Review: Nissan X-Trail 2019 2.0L MID, lots of love for the middle child

Adrian Chia · Oct 19, 2019 03:08 PM

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What it is?

The Nissan X-Trail is Edaran Tan Chong Motors (ETCM) best-selling SUV and the company recently introduced the new 2019 facelifted version. Packed with improved refinement, technologies and safety features, the X-Trail finally looks convincing to customers in the showroom.

In the pre-facelift Nissan X-Trail 2019, all variants only came with 2 airbags. Yes, even on the range-topping model that costs upwards of RM 150k.

That shortcoming was placed under a magnifying glass when its closest competitor offered 7 airbags as standard across all variants. And, they are priced slightly cheaper too.

It took some time for ETCM to get up to speed with the competition, but the wait was well worth it.

The entry-level 2.0L 2WD now comes with 4 airbags while the more expensive variants – 2.0L 2WD MID, 2.5L 4WD and 2.0L Hybrid ups the airbag count to 6.

ETCM have also thrown in Nissan’s suite of Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) on the 2.5L 4WD and 2.0L Hybrid which bundles Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC).

At a glance, the higher variants with ADAS equipped seems like the variants to go for. However, not everyone is willing to swallow the 2.5-litre’s road tax while others are still sceptical about hybrid tech. Also, the fact that the hybrid variant is strictly a 5-seater.

Where does that leave the ‘traditional’ customers looking for a more straightforward setup? The 2.0L 2WD MID spec which we have here today.

It comes with all the bells and whistles as the range-topping models as well as partial ADAS (lacks AEB, ACC and high beam assist only), which makes it a strong value proposition for those in the market for a family SUV.

What’s new

Following customer feedback and new benchmarking exercises, Nissan has thoroughly improved the refinement levels of the Nissian X-Trail 2019. Additional sound insulation has been applied to the dashboard, floor, rear body panels and wheel housings.

The suspension damping has also been revised for a firmer ride which Nissan claims results in a more pliant ride throughout the bends but doesn’t sacrifice on ride comfort.

Other new items found on the facelifted Nissian X-Trail 2019 include cosmetic changes, improved equipment and enhanced safety features.

Exterior

The facelift exercise brought about a mildly revised exterior with new LED projector headlamps, smoked LED combination tail lamps, a new V-Motion front grille and restyled bumpers.

All these subtle changes give the Nissian X-Trail 2019 a sharper appearance. Parked next to the previous model and the new car immediately oozes a more athletic vibe. I wouldn’t call it sporty, but it certainly doesn’t look dated compared to the competition.

Paint and build quality on the Nissian X-Trail 2019 is consistent throughout the car with an even spread of paint and minimal discrepancy in panel gaps.

What’s slightly disappointing is the operation of the powered tailgate. The mechanism operates quite slowly, and the mechanicals sounds a tad bit rough when in operation. However, the motion-activated function (kicking motion at the lower rear bumper) works exactly as advertised which is great.

Interior

Changes to the interior have been made to create a classier and more modern ambience for the driver and passengers. For starters, the driver is now greeted with a much nicer flat-bottom leather-wrapped three-spoke multifunctional steering wheel and a 5.0-inch coloured LCD Advanced Drive Assist Display in the instrument cluster.

Passengers will be able to get very comfortable in the 4-way powered adjusted seats featured on the 2.0L 2WD MID while the driver gets 8-way adjustment. The Zero Gravity seats are possibly the most couch-like in the segment. Try them yourself.

Setting the mood in the Nissian X-Trail 2019 is as simple as hooking up your smartphones to the 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and crank up the volume. The 6-speaker set up is clearly optimised for a large SUV as it offered decent clarity and bass throughout the car.

Driving performance and handling

On paper, the MR20DD 2.0-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine makes 144 PS and 200 Nm which doesn’t sound a lot but it’s on par with the Mitsubishi Outlander 2.0L (145 PS/196 Nm) and Honda CR-V 2.0L (154 PS/189 Nm). If you must know, century sprint took 11.9 seconds (as tested).

The Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) automatic more than makes up for the lack of outright grunt with its direct and linear response. Whether you’re getting off the line or crawling in start-stop traffic, the Nissian X-Trail 2019’s CVT was smooth and refined in its power delivery.

At highway speeds, the engine requires a bit of coaxing should you need to perform a sprint. Clearly, the powertrain has been calibrated for effortless city driving and not for top speed runs.

The pre-facelift Nissian X-Trail 2019 handled like a boat on wheels as the dampers were too softly sprung which resulted in a lot of body roll. The new one, however, is a world of a difference.

Nissan’s tuning to the suspension dampers have proved effective in the Nissian X-Trail 2019 and their claims of not sacrificing ride comfort hold true. The car now holds itself more confidently around the bends which gives the drivers and passengers greater sense of assurance.

However, the CMF-C/D platform the Nissian X-Trail 2019 is riding on is coming up to 6 years old hence don’t expect it to handle as agile or dynamic as newer cars like the Volkswagen Tiguan or Mazda CX-5.

Ride comfort

The Nissian X-Trail 2019 irons out undulations and sharp edges far better than the Outlander largely due to its smaller 17-inch alloys and thicker profile rubbers (225/65 R17). While the smaller wheels may not look as bling, that is a negligible price to pay for a more comfortable ride for the family.

There is plenty of space for the second-row passengers even with three adults abreast. The second-row seats can also recline by up to 30 degrees, that is if you’re not ferrying anyone in the third row.

The same can’t be said for passengers in the third row as the seats itself and footwell are rather small which doesn’t allow for much movement. Squeezing an adult in there on short journeys are bearable but pray it doesn’t go on for more than 30 minutes. Children would fit in the third row of the Nissian X-Trail 2019 without a complaint.

Although NVH levels have improved tremendously compared to the pre-facelift model, it’s still not the quietest compared to the competition.

Fuel economy

Despite having a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated engine pulling a 1.5 tonne 7-seater, we’ve used 12.992 litres of fuel over 134.2 km which works out to a fuel consumption of 9.6 litres per 100 km. Expect that figure to go slightly higher if you’re constantly ferrying seven.

The Nissian X-Trail 2019 2.0L 2WD MID has a 60-litre capacity fuel tank which works out to a theoretical range of 619 km per full tank.

Conclusion

The Nissian X-Trail 2019 2.0L 2WD MID is proof that the middle child too, deserves the same amount of love and attention because it has just as much to give as the rest of its siblings.

Make no mistake, the 2.5L 4WD and 2.0L Hybrid with the full suite of Nissan Intelligent Mobility ADAS are impressive in their own right, but credit must be given to the 2.0L 2WD MID that offers just as much value and equipment for RM 145,888 (OTR without insurance).

The Nissian X-Trail 2019 2.0L 2WD MID is like that quiet kid in class that doesn’t stand out much but has all the potential to achieve greatness. Ever watched the movie Perks of Being a Wallflower? All he needed was someone to look his way.

 

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