Having now racked up just over 5000km, it’s time to check back in with my thoughts and experiences with Nissan’s top-selling SUV.
Dave Harding • First thing worth mentioning is that after my initial gripe about the expected fuel economy, and after being well and truly run-in now, the figures I’m getting are much more respectable. A combination of highway and city driving is now registering around the mid sixes to low sevens compared with the earlier 10.6L/100km on the dash in the early days.
My kids have taken a liking to the X-Trail, with my five-year-old son claiming “it’s cool”, especially the “magic door” (auto open/close rear tailgate) and the large panoramic sunroof. But he’s not buying the car, so from a practicality perspective, Dad likes the fact they can’t reach the door or window button from their car seats, nor can they kick the seats in front of them (which has been an issue in other smaller ‘family’ cars I’ve recently had in my possession).
As per normal when it comes to kids, we’ve had the odd ice-cream or bottle drop after falling asleep (yes, my kids can sleep with an ice-cream in their hands!) and being leather, cleaning it up hasn’t been a stressful task. The pram fits easily in the back with a couple of small/medium suitcases. But I now see the real-world value in seven-seaters…
On a recent visit by their grandparents, I struggled to fit an extra adult (average size?) in the back with the two kids’ car seats in place, unlike my colleague Alborz did in his review of the 2018 X-Trail N-Sport last year. Although we did squeeze everyone in, if three adults (including driver) and a couple of kids in car seats were a semi-regular occurrence in your life, I’d be looking at a larger offering like Nissan’s Pathfinder, or a seven-seat version of the X-Trail.
Like one of the many hundreds of Gold Coasters that have recently suffered the same fate, I fell victim to either a tyre spiking – due to certain roads in the area being deliberately littered with screws – or just an unfortunate random puncture (although it was a screw).
Waking to find it flat on the rim one morning (running late already as Murphy’s Law dictates), I hurriedly pulled the spare out (because it would be quicker than ringing Roadside Assist), only to be reminded it was a lousy space saver.
Now, space savers have a place in certain vehicles (think sports cars and, um, well in my eyes that’s about it), but in a family car that is touted as an ‘adventurous’ 4WD it’s not really acceptable. Two reasons. One, what if I were off-road? How would a space saver get me out of a difficult track?
Secondly, even if I did get out of the track, I’m destined to be on a highway back to civilization, and a space saver with an 80km/h speed limit on it makes highway/freeway driving just downright dangerous – like in my case, doing 30km/h below the posted speed limit.
Anyway, that’s another opinion piece I’m not overly qualified to write, so I’ll leave it here. Bottom line: space savers suck.
My only other (minor) gripe with my time in the X-Trail has been that when you connect your phone via the USB port to charge it, it mutes the phone’s notifications (good thing) and voice guidance on the phone map app (bad thing).
Sure, I could just use the inbuilt sat-nav, but I prefer my phone’s Apple or Google map options because their traffic-avoidance routing seems more accurate. To be fair, this isn’t an issue reserved strictly to Nissan vehicles, and is something I’ve found quite common now across a variety of vehicles.
The only other thing that continues to bug me from a driving experience is that there are no parking sensors front or rear. It’s a weird omission considering the Ti spec comes complete with Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility technologies (but labelled ‘security shield’ in the manual and on the dash) like AEB, adaptive cruise, rear cross-path alert and lane-departure warning.
So, there are plenty of radar waves floating around the vehicle, just none when you are trying to park in a tight spot (although the surround camera goes some way to alleviating this frustration, it’s not the same). Strange. That said, the adaptive cruise control is great and one of the better (accurate) systems I’ve experienced.
The driving experience so far hasn’t excited me, but then this car wasn’t designed to be a sports car. This is meant to be a practical family SUV, and that is what it delivers on. At its current pricing, I’d still keep it on my list if I were in the market for a safe and steady family SUV.