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Nissan X-Trail Tekna
I ONCE met a man who was grey from head to foot.
He had been patrolling an offroad course in a forested area of North Yorkshire in his battered Nissan X-Trail. The weather was unseasonably hot, dust clung to cars and clothing, and there he stood... the most dust-covered man I had ever seen.
Being called on time and again to help drivers negotiate trickier parts of the course, he had become enveloped in a grey hue.
Day after day, his X-Trail negotiated the course, clocking up 190,000 miles, and it was still going strong, unlike the vehicle I was in, which my co-driver had unwittingly driven over a tree branch in and ruptured the fuel pipe. Nevermind, the grey man and his trusty X-Trail would get us back to base.
Reputations for off-road capability are made by people like the grey man, who extolled the virtues of his X-Trail to all who cared to listen. This was a proper 4x4, doing a proper 4x4 job.
However, the vast majority of 4x4s have to do a lot more than the off-road stuff these days. Many will not even venture further than a grassy picnic spot or the village recreation ground for the annual fete.
But the X-Trail was made for getting dirty. It is thoroughly reliable off-road, where the X-Trail proves it’s far more than a jackedupped estate car and is capable of the kind of out-door pursuiting Nissan claims many X-Trail owners are likely to engage in.
Deep wading and rough ground prove no problem thanks to excellent ground clearance and a comprehensive suspension system that’s resulted from the X-Trail sharing a platform with the Qashqai. The switchable fourwheel drive makes light work of ascending and strong brakes provide safe descending.
The driving experience is made all the more relaxing by the adoption of six-speed manual transmissions across the range. On the road, it is quiet and the ride soft, with controls light enough to make you lazy. The softer suspension does result in a little body roll and the occasional subdued lunge on the brakes – but those are the only handling reminders that you’re in an SUV thanks to an otherwise stable ride.
Featuring superb levels of grip afforded by All-Mode 4x4-i, X-Trail is one of the most practical and comfortable SUVs on the market.
A recent facelift introduced a redesigned grille, new bumper and revised lights, as well as LED taillights. Modifications to both the manual and automatic gearboxes, plus aerodynamic improvements for a lower CO2 figure and extensive revisions the 2.0-litre diesel engine all result in greater efficiency. Fuel economy is improved and emissions reduced.
Improved materials have given the interior a greater feeling of quality while new equipment includes the integration of the XTrail’s rear-view camera display into the central ceiling-mounted mirror for models not equipped with a satellite navigation screen.
The changes have proved popular, X-Trail seeing a 38 per cent jump in sales in Europe last year, with 33,752 examples sold.
It is also very comfortable and there is enough legroom in the back to seat adults with ease.
So what’s it like to drive? The vehicle I have on test comes with a 171bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine coupled to a six-speed gearbox.
The engine delivers its power smoothly and without fuss, making for a relaxing drive. Low-range gears and and a braked towing capacity of 2200kg mean that whether you are pushing through poor terrain or pulling a horsebox, the X-Trail can cope – admirably.
Not of this comes as any great surprise. After all, the X-Trail has ground out a reputation over years.
No, the surprise is the fuel consumption. At an average 44mpg, it is by no means a thirsty machine. Now that’s what I call an all-rounder.
Nissan X-Trail Tekna
PRICE: £29,580 (X-Trail range from £25,790)
ENGINE: 2.0-litre diesel, developing 171bhp
TRANSMISSION: six-speed manual driving all four wheels
PERFORMANCE: 0 to 62mph in 10.0 seconds; top sped 124mph
ECONOMY: 44.1mpg combined
CO2 RATING: 168g/km