Nissan X-Trail

Your prodigious mate

"The Nissan X-Trail has transformed from harsh 4x4 to car-like crossover"

"It will now appeal to a much wider audience as a result" said Issam

"Top comfort and interior spaciousness"

"NissanConnect, Nissan safety shield and world-first road handling features"

The Nissan X-Trail has always been a good selling product for Nissan, although the outgoing one was unfashionable and too boxy. But at that time Nissan was not interested in the new design perception of the crossover era. This new X-Trail has been redesigned from bottom to top with curvy edges and a rounded shape. I flew to Salalah in the Sultanate of Oman to take my first drive in the new X-Trail.

Exterior
The design signature behind the new X-Trail was to blend the sleek and stylish lines of a modern crossover with the robust appeal of a typical SUV. In place of the rugged, squared off lines of the previous generation, the X-Trail has a dynamic appearance.

Sculptured muscular lines create a distinctive silhouette framed by elegant curves and high wheel arches. Its features include a number of Nissan signature cues such as the ‘boomerang' rear lights, structured headlights with LED daytime running lamps and the characteristic D-pillar shape. LED headlights, for both high and low beams, are standard on high grade models while 18 inch alloy wheels also give new X-Trail an imposing look

Interior
When it comes to interior, this is what Nissan is good at lately. My surprise came during the first drives of both the new Altima and Sentra. When looking at it from the outside, I could tell that I would be riding in a spacious car. Believe me, the legroom space and headroom space are adequately designed to fit a guy two meters long.

Premium features include chrome, geometric metallic and piano black finishes making the new interior look modern and refined. The use of high quality and soft touch materials, elements like double stitching on the door panel, seats and center armrest combined with a very classy design puts the new Nissan X-Trail among the top in its segment.

Infotainment
The X-Trail is equipped with the latest generation NissanConnect in-car navigation, information and entertainment system. Drivers will also benefit from a comprehensive suite of assistance features that make up the X-Trail's Nissan safety shield system.

New NissanConnect is one of the foremost examples of Nissan's engineering innovation. In its latest form, NissanConnect has evolved to offer smartphone connectivity to keep owners connected to the outside world wherever their journey takes them. With access to a projected range of apps covering music, social networking and 7 inch color touchscreen, the new NissanConnect is the perfect fit for the new X-Trail. The system includes Bluetooth audio streaming and mobile phone integration as well as Aux-in and USB slots.

In addition to mobile phone integration, the system also includes Bluetooth audio streaming. The driver benefits from one of the most advanced meter displays developed. It features a 5 inch TFT color display incorporating several graphic displays accessible on rotation, offering advice and warnings such as for: average and actual speeds, navigation turn-by-turn instructions, audio content, eco driving advice and torque distribution settings in 4WD mode.

Drivetrain
The new X-Trail adopts Nissan's advanced electronic four wheel drive system, ALL MODE 4x4i. Controlled via a rotary switch on the center console, it offers a choice between two wheel drive, auto mode or lock offering permanent four wheel drive.

In the ‘default' auto mode, the system constantly monitors throttle opening, engine speed and torque to anticipate wheel spin and to distribute torque between front and rear axles as needed, at speeds of up to 80 kph. Above that speed, the system reacts to wheel spin, again shifting drive rearwards to restore traction as required. For tricky conditions and at low speeds, ‘lock' gives new X-Trail permanent four wheel drive, while drivers also have the option of a two wheel drive only version.

The two world firsts are active ride control and active engine brake. Active ride control monitors the road surface to detect undulations. Active engine brake harnesses the power and controllability of the Xtronic transmission to add a degree of engine braking while cornering or when decelerating to a standstill. The third system is active trace control. By using onboard sensors to monitor speed, steering angle, throttle opening and braking effort, active trace control brakes the wheels individually. New X-Trail benefits from uphill start support and advance dill descent control.

Driving Impressions
How was my first drive around the desert of Oman? Actually, the desert turned out to be green. I mean it. It seemed that over the past three months it has been raining the whole time.

First of all the new X-Trail is 90kg lighter than the previous generation, so that helps in driving. On the highways it felt stable to drive and in the mountains it felt alright in the corners.

Sometimes when it comes to these types of vehicles, I feel that I am the right person to test them because I do not need space; I need feeling. The X-Trail didn't entertain me at all, but that is not what it is made for, let's be realistic! It is super easy to drive for such a machine: light steering, Xtronic CVT gearbox, new infotainment system and safety features.

Because of the outgoing past models, people thought that Japanese car manufacturers produced cheap car interiors. This time I can attest it has improved and you should go sit in their new models. I'll be honest, it does not have the same kind of premium touch and feel that we get from some European car manufacturers and their SUVs, but for a car with this price and in this segment, I challenge you to beat it! Note that the 5 seater can be transformed to a 7 seater by folding up the two small backseats in the trunk, which is not going to be used except in urgent cases such as child seating in my opinion.

Verdict
The new X-Trail is now available across the Middle East and GCC. My quick impression is fair and if someone needs a good, relaxed, compact crossover SUV for an affordable price, you have just found what you were looking for. And the exterior looks quite trendy. But at the end of the day, it is the consumer's choice. Do you want to acquire a Japanese car that does not look Japanese?

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