WHEN I was thinking of buying a new car to replace my trusty old Proton (don’t laugh) some years ago, I told myself that it had to be an SUV.
I wanted a change after years of driving around in sedans, and the kids were growing up fast, not to mention all the stuff that I was probably going to lug here and there.
I wanted an SUV because it is big and imposing, and I wanted a commanding position in the driver’s seat, so as to “look down” on fellow motorists.
So I drew up a list, but being of limited means, it was not very long. But the Nissan X-Trail was one of the first names I wrote on the paper.
The X-Trail has been a solid success for the company in Malaysia and I put down its popularity to various features that, together, provide a package that is value-for-money.
Looks is not one of them, though. And that’s what made me choose another SUV over the X-Trail. That said, there were enough positive features in the latter to make it a contender on my list.
The launch of the new X-Trail on our shores looks set to get it a fresh set of fans.
Technically speaking, it is not exactly new; it finally made it here three years after its official launch.
And, it’s fully imported from Indonesia, unlike the first generation model, which was assembled in Malaysia.
Appearance-wise, it looks the same as before, but Nissan says that every body panel is new. The company has retained the rugged styling of the older model, but has enhanced that to give the vehicle a more muscular presence.
It certainly looks like that from the front, with huge bi-xenon headlamps that come with auto levelling and jet washers.
What is really noticeable is the size of the new X-Trail – it is longer and wider, and on the road, it looks like a big brother to its predecessor. For me, the size improves its overall appeal somewhat, although I will not be drooling over that.
The interior looks well put together and generates a comfortable feel for driver and passengers alike.
This SUV comes with powered front seats that can be adjusted six ways for the driver and four for the passenger. There is rear air-conditioning ventilation and you also get front and rear cup holders with cooling function.
The audio system comes with MP3 Playback, USB, AUX and SD Card inputs, Bluetooth function and telephone control input. You also get keyless entry; what’s more, you can keep the key in your pocket when starting the engine.
Cargo space at the back has been enhanced with a luggage drawer that has configurable slats. Remove the drawer and under-trays, and you boost luggage capacity to over 600 litres.
The rear seats can be folded down flat if you need more space, for times like when you go really wild at Ikea.
The X-Trail is powered by a 2.0-litre engine that puts out 139bhp at 5,200rpm and 198Nm at 4,400rpm. There is no option for a 2.5-litre variant and it’s only a two-wheel drive.
Extra storage space on the dashboard.
This is clearly an SUV aimed at ferrying passengers and their stuff around, sedately. And it shows in its performance on the road.
The engine is smooth and quiet; coupled with the six-speed Xtronic CVT, the X-trail is perfect for cruising along the highways on long distance trips.
This is not to say it cannot handle a bit of rough and tumble on the back roads. This large machine is quite agile as long as you don’t overestimate its capabilities, and yours.
The refined performance is the clear standout feature of this X-Trail and I gather it will appeal greatly to those who regularly drive around or out of town with the whole family.
It is priced at RM149,500 on the road, including insurance, with a three-year or 100,000km warranty.