The X-Trail was added to Nissan's off road range in 2001 and is something of an unsung hero. It is a compact 4x4 with practical boxy lines. Dynamically, the X-trail drives great on-road making it better choice than rivaling BMW X3 or Volvo X360. The X-Trail is the best option for those looking for a dependable yet enjoyable 4X4 car. It also returns a great value for money in terms with generous standard kit and strong resale values. The overall look of the Nissan X-Trail remains the same since 2001 apart from the light tweaks it received in 2007, but the X-Trail doesn't really need any change in design as it is a winning formula that still feels fresh and has helped the Japanese manufacturer flourish through the off road vehicle market. The X-Trail has a rugged look thanks to its chunky bumpers and dark scuff plates. Inside it has a luxurious but practical cabin that feels upmarket with high quality materials.
Having said that, the dashboard looks a bit odd with centrally fitted screen which looks like a substandard after market accessory. The X-Trail is powered by a 148bhp 2.0litre and 171bhp 2.0litre diesels mated with a six speed manual gearbox. The gearbox is smooth but it drives a bit firm and on motorways there is a lot of road noise. Having said that, it performs great on the bends thanks to the firm set-up giving it an edge over the agricultural Land Rover Freelander. The X-Trail's appetite for revs makes it an entertaining car to drive. However, like other Nissans, the X-Trail is also not the best at stopping and takes 62.6 metre to stop when brakes are applied at 70mph, the rivaling Kia Sorento (larger in size) does the same in 52.6 metres.
The X-Trail managed to score only four out of five stars in Euro NCAP crash test rating, which is same as the Toyota RAV4 but one star less than the Land Rover Freelander. However, the standard safety equipment includes six airbags, AntilocCK Braking System and electronic stability control. The four wheel or two wheel drive can be selected with a touch of a button that adds to the driver's confidence. Nissan cars have a strong reputation for reliability and the X-Trail has performed really well in owner satisfaction surveys. It finished ninth in Auto Express Driver Power Survey.
The X-Trail boast 603 litres of boot space which can be increased to 1,773litres on folding the seats, that is 100 litres more than the rivaling Freelander which is larger in sizes. There is plenty of legroom for the passengers at the back and cabin boasts a huge glovebox and lots of cubbyholes. The driver enjoys a comfortable position thanks to highly adjustable seat and steering wheel. All of these make long journeys easy for both the driver and the passengers. The X-Trail returns fuel economy of 44.1mpg which is on a par with its rivals. However, it enjoys high residual values as compared to its rivals plus the kit levels are impressive. The Sport version gets a sunroof, Bluetooth connectivity and CD changer. All of these combine to make the X-Trail an appealing package for buyers.