Contrary to the initial on-paper appeal, it’s a little disappointing. A 1.6-litre petrol engine with 161bhp sounds powerful enough to lug around a sizeable SUV, but on the road it lacks sufficient torque to offer any real pace when accelerating from low revs.
While the same engine may feel peppy in the Qashqai under hard acceleration, the extra weight of the X-trail takes its toll on the engine. Unless pushed to its limit, the peak torque figure of just 177lb ft – produced between 2000 and 4000rpm – means progress is pretty pedestrian.
The lack of torque is less of an issue around town, but the spacing of the gear ratios means you’ll find yourself shifting up and down fairly frequently in stop-start traffic.
Out on faster, winding country roads, body roll stops the X-Trail from tackling corners with any real panache, as it lurches through bends while struggling with steep inclines in higher gears. The steering does a good job of feeling light around town but it becomes too weighty at higher speeds.
It's not all bad, though, as the 1.6-litre petrol engine’s refinement scores the X-Trail some bonus points. It’s quieter than the diesel and cruising in sixth gear at motorway speeds produces only a faint hum from the engine. The road and wind noise that creeps into the cabin is entirely tolerable.
It’s composed at those higher speeds, too, with the suspension easily soaking up slight road imperfections to help waft you along, although harsher bumps do send a jolt through the cabin.
It’s a very pleasant interior, especially in this trim. There’s impressive leg room in the back and indeed plenty of space for all passengers in the first and second rows. There’s also a good amount of adjustment available for the driver to find their preferred position, and a well-sized boot for the class.
The X-Trail’s credentials as a seven-seater are less convincing, though. Access to the third row should be left for only the most nimble and svelte passengers to attempt, because the middle row doesn’t move forward far enough to make clambering into the back easy. Those rearmost seats are only really suitable on longer journeys for children, and adults will do well to avoid them for anything other than short trips.