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Quick test drive: Nissan X-Trail

Nissan X-Trail in Sydney, Australia.

In a short time I will start writing about an epic test drive I had the chance to complete in Northern Australia of what will likely be the best-selling SUV in the world in 2019: the new generation Toyota RAV4. To prepare the set for this drive, I thought it would be worthwhile to quickly test the other 3 SUVs that feature in the worldwide Top 10 for 2018. These are simple drives out of the dealership a little like I did in China last year (and will report shortly on the 2019 batch), except this time in Sydney, Australia.

At #3 overall below only the Toyota Corolla and Ford F-Series and the best-selling SUV in the world for the third year running is the Nissan X-Trail, aka Rogue in North America. I tried the ST-L 4×4 2.5 petrol variant, and that specific models with various options is priced at AUD$45.900 (28.400€ or US$31.800). And the first impression is rather underwhelming, as the X-Trail betrays its age (it was launched in late 2013, facelift in 2017) with no adaptive cruise control, okay dashboard quality but small controls hampering practicality, a standard gearbox, outdated infotainment and connectivity and very weak/soft brakes. That’s a lot of negatives that would impact the daily routine use of the car.

Small controls make it impossible to handle without looking, and therefore are dangerous. Picture caradvice.com.au

On the plus side, it’s a 7-seater to the difference of most cars in its segment, so if you have a lot of humans to transport and don’t really mind about having the latest safety features and phone connections, then it would turn out to be a lot of metal for the money. But if you like to purchase a car that is actually fitted with at least mildly recent safety and connectivity, I’m afraid the X-Trail doesn’t cut it.

Outdated cabin and materials.

Another element I inspect is the dealership environment and, fitting with the old-fashioned X-Trail, in this case I was far from engaged. “No one uses it off-road” and “You can hire one to test if off-road if you really want to” are a couple of responses I was hit with. Yes, you read that right. To my “naive” question of how will I know what it’s like off-road, in other words I want to test the 4×4 feature which add quite a significant amount of $$ to the price, I was told by the Nissan Sydney dealership I should hire a Nissan X-Trail (good luck trying to hire this very model) to test its off-road capabilities! I would understand a terse “no” at the very worst (as would more or less be the case for the next drives), but that answer just left me dumbfounded.

It’s a no from me.

Why is it successful? A lot of metal for the money.

This Post Has 4 Comments
    1. Hi Rick – it is but the 2017 facelift did not do much to improve it, so we’re left with a 2013 model really.

      1. Yes. But soccermoms didn’t care ;). Rogue sales soared. 160k in 2013, 200k in 2014 …. 400k in 2017, 410k in 2018. Very popular means of transportation.

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