Make no mistake about it: the Philippines is a country where crossovers thrive. They just make a lot of sense on our roads with their higher clearance, stylish designs, versatile interiors, efficient engines, the comfortable ride of the car platform and the attractive pricing.
That said, if there’s one model that Nissan is heavily banking on, it’s this: the 2015 X-Trail. After spending a few days with this top-spec 2.5L version, we think Nissan has a winner in their showroom.
Upon seeing Nissan’s new crossover for the first time you’d be forgiven for doubting that it is indeed an X-Trail as it departed so radically from the design of the two generations that preceded it.
The front of the car starts off with a very modern adaptation of the Nissan V-motion grille, flanked by headlamps with the very stylish LED daylight running lamps. The entire front end does work together well, and the details such as the headlamps, grille, bumper and foglamps bezels all seem to focus attention towards the center of the fascia. The side profile is likewise sleek, along with a stylish rear end and neat 17-inch rolling stock. The new model was really designed to appeal to a wider range of customers and tastes.
The body has also grown significantly. The new X-Trail measures in at 4,630mm long with a wheelbase that’s 2,706mm, thereby making it the longest vehicle in its class. Width is at 1,820mm and height is at 1,695mm, also making the X-Trail one of the widest and the tallest in its category.
Much like the boxy exteriors, previous X-Trails also had cabins that were inspired by their larger SUVs; not so in this new generation model. In a nutshell, the interior of the X-Trail is very far detached from the previous ones. The dashboard is clean and crisp, exuding a very premium look and feel. Ergonomics is likewise good with easy-to-use layout and intuitive placement of controls. Being a top spec model earns this X-Trail leather on the steering wheel, shift knob, interior door panels and seats… all seven of them.
Yes, you read that right. Unlike its predecessors which were just 5-seaters, this 2015 X-Trail seats seven people. That said, however, the third row should really be reserved for children; it’s still too small for full size adults unlike the midsize crossovers (i.e. Hyundai Santa Fe) or SUVs (i.e. Toyota Fortuner). If you only need to seat five people the third row can fold fully flat with the pull of a strap, and it’s a 50/50 split while the second row is a 60/40 split.
This being the top of the line model, this X-Trail gets some pretty good equipment as standard. Of course there are the power features for the windows, mirrors and locks, though Nissan also tossed in rain-sensing wipers and automatic headlamps. Dual-zone climate control is standard along with the rear seat vents; yes, this X-Trail’s aircon is very cold when set to max. Safety features that are standard include dual airbags, ABS, EBD, BA, Vehicle Dynamic Control with quite a few enhancements.
In the center console is a 5-inch LCD unit that allows for USB, Bluetooth, Aux and iPod playback via 6-speakers. What’s unique about it is that it has something called an Around View Monitor. When you’re backing up, the AVM activates and turns on several cameras around the car, allowing you to see the front, sides and the back, thereby making parking a breeze.
At the heart of this 2015 X-Trail 4×4 is the QR25DE; a 2.5 liter twin cam 16-valve four-banger that makes 171 PS and 233 Newton meters. The engine is actually not a new one though Nissan have improved on the QR25DE a bit over the years. Transferring that power to all four wheels is the Xtronic CVT with an All Mode 4×4-i system.
On a daily commute in the city, the X-Trail drives superbly. Of note is the ride comfort; Nissan’s engineers certainly worked hard to up the NVH of the X-Trail. Power delivery is good though given that it’s a 2.5 liter petrol engine, this X-Trail is not as efficient in traffic. At a 17 km/h average, this X-Trail did 6.7 km/l while at 25 km/h average it bumped up a bit to 7.6 km/l. Not bad, but could be better.
On the highway, the X-Trail shows off it’s comfortable and stable ride again. Handling-wise there are better choices out there, but the X-Trail is no slouch. Body control is good and measured, though on the uphill I wish it there was aturbodiesel under the hood. Nevertheless, on the highway there’s also not much in the way of wind noise at 100 km/h and the fuel economy has improved to 12.2 km/l.
On a light trail with packed dirt, the X-Trail performs solidly. The intelligent 4×4 system is a breeze to use, making light off-road duties even lighter. The traction and control afforded by the system makes quick work of the conditions. Much like it’s predecessors, the new generation X-Trail is quite capable for a “soft-roader”.
It’s hard to find glaring faults in the 2015 Nissan X-Trail 2.5L 4×4. Nissan’s engineers and designers definitely did their homework and then some in making the X-Trail such a well rounded crossover, and Nissan Philippines’ product planners specced it competitively for the price tag of PhP 1,580,000. I still would have preferred a new and more advanced engine, but nevertheless Nissan could have just lunged into the lead in the compact crossover category with the 2015 X-Trail.