If you are one our readers who is considering a SUV, it wouldn’t surprise me at all, as there is a strong shift in consumer demand towards these types of vehicles. Many wouldn’t mind a 2WD model, although there will always be those stalwarts who maintain that a SUV is synonymous with AWD (All-Wheel Drive). The Nissan X-Trail, recently re-launched as a facelift, now presents much-improved propositions for would-be buyers. There are altogether four variants, and for this test, we will be looking at the X-Trail 2.0 hybrid.
The four variants available for the Nissan X-Trail (with retail prices in P. Malaysia) are:-
- Nissan X-Trail 2.0L 2WD: RM133,888.00
- Nissan X-Trail 2.0L 2WD, MID: RM145,888.00
- Nissan X-Trail 2.5L 4WD: RM153,888.00
- Nissan X-Trail 2.0L Hybrid 2WD: RM159,888.00
The first on the list above refers to a bare specs variant for entry-level purchasers, and Edaran Tan Chong is putting its bets on the second MID (spec) model, which they believe is a very attractively priced variant at RM145,888.00. For the stalwarts, next on the list at #3 is the AWD version that has a 2.5 litre 4-cylinder engine and 171 PS of power and 233Nm of torque, enough to make it enjoyable enough to drive.
The pick of the litter is of course the 2.0L hybrid which along the other 2.0 litre variants in the line-up, feature a revised in-line 4-Cylinder, 16-valve DOHC engine with Direct Injection. The base engine produces 144 PS of power and 200Nm of torque. An electric motor contributes an additional 41 PS power and 160 Nm of torque. Put together, the total in not a simple addition of the two, but somewhere below, a figure that was not stated. We have driven the hybrid variant, and are happy to confirm that it definitely feels more powerful than the standard 2.0 litre engine on its own, and the overall feel is close to that of the 2.5 litre engine.
The 2.0L Hybrid’s drive train comes only with 2WD, but in terms of trim and other specifications, it is along the same lines as the 2.5 litre AWD variant, minus the AWD system, of course. In terms of size, the X-Trail retains the same structure as the outgoing variant, except for some minor changes due to a face-lifted front and rear design. Generally, the X-Trail is 4,690mm long, with a wheelbase of 2,705mm, which puts it into the mid-sized SUV category. All the variants except for the 2.0L Hybrid are with seven seats. The Hybrid only comes with five seats because the hybrid batteries now take up the space occupied by the two rear-most seats, which normally fold flat onto the floor.
Power transmission to the road is through a CVT system that has seven virtual gear ratios, and includes a manual shift option using the gear shift lever. Suspension is McPherson struts for the front and a multi-link arrangement at the rear, with ventilated disc brakes all round, and 17-inch wheels.
The main improvements to the X-Trail range are carried in the 2.5L AWD and the 2.0L Hybrid, and the list of new features and improvements is quite impressive – in fact they bring the X-Trail on par with and in some cases, surpasses its competitors.
In addition to the normal ABS systems that include BA (Brake Assist), EBD (Electronic BrakeForce Distribution), all variants come with Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), which we should read as Vehicle Stability Control. This system also includes Traction Control System (TCS). All these afore-mentioned features are across the board for all variants, including Electronic Parking Brakes and AutoHold.
The two top models, namely the AWD 2.5 L and the 2.0L Hybrid get additional goodies, classified as a group as Nissan Intelligent Mobility (NIM). This includes Intelligent Forward Collision Warning with Intelligent Forward emergency Braking. This system will give a warning if it senses and impending collision, and will automatically prime and apply brakes as necessary to mitigate or prevent a collision. Intelligent Cruise Control and High Beam Assist are also standard features on these two top variants. Lane Departure Warning, Blind spot Warning, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, also available for these two top variants is also shared with the MID spec 2.0L 2WD X-Trail.
Intelligent Round View Monitor with Intelligent Moving Object Detection, another useful feature, is shared across all variants, as is TRACE Control (which is Nissan’s name for Torque Vectoring or the automatic braking of the inside wheels during cornering for better traction. In addition, the X-Trail also features Active Brake Limited Slip (ABLS) which brakes on a slipping wheel to transfer drive to the other side of the axle, and Hill Start Assist.
All variants have six airbags, except for the base variant which only has four. Similarly, all variants except the base variant have Motion Activate Power Tailgate, something we first saw in a Ford, some years ago.
With all the above improved features, it certainly makes the Nissan X-Trail more appealing. A spokesman for Edaran Tan Chong also noted that Nissan will not be continuing with the Teana, (Nissan’s D-Segment Sedan), and that the company will be paying more attention to the SUV segment, with hints that there could be a compact-sized SUV coming this way before long.
We took the Nissan X-Trail 2.0L Hybrid on a mountainous road, and also on long stretches of highway as part of an organized media drive to check out the overall handling and stability. When driven at regulation speeds, the X-Trail feels really quiet and is very stable. As the driver, you will get a sense of security from the excellent stability, and the ride is very comfortable for both driver and passengers. The suspension is set on
the slightly firm side of comfortable. The seats are rather large, and although it couldn’t really hold me securely, it would be a boon for larger-sized occupants. Body roll is minimal, thanks to large stabilizer bars, and braking is more than adequate, noting that both the front and rear discs are ventilated.
The CVT works really well in the X-Trail, providing optimum ratios all the time, and moving as quickly as possible to top gear to save fuel. For the hilly stretches, I moved the shift lever to ‘manual’ as that provided me with more control over the gears for a bit of spirited driving, but for ‘normal’ usage, it would be perfectly all right to maintain it in auto mode. More on the actual driving experience can be seen at: https://youtu.be/oLQbRy3LDZY
All things said and done, the Nissan X-Trail 2.0L Hybrid is actually Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility showcase in Malaysia, putting most of Nissan’s mobility features in one vehicle at one go, at an extremely affordable price too.