[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Nissan X-Trail has undergone a fundamental makeover, departing from the utilitarian vertical styling and off-road bias of old to Nissan’s contemporary DNA co-developed with Renault to give the more than a decade old SUV a car-like structure with curvy body and accurate cross-over styling.

Redesigned from ground up to accommodate seven seats, the new model crossover X-Trail replaces not only its predecessor but also the Qashqai+2, which somewhat describes how important Nissan feels about its new offering.

The new X-Trail now looks more sophisticated with exceptional high tech-savvy and quality cabin with a large body that delivers decent space too.

While the radical departure from conservative body SUV shape and utilitarian feel may spark contention among a few previous generation fans, this new package would no doubt appeal to a broader spectrum of buyers.

The new X-Trail continues Nissan’s fondness for building family-friendly crossovers and her concerted effort to challenge rivals such as Toyota RAV4, Honda CRV, Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe among others.

The seven-seat option also means the X-Trail is a viable alternative to the likes of the Hyundai Santa Fe given its incredible new curves, economy and kits.
Nissan says the arrival of this new X-Trail variant which shares common basic architecture with the Qashqai is intended to fill out Nissan’s crossover range and sit triumphantly at the summit of the Crossover – SUV segment where the Qashqai had until lately stand out.
Compared to the old X-Trail, the new model is much more focused on road performance than off-road prowess and it shares platform (Renault-Nissan common module) with the Qashqai though has extra ground clearance to glide over bumps effortlessly.

Also added is the new X-Trail’s all-wheel drive set-up which is an adaptive 4X4 system that can switch between fuel-saving front wheel drive, automatic mode, and send drive to the rear wheels under hard acceleration or in slippery road conditions, or in 4X4 lock mode which is ideal for the worst weather and off-road situations.
And unlike the Qashqai which comes with a simple torsion beam rear axle in two wheel drive guise and a multi-link set up on the 4X4, the al new X-Trail modes gets a sophisticated multi-link rear suspension.

The steering similarly feels fairly light with excellent on-centre feel and responds predictably when turning into corners, implying you don’t have to constantly correct the angle when going straight thus making highway journeys an easy task.

If you think you are seeing another Qashqai perhaps because of the similarity in the corporate front end of both vehicles then you aren’t seen nothing yet as the X-Trail is designed to easily sweep buyers off their feet by its sharper new architecture.

For instance, Nissan has given the X-Trail its own LED running light signature at the front, while the bold wheel arches adapt Nissan’s rugged 4X4 heritage couple with fashionable equipment levels such as cruise control and Bluetooth connectivity, 17” alloys with a more purposeful and well-proportioned high spec.

The new X-Trail is 100mm longer than its predecessor; wider and taller and of course one of the biggest cars in the medium-sized SUV class. Its 4,640mm length compares to the 4,524mm of Ford Escape and 4,690mm of the Hyundai Santa Fe and of course tallest in the group at 1.710mm.

Its 4,640mm length compares to the 4,524mm of Escape and 4,690 of the Hyundai Santa Fe and of course, the tallest at 1.710mm.
Overall passenger space in the X-Trail is good, with decent legroom all round in addition to the headroom (with optional panoramic sunroof fitted), which is also appealing in comparison with rivals. Suffice to say the X-Trail has class leading cabin space with most legroom in its class.

The rows of seating are arranged in a tiered theatre-style system, where every row sits a little higher than the one in front for better visibility and this isn’t at the expense of the headroom as there is plenty of space at the back seats.

The boot space compares to the standard big crossover SUVs at 550 litres and could be extended further when you slide the middle row of seats forward. The boot itself is boxy in shape, so, regardless of how many seats are in place longer and heavier items can be slid in and out with ease.

What’s more, the rear doors open outward to more than 80 degrees aiding access for passengers and the optional third row could fold flat with trio of seatbelts in the second row.
The X-Trail has some very neat practical touches too, like a boot floor that moves up and down to create horizontally – separated loading areas.

Nissan offers various engine specifications for different markets but only one the QR25DE 2.5Litre 4-Cylinder engine, producing 170BHP and mated to X-Tronic CVT transmission is available in Nigeria. This engine unlike its predecessor is more focused on the road than off-road prowess and responds impressively to driving manners.

One of Nissan X-Trail’s most impressive feats is great fuel economy, and the entire range is capable of nearly (60mpg) or 96.5km on four litres of fuel yet practical, spacious, efficient and competitively priced.

Nissan offers a range of accessories for the X-Trail that helps personalise it just the way you want. They include urban pack small chrome details to the exterior, 17-inch black alloy wheels with gripper tyres, cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity, I-key with push ENG Start and daytime running lights.

Should I buy an X-Trail? An expert car reviewer says: “The X-Trail is decent, very appealing, looks pretty good, drives well, serves up much practicality and of course one of the most competent machines in its class.”

Now 90kg lighter than its predecessor, the X-Trail is much more focused on the road with a lighter steering that responds predictably when turning into corners. “You don’t have to constantly correct the angle when going straight thus making driving a much more easier and friendlier,” the car reviewer said.

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