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Is the Nissan X-Trail Ti a family performer?

CarsGuide logo CarsGuide 31/08/2017 Nedahl Stelio


Stepping into the Nissan X Trail is kind of like a finding a giant cardboard box when you’re little. You could have all the fancy toys in the shop when you’re two years old, but your favourite toy will always be the brown box the washing machine came in. That’s what the X-Trail is like - it has far more bells and whistles than your average cardboard box, but it’s not the swankiest thing on the road. Still, it’s a favourite

Full disclosure: I have an X-Trail in my real life, not my car review life. It’s an old model, with boxy proportions and I love the sheer practicality of it. The 2017 X-Trail is not quite as large as its years-old predecessor, but I still found it a great drive. 

I lived with the 2017 top spec X-Trail Ti for a week of school drop offs, trips to grandma’s, birthday parties, long drives, and more. Here's what I thought.

Gosh, she's solid, isn’t she?

For a mid-sized SUV, the X-Trail is big, and she makes you feel big too. There’s something about ferrying two children around on the road that makes me want to get into a solid vehicle. I feel more secure. The X-Trail feels substantially bigger in comparison, for example, to the Mazda CX-5. Even my three-year-old noticed being higher off the road, and she was so pleased, she actually commented on it.

The trade off, of course, is that the drive is heavier, she’s a bit slower to take off (I’m not sure why I’m referring to the car as a woman, it’s just come out and I’m going with it), and it does have a bigger turning circle. In a street where I think I’ll be able to do a u-turn, I find myself doing a three-point turn.

But the drive is smooth, there is lots of power behind the wheel. And goodness, you feel a bit like Brienne of Tarth in it.

© How safe is it?

With two ISOFIX points and three tethers in the back, front and side airbags for the front and curtain airbags for the back, reversing cameraforward AEBlane departure warning and blind spot monitoring, you can count on its maximum five star ANCAP rating. See also Brienne of Tarth mention above.

© How spacious is it?

Inside, she's huge. There is lots of room up front, and the children had loads of space in the back. It's an improvement on the old one, because I am usually the one nominated to sit in the middle back, if we have another person in the car, and this 2017 Ti model is definitely more roomy.

© Boot space however, has shrunk - in my old X-Trail, you could quite honestly plant yourself, your partner, two kids and the dog in there comfortably for a night at the drive-in, with room for toys to spare. The new model has a decent boot space at 565 litres, but it's no football field. It does have a hands-free opening to make up for it though. Just flick the button on the key and the boot magically lifts up - which, if you're on approach, loaded with shopping bags and probably your children climbing all over you, is like Christmas for a parent.

© It's also got an impressively large space for underfloor storage, and will fit way more than the average laptop. I'm not sure how many things you'll need to keep in a secret storage spot, but it's a great place to stash your skeletons if your closet's full.

How does it look on the road?

I'm going to say it straight out - you don't buy an X-Trail for its glamorous looks. Sure, it's modern enough, with curved lines and a serious looking front end, but it's more functional than beautiful. It looks strong, rather than sexy. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. As a family vehicle, if you're actually looking for practicality over prettiness, that's exactly what the X-Trail offers.

Bit of a tip though, in 'Ruby Red' she's a star, and while I've never been a colour-car-convert, climbing into a red ride each morning did make me feel a bit like stepping into Dorothy's shoes every day - and naturally, 'Ms 3' and 'Ms 5' rated the colour higher than anything else. This colour will set you back an extra $495.

The Ti also has one of the biggest sunroofs I've seen and while I'm not a huge fan, if you want to feel like you're driving under the open sky for the sunshine to flood in in all its glory, she fills the remit.

Ease of use for everyday

So, on a 'how enjoyable and easy is the X-Trail Ti to drive every day' scale, I would say it rated very well. There are two cupholders in the front which heat/cool according to the air con. Two cupholders in the back for the kids in the back centre console, plus four bottle holders in the doors.

Also making a difference from a practicality perspective are things like the car doors opening widely for much easier access to the front and back seats, a large opening for the boot to hoist groceries into, and a fairly good height for boot access as well.

It's not so huge that you find yourself turning down rock star parks, and I can still fit into medium-sized spots without so much as a close shave.

© How good is the tech?

The multimedia screen is easy to sync, but it's not the latest thing you can get on the market. It works well and is perfectly functional, I'm able to play my Spotify playlist through it, but it's not Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Is that a must? Not particularly, but the screen does looks a tad dated when you're comparing it to your smart phone.

Value for money

Because it's a top spec model, it basically comes with everything - 19-inch alloys, an eight-speaker stereo with DAB+, USB and Bluetooth, sat nav, dual-zone climate control, around-view camera, reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, keyless entry and start, active cruise control, electric front seats, heated front and back seats, LED active headlights, electric tailgate, power everything, tinted windows.

There is a pedal park brake release, rather than an automatic one, and there is only a space saver spare rather than a full size - if you love taking the family on long road trips, this is something to take note of.

© What does it cost to own? What is the warranty?

The X-Trail is offered with a three-year/100,000km warranty and roadside assistance is included for the same period.

It will need a service every 12 months or 10,000km, and prices are capped for the first 12 services or 120,000km, maxing out at $429 each.

Fuel efficiency

The official combined cycle figure for our X-Trail is 8.3L/100km, which is pretty good for a car of this size.

© Verdict

The Nissan X-Trail Ti celebrates function over form, practicality over prettiness, and gets big ticks for covering the most important family checklists like safety, spaciousness and ease of everyday use. The solid feeling and height work well for a family and it has enough bells and whistles to make you feel great driving it.

My children rated it 9.0 trolls out of 10 (mainly for the colour and the height).

I give it a family rating of 8.2/10.

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