What is it?
The cheapest yet fastest engine available in the X-Trail range. The 1.6-litre petrol engine has been borrowed from the Qashqai and planted into its larger SUV sibling, and it's now the entry-level way into the line-up.
Prices range from £21,995 for Visia trim and go up to £28,145 for this range-topping Tekna version. All models come with a six-speed manual gearbox, but, unlike with its diesel counterparts, all-wheel drive isn’t available.
Seven-seat petrol crossovers are something of a rarity, so is this 1.6-litre powerplant the answer for those longing for a lower list price yet more performance from their practical SUV?
What's it like?
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.