Nissan X-Trail Sport-X

The X-TRAIL has fast-forwarded Nissan into a new market sector: the sports utility vehicle or SUV as they call it in marketing land. Now, with the introduction of the Sport-X, the X-TRAIL will be better able to see where it’s going due to twin, roof-mounted spot lamps that will light a track 200 metres ahead and 17 metres wide. And at prices starting from £18,995, it makes the 165PS X-TRAIL 2.5 a whole £1500 more accessible.

On sale from 5 May, the Sport-X is a new addition to the range based on the Sport. It’s aimed at those who want a flashier SUV, literally with those spot lights – Safari Lamps in Nissan-speak - that come on when high beam is engaged and a dashboard mounted switch is prodded. They turn night into day making driving down a pitch black, country lane loads safer. And think of the illumination you’d have available for nocturnal activities … floodlights for an impromptu football match is one innocent example. More wattage is provided by front bumper mounted, fog lamps. And to ensure daytime privacy for back seat passengers, the rear windows are dark tinted.

Polished five-spoke 16" alloy wheels are pure flash. More practical but just as eye-catching is the substantial roof system first seen on the original X-TRAIL concept car. As well as providing a mounting point for the safari lamps, the roof system will carry up to 100 kg of kit when the accessory crossbars are attached to the standard aluminium rails. Despite the roof system, the Sport-X retains the X-TRAIL’s enormous electric glass sunroof that takes on a new application as a night-time observation hatch when used with the safari lamps. Four different paint colours are offered: Alabaster White, Zinc, Kuro Black and seat-matching Aruba Blue.

Seat-matching…? Oh yes. Although the Sport-X has the same utility themed interior as the standard X-TRAIL Sport, Nissan has made a few flashy modifications. The brightest of these are vivid blue Matrix upholstery inserts on the seats. The steering wheel rim and handbrake are trimmed in blue stitched leather and the upper part of the doors is covered in the same hard wearing cloth used for rucksacks. The Sport-X also gains steering wheel mounted audio controls and a big, lidded centre box.

A 2.2Di Sport-X is priced at £19,495 – just £500 more than the un-X-ed version. With a CO2 mass emissions figure of 190 g/km, the X-TRAIL 2.2Di slots into the 23% company car BIK banding and will return 39.2 mpg on the combined cycle – no wonder that this engine currently accounts for more than half of X-TRAIL sales. Destined to increase in popularity, though, is the 165PS 2.5-litre petrol engine that was previously only offered in £20,495 SVE form. The 2.5 Sport-X, at £18,995, is £1000 more than the 2.0 Sport. So that’s £500 for the equipment and £500 for the extra 0.5 litres of engine. The 2.5 accelerates to 62 mph in under 10 seconds, whereas the 2.0 takes 11.3 to get there, and it also has another 38 Nm of torque plus the ability to tow up to 2 tonnes of braked trailer against the 2.0’s 1.5 tonne towing limit. That means with a 2.5, you’ll get an extra horse in your horse-box.

Like every X-TRAIL, the Sport-X has an electronic – so faster reacting – four-wheel drive system. Known as ALL MODE 4x4, it offers a choice of three press-a-button settings. The first is front-wheel drive only for in-town pootling. The keener driver will select mode two, AUTO, for maximum security (and fun) on-road as well as traction for the 10% of time the car goes off-. Mode three is LOCK which predictably locks the drive front and rear for more serious cross country safaris. On such excursions, the chilled can holders will prove a literally refreshing idea as will the electronic set-and-forget climate control. And if the scenery gets a bit samey, a 6CD autochanger will provide entertainment. Unusually, it’s mounted on the dashboard so you don’t even need to stop the car and get out to change the music, reassuring if the locals are a bit hostile. Muddy boots can be thrown in the boot without having to be washed first because the load floor is covered in ribbed, tough plastic rather than carpet - when you get home, it can be lifted out for a hose down. Which is just what Land Rover is going to need after it’s read the Sport-X fitted-as-standard equipment list.
Published : 24/04/03 Author : Melanie Carter

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