue+ 7 more
Colours available on heycar
5 doors
Door options available

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