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Nissan X-Trail wagon
  |  First Published: September 2004



COMFORTABLE, capable, roomy, smooth, quiet – that’s the Nissan X-Trail wagon. The luxurious top-of-the-range Ti model has even more to offer, with a rear roof spoiler, 16” alloy wheels, integrated front fog lamps, climate control air-conditioning and a six-stacker CD player.

Whichever model you choose, however, the five-seater Nissan X-Trail wagon is a pleasure to drive thanks to overall roominess coupled to excellent ride and handling.

The X-Trail’s all-mode 4X4 system gives you the option of selecting 2WD (front wheels) for most driving with ‘lock’ mode then distributing power via 57/43 front/rear wheels for more demanding conditions. In this respect the X-Trail is similar to some of the other ‘part-time’ or ‘crossover’ off-road vehicles so popular today, with a 4WD system that’s useful for short-term off-road use in less severe conditions. When the going really gets tough you’re better off with bigger brothers Pathfinder and Patrol, where a low reduction gearbox is on hand to really get the torque down to the rubber.

OFF ROAD

The X-Trail does have reasonable ground clearance, however, at 150-195mm. Departure and approach angles are quite respectable at 25 and 28 degrees respectively, so you can take the Nissan wagon off road to quite a reasonable degree, with care. I’d happily use it on the beach for low tide running, and it’s rated 2000kg towing capacity for braked trailers so I’d see the wagon happily pulling a fair-sized boat up a ramp once that ‘lock’ mode was applied.

However, it’s around the suburbs and on the open highway that you’ll truly appreciate the roominess, comfort provided by coil spring suspension and McPherson struts up front, and the smoothness of the Ti’s four-speed automatic unit.

Ti SPECS

The test vehicle came in Ti specs, which is not far removed from the base ST model. Both share such features as the gutsy 2.5-litre DOHC fuel injected engine, the auto transmission, ABS, driver and front passenger SRS airbags, keyless entry system, engine immobiliser, air-conditioning, power windows, 60/40 fold-down rear seats, remote fuel fill opener and a handy removable wash-out luggage board for the rear compartment.

Anglers will warm to this latter item as it means that after a session on the fish we can simply remove the luggage board from the rear of the car and wash it. Saves setting up all those tarps and stuff we currently use!

Given that the X-Trail sits in a very competitive market niche, Nissan has done its part to seek a share of this market with the result that the X-Trail is very well finished with a feeling of genuine luxury. Bumpers, wheel arches and side protective mouldings are all colour-coded and the Ti’s 16-inch mags really set it apart. Passengers in the rear enjoy plenty of head and leg room. Sound insulation from the exterior of the vehicle is so good that virtually nothing intrudes. The climate control air-conditioning of the Ti is efficient and precise, and a rear seat entertainment pack consisting of DVD/VCD/CD/MP3 player is available as an optional extra.

DRIVER COMFORT

The driver sits in a very comfortable seat, with a neat ‘command’ driving position, with dash instruments in full view within the dash centre, an X-Trail feature. The cruise control is fingertip activated and ultra-easy to use and even the tallest driver will find plenty of foot room available.

Night driving is a pleasure thanks to the excellent halogen headlights and the easy-to-read analogue-style instruments on the dash.

At the wheel you’ll find the X-Trail seldom lacks performance. The 2.5-litre DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder engine is a willing performer, offering power and torque figures of 132kW and 245Nm respectively. In town, the X-Trail slips away from the lights with the best of them – and on the highway you have overtaking power with just a touch on the accelerator.

ANGLER-FRIENDLY FEATURES

There are quite a few features that the angling fraternity will appreciate about the Nissan X-Trail.

First of all, there’s the overall ease of driving and high comfort levels, which means that long runs are a pleasure rather than a chore when heading for a far-off fishing destination after a long week of work.

The ground clearance and useful 4WD modes available via the dash control switch are features which allow access to areas which less well-equipped vehicles can’t get to. And then there is the large standard capacity of the rear cargo area which, large as it is, more than doubles when the rear seats are folded down. There is a power outlet here as well, in which to hook up the 12-volt fridge. Good stuff.

And don’t overlook that towing capacity either. Even un-braked trailers up to 750kg are fine (which covers a lot of tinnies), while that braked trailer tow capacity of 2000kg is impressive.

Fuel economy was very good at between 8.2 litres and 9.6 litres per 100km in a mix of both city and country driving conditions.

Prices start from approximately $__________ for a manual ST and $__________ for a manual Ti (prices exclude on-road costs).

[CAPTIONS]

1) The X-Trail is a very attractive unit. Note the Ti’s mag wheels and rear spoiler plus the colour matched exterior, which is standard on both ST and Ti X-Trails.

2) A view of the X-Trail’s dash layout, showing the radio/CD player and four-wheel-drive activation switch. The four-wheel-drive system works well and is virtually instantaneous.

3) This large cargo area nearly doubles in size when the rear seats are folded down.

4) A tinny like this one would be easily towed by the X-Trail, which has a rated towing capacity of 750kg for un-braked trailers.

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