October 23, 2018




2018 Nissan X Trail ST-L Review

The ST-L is a middle-of-the-range SUV for around $40,765 (driveaway) for the ST-L Petrol 2WD 5-seater.

There are: 5 trim levels (ST, ST-L, Ti, TS and TL), 3 engines, a CVT auto or 6-speed manual, and 2 or AWD, depending on the model you select. It would be easier if you could use a configurator to select the exact features, engines, and transmissions you want, but the product manager has selected specific features to curate a model range.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you got a base car, then just added what you want? It would, but that would mean every car is ex-factory with a 6 to 12 week wait.

You get a lot of car for the price, with space that can be easily used, and tech you don’t need a degree to operate.

Exterior

The face sports Nissan’s V-Motion grille which is a bit in-your-face. The 17” wheels (19” on the next 2 models in the range) have all-season tyres.

LED tail lights, and LED DTRLs, but the ST-L misses out on the fancy LED auto high-beam headlights.

The limited range of paint colours keeps the choice simple: red, black, Copper, blue, silver, grey, pearl white. Our car was ruby red, which obviously goes faster.

Standard roof rails, fog lights, and power door mirrors are nice touches.

All models have 210mm ground clearance, and are 4,690mm long, 1,820 wide, 1,740 high and have a wheelbase of 1.705mm.

I’d have thought the AWD models might gain a little height with extra ground clearance, but clearly this SUV is intended for the weekend camper rather than a caravan holidayer. You’d buy the Patrol for that.

Interior

Leather “accented” heated seats are power operated, and like the previous generation, are extremely comfortable. I’ve always found X-Trail seats to feel lounge-esque.

Seating can be easily reconfigured with the 2nd row able to slide, recline, and fold down 60/40. There is also a “passthrough” for long objects. They can be carried through the middle of the centre seat without having to fold the outer back sections. You can carry skies, and 4 people that way, but only if 4 people aren’t wanting their skies in the car at the same time.

You can option a 3rd row of seats if you need to.

The centre stack and console hold the cup holders with a really cool feature, cooling. It is done by diverting some of the climate control through tiny vents. There is no switch, so I thought it a bit daft for hot coffee, until I noticed a little “X-marks-the-spot”.

If you pull the middle divider out, turn it round, and return it to the cup holder, the air is shut off. Just like that, my cup holder is ready for coffee.

The USB port is easy to get too.

Although there is DAB and music streaming, there is no CarPlay/Android Auto.  The sound is adequate, with 6 speakers doing the work, but the Bose system in the top models if infinitely more preferable.

The 7” LCD displays infotainment clearly, and camera with slightly less resolution. The camera has a nifty 360° view, and can be switched between modes. The front view is very useful, and the rear view has predictive lines. The view switches automatically when reverse is selected.

SatNav is easy to use too, which makes a nice change.

The driver’s dials contain a digital speedo, but the multi-function LCD it is displayed on, is used for fuel economy etc. So, you have to switch back to it after you’ve scrolled to other functions. A “return” function would be handy. Better still, a small LCD in the middle of the analogue dial could permanently display the digital speedo readout.

Features

Main features:

Blind Spot Monitor, Smart Entry/Start, AEB, 360° view reversing camera, 7” LCD screen, EZ Flex seating system, Satellite Navigation, auto head lights.

Features are added as you move up the range, none have auto wipers, which is a travesty.

Drivetrain

2.5 petrol, 126kw @ 6000rpm, 226Nm @ 4400rpm, Xtronic CVT auto, Hill start assist.

Steering is delightfully easy at parking speeds, but as you pick up the pace the assistance lessens. The ride is superb, which also continues from the previous model.

Safety

5 star (tested June 2017)

Good Bits

Space, comfortable seats, good ride

No So Good Bits

Some cheap plastics, no CarPlay, looks not to my taste

Summary

Once considered gas-guzzlers, SUVs are now within the economy range of thrifty hatches. The SUV obsession has accelerated as more buyers change their preferences to higher riding transport.

With the option of 7 seats, some buy and SUV instead of a people mover.

Nissan is only one car maker whose range is almost exclusively SUV-styled models. Even luxury brands have expanded their leisure range

ST-L comes in either 2 or AWD, and with 5 or 7 seats.

Facts and Figures

Price:                  $40,765 – $42,963

Engine:               2.5 Petrol 4cyl, 130 @ 3,750/380 @ 2,000rpm

Transmission:    CVT Extronic

Economy:           7.9-8.3L/100km

CO2:                   183-192g/km







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