In normal driving conditions the X-TRAIL drives the front wheels - you can electronically select four wheel drive via a rotary dial on the dashboard.
In normal driving conditions the X-TRAIL drives the front wheels - you can electronically select four wheel drive via a rotary dial on the dashboard. Should the conditions dictate four wheel drive, heavy rain or in the snow which we faced, you can select 'AUTO' at any road speed, then Nissan's clever electronics will take care of you. Drive can be redirected as much as 100 per cent front (with 0 per cent to rear) or up to 43 per cent rear (57 per cent front) almost immediately and as required. Left in 'AUTO', the system will automatically compensate for unexpected slippery conditions on-road, such as wet leaves in autumn, early morning winter ice or loose gravel at any time of the year. It also adds the benefit of better fuel economy in 2WD with the safety of 4WD when required. Even when '2WD' mode is selected should the X-TRAIL face a loss of traction from the front driving wheels, it will automatically slip into 'AUTO' mode for the duration of the problem.
The X-TRAIL offers a further four-wheel drive mode, ‘LOCK’, in which the centre clutch locks to divide drive 57:43 (front to rear), a ratio chosen because that’s how the car’s weight is apportioned over its front and rear axles. This is for serious off road use or for extreme conditions such as when starting off on an incline covered in deep snow or driving through deep mud. You don’t even have to press ‘AUTO’ when the conditions become kinder because the car will do it for you. This is all very clever and far more sophisticated than the Land Rover Freelander's permanent 4 wheel drive.
All-round ventilated disc brakes with 4 channel/5 sensor ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System), EBD (Electronic Brake-Force Distribution and Brake Assist are standard throughout the X-TRAIL model range ensuring that it brakes reassuringly well.
Ease of Use
One of major advantages of driving a four wheel drive SUV is the elevated driving position; it gives you a commanding view of the road ahead. You are able to see further down the road over the roofs of the cars in front, giving you more time to react to the events unfolding in front of you.
The X-TRAIL is a relatively easy vehicle to manoeuvre and park although we would have liked to have seen parking sensors as standard, which would be especially helpful if you are on the short side, but the large exterior mirrors do help with visibility.
We were pleased to see that Nissan have blessed the X-TRAIL with two reversing lights - we live in the country and we are not too sure that many car designers have tried reversing up a country lane at night. There are puddle lights in the front doors, which illuminate the road as you get out at night. Although some of the switchgear isn’t lit which leaves you hunting for the right switch at night.
Locally, we use a number green lanes and our local farmer allows us across his land, so we were able to experience the X-TRAIL off road and it performed admirably. However, it does lack locking differentials and a low ratio gearbox.
The vital off-road statistics are an approach angle of 29 degrees, departure 26 degrees and a ramp angle of 21 degrees for the 2.5 litre petrol and 23 degrees for the 2.2 litre diesel. Minimum ground clearance is 200mm, with a maximum 48 degree tilt angle.
The X-TRAIL would be perfect towing a boat up a slipway or a horsebox to the gymkhana. The recommended maximum towing weight for an unbraked trailer is 750 kg's and a braked trailer for the 2.2 litre diesel X-TRAIL 2,000 kg's and the 2.5 litre petrol 1,350 kg's.
Nissan X-Trail Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Nissan X-TRAIL 2.2 DCi SVE|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||11.5 Seconds|
|Top Speed||112 mph|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||45.6 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||4|
|Warranty||3-year or 60,000 miles warranty|
3-ear paint warranty
6-year anti-corrosion warranty
|Price (when tested on the 23/03/05)||£ 22,645|