The front exterior of a black Nissan X-Trail

Nissan X-Trail review

The Nissan X-Trail is a great choice on and off-road. A very practical family car that’s well designed and built using high-quality materials, it costs less to run than premium rivals.


  • Versatile seven-seater option
  • Stylish design
  • Frugal engines


  • Limited engine choices
  • Third row of seats is cramped
  • Could be more fun to drive


“The Nissan X-Trail looks good and has lots of appeal for families.”

The Nissan X-Trail is an excellent choice for families looking for a large versatile SUV. With the option of seven seats and plenty of space for luggage, the X-Trail is super practical. Both well built and reliable, it’s unlikely to let you down. Easy to drive and comfortable, the X-Trail has a range of efficient engines and won’t cost much to run.

The X-Trail was updated on the outside in 2017, while the engine line-up was replaced in early 2019 with a 1.7-litre diesel and a 1.3-litre petrol.

Trim levels include the standard Visia, rising through the popular Acenta and N-Connecta models, with the lavishly-equipped Tekna topping the tree.

What’s the interior like?

“The X-Trail’s cabin is well designed, well built and has a premium feel. Its seven seats also give it an advantage over many rivals.”

All versions include a five-inch display in the centre of the dash which gives it a high-tech feel. The N-Connecta trim even introduces a seven-inch touchscreen navigation and infotainment system. Other standard-fit items include Bluetooth connectivity and all-round electric windows. The Acenta trim has tinted glass and a panoramic sunroof. It’s all very well built, attractive and the interiors feel nice to the touch.

There’s a wide range of seat adjustment options, so getting comfortable isn’t a problem. There’s plenty of head and legroom for front and rear passengers, unless you’ve found an X-Trail with a panoramic roof which reduces headroom in the rear.
The rear row of seats folds flat into the boot when you don’t need them. This allows you to slide bigger items into the boot. When you do use them, you’ll find they’re better suited for children as space is limited. Knee room can be cramped, but you’re able to slide the middle row of seats forward for more space.
Boot space is an impressive 565 litres with the seats up, which is enough space for several large suitcases.

What’s it like to drive?

“The X-Trail is good to drive with a range of engines to suit your needs.”

The X-Trail is easy to drive and has a higher driving position which provides excellent visibility of the road. The steering also has a nice feel to it.
It drives well on the standard 17-inch wheels which is the best choice for most people. You’ll be unlikely to notice uneven road surfaces with these wheels.

The latest engine line-up introduced in 2019 includes a 1.7-litre diesel and a downsized 1.3-litre petrol, which both suit the X-Trail’s relaxed character.

Earlier cars had the option of the 1.6-litre diesel engine which is good choice, unless you want to use it for towing or if you regularly have a full load. In that case, the more powerful 2.0-litre diesel is better suited, although it’s not quite as smooth and quiet as the smaller version.
The diesel engines will only make sense if you plan to drive more than 12,000 miles per year. If not, a petrol engine is the best choice.

Is it cost-efficient to buy and run?

“The X-Trail offers surprisingly good fuel economy and other ownership costs will be well below premium rivals.”

The 1.6-litre diesel X-Trail was the most popular new choice, so there are more of them on the used market. The engine’s economy is often better than most rivals. Choose one with front-wheel drive only and the official economy figure reached just under 58 mpg.

The newer 1.7 diesel is measured under the latest official system for more accurate real world results and is quoted at 44 mpg, which isn't a bad average for a relatively large car. The petrols are less widely available and less efficient with mpg in the low to mid-30s.

Insurance costs are competitive with the class, thanks in part to the modest performance, while servicing costs should also be reasonable.

How reliable and safe is it?

“Not quite up to Nissan’s best, but the X-Trail gives no cause for alarm on reliability. Safety scores are good.”

Nissan usually does OK in reliability surveys, but there have been some indications the X-Trail lags a little, with more owners than usual reporting faults in at least one survey, typically with the electrics.

It's safety levels are entirely positive though, with the X-Trail scoring the full five stars in independent Euro NCAP crash testing. All cars come with a good roster of basic safety kit, including six airbags and electronic stability. Later models from 2017 include aids such as emergency braking assistance and lane departure warning on all grades above the basic Visia.

Which one is best for you?

Best for economy - Visia 1.7 dCi 150 2WD

Best for family - Acenta Premium 1.3 DIG-T 160

Best for fun - Tekna 1.7 dCi 150 4WD                    

The new 1.7 dCi diesel or the old 1.6 diesel engine will be the best bet for most. They’ll be the most efficient and will cope with all but the most extreme driving conditions. For that, you’ll need the 2.0-litre diesel engine in the earlier cars which is a workhorse that’s great for towing and travelling in the countryside.
The petrol engines are best saved for those who use their X-Trails more lightly in town and don’t rack up many miles as economy will be impacted.
As for trim levels, the Visia is decently-equipped but take a look at models with Acenta trim which will have dual-zone climate control, tinted windows and other features as you may find a great deal. If you want a sat nav, look for an Acenta Premium model. The 4x4 option is useful if you want to drive off-road, otherwise, two-wheel drive is the better bet.

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