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Nissan X-Trail review

Keeping your car on the road is probably at the forefront of most motorists' minds at the moment in light of the snow and ice gripping much of the UK.

Recent sales figures show the value of a used 4x4 has risen by almost ten per cent in recent months as demand for off-road cars offering extra grip in treacherous conditions rises.

If that is a concern for you, and there is a need for extra space in your next car, the Nissan X-Trail is one of a handful of rugged, spacious off-roaders that can meet the criteria.

Space, practicality and superb off-road ability are the hallmarks of Nissan's largest SUV, sitting above the likes of the Nissan Qashqai and its larger sibling, the Qashqai+2 in the Nissan range.

MotorTorque.com decided to take the Nissan X-Trail, including all of our camera gear, off the beaten track in our latest car review to see if it does stand up as the off-roader of choice for those who need a little more space.

Introducing the Nissan X-Trail

Costing just £26,000 for entry-level models, the Nissan X-Trail is at the more affordable end of the seven-seat SUV market for a 4x4. However, it does not compare favourably to the Land Rover Discovery, the £22,000 British-built rival that sports the badge loyalty to be a market leader.

Do not be put off by the fearsome reputation of the Land Rover brand however, because the Nissan X-Trail can certainly hold its own in terms of space.

Open the boot and you'll find 410 litres of space in the back with the rear seats up, more than the Toyota RAV4 but slightly less than the Freelander (473 litres).

Nissan has been careful to make the boot as practical as possible with split folding seats, hard-wearing materials and plenty of cubby holes for extra storage in the X-Trail and owners will not want for any more space.

A survey by Nissan shortly after launching the X-Trail found 30 per cent of owners took the car off road at least once a month and the interior has been built to be as simple and hard-wearing as possible.

Leg and head room in the rear seats could be a little better but there will be no complaints from most, while the driver and passenger are faced with a simple, clean and attractive dashboard.

Dials and knobs are big and durable while the raised ground height and clearance give the driver a commanding view of the road, helped out by plenty of visibility at all times.

Nissan X-Trail Nissan X-Trail

The Nissan X-Trail off road

If you are expected Land Rover levels of off-road ability you may be disappointed but the Nissan X-Trail is a consummate off-roader. The 4x4 system is grippy and offers traction whenever it is needed - it can actually be selected when the car needs extra grip.

Steering is well weighted but lower speeds can require a bit of elbow grease to manoeuvre the chunky car. However, suspension is comfortable over bumps and the potholes and the car is fairly forgiving around corners with only a little body roll to speak of.

All Nissan X-Trail models come with a 2.0-litre engine in 150bhp or 173bhp power outputs after an unsuccessful petrol option was dropped in 2009 due to lack of demand.

CO2 emissions are, naturally, lower than petrol versions but with a low of 168g/km and a high of 188g/km, the Nissan X-Trail is not going to win any prizes in terms of road tax savings but is not high enough to really put those who are looking for a practical SUV off buying an X-Trail.

On and off-road performance is adequate with the more powerful of the diesels offering plenty of grunt and a towing capacity of 2,200kgs for those with caravans, horse boxes and other trailers.

Competition with Land Rover can be difficult for most SUV makers but the Nissan X-Trail comes with a healthy level of standard equipment including alloy wheels, roof rails, electric windows, Bluetooth, climate control and a CD player with MP3 compatibility.

Keep moving up the range and to the n-tec+ model we drove and equipment is even more generous with a touch screen, satellite navigation and clever 360 degree view cameras.

Nissan X-Trail Nissan X-Trail

Should I buy a Nissan X-Trial?

In short, yes. The Nissan X-Trail is a superb all-rounder with the ability to venture off-road and carry all of the equipment you will need.

Its 4x4 system is good enough to go off the beaten track but even as a practical on-road SUV the X-Trail is a worthy choice.

Running costs are acceptable and the opening price is low enough to warrant attention. Overall, this is a very good off-road car.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmmMmsVTnu4