By Kingsley Wijayasinha
Nissan has recently created much hype with its Terra PPV (pickup passenger vehicle) that’s targeted at customers looking for a tough seven-seat off-roader.
Though other major pickup manufacturers had all launched PPVs, it took many years for Nissan to cough up the Terra, which obviously interfered (at least in price range) with another SUV model that it offers – the X-Trail.
The pricing of both the Terra and X-Trail start at about Bt1.3 million (Bt1.316-Bt1.427 million for the Terra and Bt1.35-Bt1.66 million for the X-Trail, which is also available in a hybrid version). To me it’s amazing how Thai customers (as well as those in many markets in which the Terra is offered) easily overlook the X-Trail, which is a true global model, and go for a lower-grade regional vehicle with pickup truck technology like the Terra, despite being a great PPV.
For 2019, the X-Trail gets several improvements that makes it even better, although the 2.0-litre engine choice (and an even lower pricing) has been removed, leaving only the 2.5-litre and hybrid.
The facelifted model gets slight cosmetic changes including fog lamps, daytime running lights and bumpers. There’s also new-design 19-inch alloy wheels with sporty 225/55 tires, along with an eye-catching Monarch Orange exterior colour.
The tailgate is electrically powered and has a hands-free function (just move your feet under the rear). Nissan says that the roof rails and panoramic sunroof are wider for this year’s model, while the luggage area has been increased slightly.
The sporty flat-bottomed multifunction steering wheel feels a little out of place considering the type of vehicle we’re in, but there are seven seats (the hybrid version has only five).
Meanwhile, the 2019 model also comes with the Nissan Intelligent Mobility package, which includes Intelligent Cruise Control, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning, Intelligent Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Intervention, Moving Object Detection and Intelligent Around View Monitor. There is also a High Beam Assist system and six airbags.
The 2.5-litre petrol engine that came with the X-Trail was smooth and cultured, with 171 horsepower and 233Nm of torque on tap. The CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) also contributes to a smooth performance from the X-Trail, which is something you don’t expect in the Terra.
There are three driving modes to choose from through the rotor switch – 2WD 4WD auto and 4WD. It’s a pity that the 2.5 VL’s 19-inch alloys and low-profile tyres might not suit off-roading , but it’s perfect on road. The ride is smooth while stabilisers front and rear help maintain good control through corners, and disc brakes are vented both front and rear. Now that D-shaped steering starts to make sense!
In addition to Vehicle Dynamic Control (stability control), the X-Trail also comes with Active Engine Braking that is engaged when you lift off the gas pedal or during cornering, as well as Active Ride Control and Active Trace Control that improve stability.
The interior is pretty good, with plenty of space and all the amenities, including powered front seats and an infotainment system with seven-inch touchscreen and navigation.
While confessing that I did not take the X-Trail off-roading or upcountry, I pretty much enjoyed spending time with it. Apart from its high level of usable space and versatility, the X-Trail also offers a cultured performance and lots of comfort.
Nissan X-Trail 2.5 VL 4WD
Engine: 4-cylinder DOHC 16-valve
Bore and stroke: 89x100mm
Compression ratio: n/a
Max power: 171ps/6,000
Max torque: 233Nm/4,000
Transmission: XTRONIC CVT
Final drive ratio: 5.964
Average fuel economy:
Suspension (f/r): McPherson strut, stabiliser/multi-link, stabiliser
Steering: powered rack-and-pinion
Turning circle: 11.2 metres
Brakes (f/r): vented disc/vented disc
Track (f/r): 1,585/1,585
Wheels: 19 -inch alloys
Fuel tank capacity: 60 litres
Price: Bt1.66 million
Distributor: Nissan Motor (Thailand) Co Ltd