The Nissan X-Trail facelift that arrived in 2019 fixed a number of complaints we had about the pre-facelift model, chiefly the sparse airbag count of just two regardless of variants. To top it off, Nissan had also introduced the Nissan Intelligent Mobility suite of ADAS.
The much-needed update made the Nissan X-Trail a more complete option in the C-segment SUV market. However, it still struggles to capture the hearts of the majority of Malaysian buyers in that segment.
So, what is it exactly that the Nissan X-Trail needs to be more competitive against the likes of the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5? Here are a few things that has the ability boost the X-Trail’s appeal.
A more striking design
Now, design is and always has been subjective, but there is usually a general consensus of what looks good or bad to consumers. And while there is nothing wrong with Nissan X-Trail's looks, it’s not a design one would describe as evocative, unlike say, the Mazda CX-5.
That goes for the interior of the Nissan X-Trail as well. Although ergonomics is great from the layout and where all the controls and buttons are placed, the overall presentation is rather uninspired.
The Honda CR-V may not have the most exciting design either, but it has acres of space to compensate. The Mazda CX-5 on the other hand, feels a notch or two higher up in terms of execution and quality. That leaves the X-Trail, well, with nothing to shout about.
Looking at the all-new 2021 Nissan X-Trail was unveiled in the US last year, it does look bolder could perhaps sway a few buyers with its design, especially with its interior.
Also read: All-new 2021 Nissan X-Trail launched, 2022 debut in Malaysia likely?
The combustion-only engines in the Nissan X-Trail are fairly average in terms of performance and fuel efficiency. There is the hybrid variant, but it isn't directly comparable to its rivals.
Most of the competition are either turbocharged or able to generate higher outputs with the same engine capacity. Pair the X-Trail's engines with a CVT, and the result is a rather forgettable range of powertrains. Nothing to fault but again, nothing to write home about either.
Enter China’s 2021 Nissan X-Trail, which is powered by a 1.5-litre 3-cylinder turbocharged engine making 204 PS/300 Nm and is mated to a CVT. Yes, a 1.5-litre 3-potter with over 200 PS, that should leave an impression.
Also read: 3-cylinder 1.5L engine for China's 2021 Nissan X-Trail - 204 PS, 300 Nm
Better execution of third-row seats
Nissan X-Trail is a 7-seater SUV but the third-row seats are clearly reserved for kids or minus-size adults. While the second-row of the Nissan X-Trail offers generous legroom, the same can't be said for the third row.
It is cramped and genuinely uncomfortable. The sitting posture is practically squatting and during long journeys with no cold air blowing to the third row, it will feel like a little sauna.
Having third-row seats is a neat way of one-upping the competition, but only if it’s executed properly with more space and seating comfort. Such an example would be the Mitsubishi Outlander.
Truth be told, there really isn’t much to fault with the Nissan X-Trail, nothing major at least. But the thing is, there is nothing about the X-Trail that stands out from the crowd either.
Granted, it is the only one in its segment with a hybrid powertrain, but the word “hybrid” alone sparks fear amongst conservative Malaysian buyers so it’s not really doing Nissan any favour.
The Nissan X-Trail needs to make a lasting impression, perhaps by design or powertrain. Judging from the photos of the all-new 2021 Nissan X-Trail, it does look promising. As for the powertrain, it remains to be seen which engine will be offered in the Malaysian market, but one can hope.