By Stewart Smith on 2016-12-03 - Stewart was the former motoring editor of the Coventry Telegraph and is now a freelance contributor to Eurekar. He is based in Scotland and specialises in First Drive reviews.
Nissan X-Trail 2017
- First Drive
NISSAN'S UK factory at Sunderland will start producing an all new X-Trail crossover soft-roader in a couple of years' time along with a new Qashqai and swell total production at the giant plant up to around 600,000 vehicles a year.
To keep the X-Trail fresh until then Nissan has opted to give the popular go-anywhere SUV a boost in diesel power.
The X-Trail is a model in demand. Across Europe, sales are up 50 per cent so far this year and sales are expected to grow further with the arrival of this new model.
Nissan says industry data reveals higher-powered models account for 46 per cent of the medium SUV segment, and by launching the 2.0-litre diesel the X-Trail's market coverage increases by 41 per cent.
Nissan UK says that it expects around a quarter of all new sales of the X-Trail to be for the new, more powerful diesel engine.
The new four-cylinder engine has an output of 177bhp, with 380Nm of torque providing excellent pulling power throughout the rev range and is a significant step up in power from the existing 1.6-litre 130bhp model.
February will see the launch of this new, more powerful diesel X-Trail, which for the first time will offers the choice of Nissan's Xtronicautomatic gearbox, linked to a four-wheel drive transmission.
Added to the options of a six-speed manual and two-wheel drive, this will further broaden Nissan's presence in the larger SUV sector.
The extra power from the 2.0-litre engine will be good news for drivers who need a capable towing motor and the Nissan says the new version will offer a towing capacity is 2,000kg on the manual model and 1,650kg on the two Xtronics, making the car ideal for those who need to move caravans, horseboxes, boats, trailers, etc.
As far as economy goes, the existing 1.6 diesel is a bit more frugal on fuel use and produces lower CO2 emissions and the new version, while offering more power, has slightly lower fuel use at a claimed 50.5mpg and CO2 coming in at 149g/km.
But on a test drive in the Black Forest in Germany I found a noticeable difference in performance especially when behind the wheel of the six speed manual X-Trail.
There is definitely a better response low down the rev range and on the autobahn stretch of the test route the big Nissan bowled along keeping up with the fast-flowing German traffic.
The 4x4 automatic, a first in the X-Trail line-up, has just slightly less performance but the noise from the CVT auto-box when hunting for gears on twisty, hilly roads was a bit annoying.
What was an eye-opener for me was the superb suspension the X-Trail now has.
It didn't matter what surface we drove on, whether motorway, rough B roads or off-road with huge potholes, gravel and snow , it ironed them out extremely well and it also suppressed engine and wind noise on high-speed stretches.
No changes have been made to the exterior or interior of the new X-Trail and it still offers a great amount of room and flexibility for family motoring being available as a five or seven-seater with a lot of load space.
The second row splits and folds 60/40 for additional luggage space, reclines for passenger comfort and slides forward for easy access to the optional third row. This splits 50/50 and folds completely flat to create maximum load space.
A powered tailgate is available, operated at the tap of a button on the boot, via the Nissan Intelligent Key or with a switch mounted next to the driver.
As with all Nissan crossovers, the new X-Trail diesel comes with a good range of advanced driving systems.
These include Nissan safety shield technologies, such as intelligent emergency braking, driver attention alert, traffic sign recognition, high-beam assist, blind spot warning and lane departure warning.
Competition in this sector of the market is fierce but if you fancy an X-Trail with added power then you can pick one up from a starting price of £26,095.
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