Nissan X-Trail Tekna dCi 177 4WD (2018) – our long-term X-Trail Test car arrives
We’ve got the 2018 Nissan X-Trail in Tekna trim with the 177 dCi 2.0 litre diesel engine, 4WD and Tekna trim in for a long term test and review.
We’ve recently spent a few months testing and reviewing Nissan’s best-selling car in the UK – the Nissan Qashqai, and we had to conclude that it’s no surprise the Qashqai sells so well; it really is a very rounded and very complete compact family SUV, more like a hatch to drive and perfect for the trials and tribulations of a rough and tumble family life.
But what if you need a bit more room, and a bit more 4WD ability than the Qashqai offers?
Well then Nissan has that covered too with the car that’s its best-selling model worldwide – the Nissan X-Trail – which also just happens to be the best-selling SUV in the world bar none too.
So we had a chat with Nissan and they’ve sent us the 2018 Nissan X-Trail Tekna dCi 177 4WD to test and review for a few months to see how it too stands up to daily life, and to see if it offers enough to make it a better buy in the UK for a family rather than the Qashqai.
The current X-Trail arrived as a facelift model just last year, when it got much of what you’d expect from a facelift model including a titivated front and back, LED tail lights, some new alloys, new paint options, a new steering wheel and a more upmarket interior.
2018 Nissan X-Trail Tekna – a big spec
‘Our’ X-Trail is the big spec Tekna model, complete with Nissan’s 2.0 litre 177 dCi diesel engine, manual gearbox and 4WD, and it really does come well-equipped, fully justifying this car’s £36,705 price tag (plus and extra £660 for the two occasional seat option in the boot).
That means a very pleasant interior with leather trim, heated seats (two rows), power seats in the front, heated steering wheel, opening Panoramic roof, Intelligent around view monitor, Bluetooth, DAB, NissanConnect 7″ screen with Nav, auto lights, Cruise, High Beam ASsist, Intelligent Park Assist and auto wipers.
On the safety front, there’s Chassis Control, Adaptive Lights, Blind Spot, Hill Start, Emergency Braking, Lane Departure, Cross Traffic and Moving Object Detection. No wonder the only option Nissan needed to fit was the 7-seats.
Nissan X-Trail – First Impressions
It’s hard not to like the Nissan X-Trial; it’s decent looking, has plenty of room, a big spec, a boot which swallows much more than you’d expect and it’s quite decent to drive.
Saying the X-Trail is ‘quite decent to drive’ almost seems to be damning with faint praise, but far from it; the fact the X-Trail isn’t trying to be a Nurburgring blatter is hugely in its favour.
Instead of a crashy-bashy ride and jittery handling, the X-Trail simply gets on with doing its job in a very efficient, and pleasing, way. It’s really very comfortable and accommodating, the driving position is great and you get out feeling relaxed and fresh for however long you’ve been driving.
The 2.0 litre diesel engine is strong and pulls well, although, having come from the very hushed little diesel in the Qashqai recently, it is a bit rattly at tickover and a bit more intrusive than we expected.
But the coming months, and thousands of miles, will tell us what irritates and annoys, and what pleases, as we use the X-Trail just as any busy family would.
But first impressions are very positive.
Nissan X-Trail Long Term Test: How is the X-Trail Tekna in everyday use?
The 2018 Nissan X-Trail has been with us for a while now; how does it cope with everyday family life, how does it drive and are the seven seats useful?
We’ve been living with the latest Nissan X-Trail for more than a month now, and it’s been pressed into performing for everything from a tip trip to business meetings, the school run to ferrying kids to a party. It really is versatile.
The ‘Ginger’ paint job is a bit of an acquired taste, but the X-Trail still scrubs up well enough to look decently premium when you care what people think (which isn’t very often), and in this Tekna spec it does shame quite a lot of the ‘Premium’ competition.
But the X-Trail is just as much at home when it drops its back seats and takes the stuff that’s been cluttering up the back of the garage to the tip, easily swallows kids instead of ‘stuff’ when five little uns and two adults needed to go off to be injected with sugar at a birthday party, and provided a pleasing companion when one-up and off to a meeting.
What shines out with the X-Trail is that it’s big enough to cope with rather a lot of demands, but not so big it becomes a pain. It’s not the most dynamic of drives, but then who wants a family SUV to be dynamic? At least not in the real world where the family SUV has to be a jack of all trades.
It may not be dynamic, but it is very able, even when reluctantly coerced in to having six adults up – two who weren’t expected – late at night after a music festival when the driver was a little less than enthralled at having to make a ten mile diversion for the unexpected occupants, and responded (childishly, it must be said) by being less than gentle on the throttle. You’d be surprised by how quickly, and competently, the chore was despatched.
We’ve even managed to do a bit of (rather modest) green laning just to see; the X-Trail did well, although the ground was dry and the ups and downs on the modest side. Still, it did demonstrate the X-Trail is a bit more than just a boot sale car park conqueror.
Perhaps the only real disappointment is the 2.0 litre diesel engine under the bonnet. Not that there’s much wrong with its grunt and performance, at least when you’re on boost, but after the hush of the little 1.5 litre diesel in the recent long-term Qashqai it was a bit noisy when idling and when being pushed hard. But, as with these things, you stop noticing after a while, and it doesn’t detract from the X-Trail’s abilities one dot.
We’ve come to like the X-Trail rather a lot. Next month we’ll pull it all together with a conclusion. But we know which way it’s heading.
Nissan X-Trail Long Term Review: The Verdict
We’ve had the 2018 Nissan X-Trail Tekna dCi 177 4WD on the drive and on the road (and a bit off-road) for four months. What’s the verdict?
There’s nothing quite like having a car you can use every day for several months and thousands of miles to find out what works and what doesn’t. And, in the case of this Nissan Tekna, to work out why it’s the best-selling Crossover / SUV…in the world.
We’ve discovered that the X-Trail really is a very pleasing car to have to hand, not because it’s an exciting, dynamic drive, but because it’s just so capable.
Don’t start to think the X-Trail will fall over at the first bend as we say it’s not a dynamic drive. It won’t. In fact, it’s rather good at hustling along back roads if you drive it how you should drive a comfortable SUV.
If you do that you make brisk progress (even with a full payload of passengers, as we discovered), and the X-Trail is just as at home on motorways or in town. It’s one of those cars which just ‘fits’.
We even took it off-road to see if it offers any sort of chops when the roads get rough, and even though ground clearance isn’t Land Rover good, the X-Trail managed to find enough grip on a dry green lane to keep us moving without hiccups. Nissan would probably have preferred we hadn’t tried, but we did and the X-Trail sailed through unscathed.
Its easy going, laid-back nature was very easy to live with, although it did highlight a bit of coarseness in the 2.0 litre dCi diesel engine, which was much more vocal than we’d have liked and noticeably more so than the engine in the Qashqai we had a few months ago.
What it all adds up to is a decent looking, easy to live with, ‘bigger than a Qashqai’, well-built, well thought out and capable family workhorse which will do all you need if you have a busy family life, including running around with six passengers when the need arises.
It’s not a ‘cool’ car, the styling – inside and out – isn’t glitzy (apart, perhaps, from the ‘Ginger’ paint job) and its kerbside appeal is not up there with ‘Premium’ rivals.
But the X-Trail is a chunk cheaper than they are (even in Tekna trim), and does everything they can – and, in most cases, more – even if the harsh engine makes it feel less refined.
But live with the X-Trail, as we have, and you’ll end up feeling it’s a very good choice. No wonder it’s the world’s best-selling SUV.