2021 Nissan X-Trail: The pros and cons

Nissan unveiled the 2021 model year version of its X-Trail crossover SUV to the automotive world sometime last year. While we await this latest model’s arrival on local shores, we still have the 2020 model (a carryover from 2017) on sale. Despite being the outgoing model, the locally available Nissan X-Trail still presents plenty of excellent buying propositions for any crossover car buyer. We list the X-Trail’s pros and cons below.


Pros


1. Outdoor adventures galore


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A 2.5-liter (169hp, 233Nm) power mill drives the 4x4 variant, while a 2.0-liter (142hp, 200Nm) propels the 4x2 trim. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) handles shifting duties for both engines. Suspension is made up of an independent strut type with stabilizer at the front and a multi-link strut type with stabilizer at the rear. The X-Trail is also equipped with a Limited Slip Differential for all-terrain peace of mind.


Likewise, there’s an All-Mode 4x4 intelligent all-wheel-drive system that intuitively senses slippery roads or rough terrain, then automatically adjusts power sent to each wheel so the driver can maintain control and stability of the vehicle. “X-Trail delivers muscular styling, solid capabilities, next-level technologies and all the comfort and flexibility you need for action-packed adventures with the kids,” Nissan describes.


2. Stylish looks


nissan x-trail


The X-Trail front façade has been redesigned to give the car a uniform V-Motion grille to match Nissan’s current design signature. An enlarged grille houses a chrome-centric V-shape detail, while revised headlights bookend the grille along with sharper LED light signatures. The old circular fog lights have been replaced a more angular set, helping the front achieve a more futuristic look.


Out back, the lamps now feature full-LED brake lights and some extra chrome highlights to give it a more upscale aesthetic. The side view is enhanced by a set of new alloy wheel options, while top-spec units get some more chrome trimming on the side skirts.


3. Elevated safety


Safety is one area of great areas of improvement in the new X-Trail. Most noteworthy is the introduction of the new Nissan Intelligent Mobility (NIM) suite of driving assistance systems. Among these NIM systems include a new automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and rear cross traffic monitoring to alert you if you’re about to back into unseen traffic.


There’s also a moving object detection system that sends out warnings and alerts and can even perform autonomous driving duties when needed. A 360-degree camera provides an all-around bird’s eye view of the car’s surroundings.


3. Quieter cabin


The X-Trail facelift has improved sound insulation with better soundproofing materials installed in the car’s nooks and crannies, especially under the hood and in the front fenders. According to car industry pundits and professional car reviewers, these additions immediately make the X-Trail of the quietest in its segment.


4. Comfier, more upscale interior features


nissan x-trail


The most obvious change in the cabin of the new X-Trail is the redesigned steering wheel. Now with a flat-bottomed design instead of the circular one found in the old, the X-Trail cockpit is now easier to get in and out of. The ergonomics of the four-way thumb controllers have also been improved, designed to reduce the amount of time needed to fiddle the controls.


A 5-inch infotainment system permits Bluetooth, USB, and iPhone connectivity linking to four or six speakers depending on trim. Though the operating system looks outdated, it’s still plenty responsive. Finally, a panoramic sunroof permits a stunning view of the sky whether night or day. But the icing on the cake has got to be the Zero Gravity seats—sitting in them feels like you’re floating on a cloud.


Cons


1. Cramped third row


The X-Trail suffers from what most compact crossovers struggle with. The third row is clearly reserved for the kids or adults of smaller stature.


2. A less ergonomic dashboard design


The design of the central dashboard console tends to lean a bit on the unappealing side. To be more particular, the overpopulation of buttons around the 5-inch infotainment system makes it look a bit cluttered.


3. Styling may be too conservative for some


While the Nissan X-Trail feels solidly built and designed in and out, Nissan plays safe with the overall aesthetics, so the vehicle may look a bit dated to some people.


Yay or nay?


The Nissan X-Trail isn’t perfect, but so too are most of its rivals. If third row spaciousness is a priority, consider excluding the X-Trail for your next vehicle purchase. Ditto for those who want more contemporary SUV. Otherwise, there’s no reason the X-Trail doesn’t deserve to be shortlisted as your next family car.


Photos from Nissan


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