2011 Nissan X-Trail ST-L Car Review and Road Test

by under Review on 09 May 2011 03:25:28 PM09 May 2011
Price Range
$28,490 - $45,240
Fuel Consumption
7.2L - 9.1L/100km

Nice packaging; extensive equipment; refinement


Some extra rear-seat legroom would make it unbeatable

Nissan has sold around 100,000 X-TRAILs in Australia and the compact SUV remains immensely popular with Aussie families.

And with good reason – the Nissan X-TRAIL is smartly packaged, feature-loaded and great value.

Now Nissan has broadened the X-TRAIL lineup with the launch of 2.0-litre, two-wheel-drive (2WD) versions in the entry-level ST and mid-spec ST-L model grades. The 2WD X-TRAIL starts at $27,990 (introductory ‘Driveaway’ price) making the competent Nissan even better value.

Nissan X-TRAIL Overview

Car Showroom has just enjoyed an extended test of the mid-range Nissan X-TRAIL 4WD ST-L automatic (stickered at $38,490).

Amongst its extras, the ST-L model Nissan X-TRAIL gains automatic climate-control air-conditioning, rear privacy glass (appreciated by families with young children), some extra chrome trim, leather seats with electronic adjustment and heating for the fronts, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear lever, 17-inch alloy wheels and a cargo blind.


Nissan X-TRAIL competes in one of the most hard-fought market segments but Nissan has made sure specifications and pricing are spot-on.

And – given that many X-TRAILs are driven by mums - the packaging remains just right, with handy luggage capacity provided in an overall package which is easy to maneuver and park.

Nissan X-TRAIL Engine

Nissan’s 2.5-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine ranks amongst the most powerful amongst its rivals with 125kW at 6,000rpm and peak torque of 226Nm at 4,400rpm. Honda’s CRV delivers 125kW/218Nm, Subaru’s Forester is good for 126kW/229Nm and Toyota’s RAV4 provides 125kW/224Nm.

It complies with Euro IV emissions standards and the latest upgrades saw an improvement in fuel consumption – down to 9.1l/100kms.



Our ST-L model Nissan X-TRAIL was fitted with Nissan’s continuously variable (CVT) automatic transmission

Nissan X-TRAIL 4WD models feature Nissan’s excellent ALL MODE 4x4 system.

Nissan X-TRAIL The Interior

The leather seats certainly up the ante in the luxury stakes for the ST-L model Nissan X-TRAIL. In fact in the latest upgrades Nissan improved the seats with thicker materials for extra comfort and re-designed the fronts to provide an extra 10mm of knee room for rear seat passengers.

The nice leather-trimmed steering wheel is just the right size and its rake/reach adjustment combined with six-way electronic adjustment for the drivers seat (four-way for the front passenger) to deliver a nice driving position.

Instruments were improved in the latest upgrade for the Nissan X-TRAIL with some additional chrome trim and a larger screen for the informative Nissan Vehicle Information Display which includes ‘Distance To Empty’ for the fuel tank (every car should have this) and even distance to the next scheduled oil change. The Nissan X-TRAIL uses the conventional two-dials.


Centre console sees the climate control, 4WD switch and audio – a six CD system with MP3 and Bluetooth compatibility (six speakers for the ST-L model we tested).

Rear seat passengers enjoy adjustment for the seat backs but not a huge amount of legroom. The rear seat split folds 40/20/40.

Cargo carrying is a strong point for the Nissan X-TRAIL. There are storage drawers with adjustable restraining gadgets and it’s all trimmed in easy-to-clean hard plastic – just perfect for the needs of families or those who enjoy recreational pursuits like surfing, hiking and mountain biking.

On the safety front are six airbags including roof-mounted front-to-rear curtain airbags.

Nissan X-TRAIL Exterior & Styling

We like the recently upgraded looks of the Nissan X-TRAIL – it’s distinctive, modern and uncomplicated. In fact the latest Nissan X-TRAIL has grown – 10mm longer, higher and wider.

Most noticeable is a new front-end with fresh looks from the new bumper, grille and headlights. At the rear, new LED taillights are prominent and give the Nissan X-TRAIL a stronger look.


The latest Nissan X-TRAIL is also more aerodynamic with improvements including underbody cladding cutting the drag co-efficient to 0.35.

Our ST-L model rode on new design 17-inch alloy wheels, which looked stylish and from a practicality viewpoint were easy to clean.

Nissan X-TRAIL On The Road

The Nissan X-TRAIL is one of the larger compact SUVs and while that helps carry the load, its on-road dynamics aren’t as ultimately sharp as say the Subaru Forester. Of course the flip side to that is the X-TRAIL rides comfortably over the bumps, provides excellent refinement/isolation of noise, is very competent off-road with lots of ground clearance and delivers a 2,000kgs towing capacity. 


Around town, the X-TRAIL is a breeze – nicely responsive for freeway merging and easy to park with its 11-metre turning circle and good visibility.

Over our mountain roads test loop the X-TRAIL was predictable and offered plenty of grip, but enthusiast drivers would notice some body roll – as is the case with most compact SUVs.

Nissan X-Trail Challenges

Despite the extra space delivered in the most recent Nissan X-TRAIL facelift, rear set legroom isn’t on par with the best in this segment.

Nissan X-Trail Verdict

Most of us at Car Showroom have young families and we agree the Nissan X-TRAIL is a winner. Its practicality is well executed, the overall sizing is city-friendly and not intimidating. The ST-L model tested is strong on luxury and value.


For families and recreationalists it’s the little things that score big with the Nissan X-TRAIL – like the abundance of storage locations, especially in the cargo area with its plastic lining for easy cleaning.

Nissan X-Trail The Competition

Nissan X-TRAIL competes against a ‘Who’s Who’ of compact SUVs - Subaru’s Forester Premium, Toyota RAV4 Cruiser, Mitsubishi Outlander LS, Honda CRV Sport and Holden Captiva SX all stake a claim for the family dollar (petrol-engined).

A couple of worthwhile alternative considerations are the American Dodge Journey and from France the Peugeot 3008 and Renault Koleos.

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