Petrol powered Nissan X-Trail may not have the flexibility of its diesel sibling, but its refinement and its peppy nature make it a good alternative

What is it?

The third generation Nissan X-Trail has already impressed us in various guises with it proving Nissan’s eye for building SUVs that customers want through the decision to focus on practicality, efficiency and value first.

As for the large Nissan we have already tried two out of the three engines on offer – the 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre diesel units. Now is the turn of the 1.6-litre petrol unit, which has already proven itself a worthy addition to the Qashqai range.

The 1.6 DIG-T is only available in front-wheel drive form, and produces 160bhp and 177lb ft of torque which seem like modest figures, but on the economy front the petrol X-Trail is good for 44.1mpg on a combined cycle and produces 149g/km of CO2. The question is can the engine cope with the extra heft of the Nissan X-Trail adequately enough?

What's it like?

The short is, it does it surprisingly well. Looking at the figures on paper, anyone would have their doubts, including me, however the engine proves to be a refined and peppy companion for the X-Trail.

Above 3,000rpm the engine displays its free-revving nature in abundance, with it proving to be an able and hushed motorway cruiser, but when the occasion takes you gives you the encouragement to push on at a dab of the throttle.

However, let the revs drop and the Nissan X-Trail falls out of the turbo’s ideal operating parameters, which leaves you with a flat spot that makes the Nissan seem lethargic. It also has you searching through the slick six-speed manual gearbox for a ratio to carry on the momentum.

The gearbox’s throw is slightly long, and the clutch pedal doesn’t exhibit as much feedback as a Ford Kuga and Mazda CX-5 would, but overall it still enables you to change gears quickly if you desire to.

Elsewhere, the Nissan X-Trail’s ride is pretty good with it providing decent comfort over most surfaces, with only the very abrasive or sharpest road indiscretions causing any noticeable shuddering and reverberation to pass through the cabin. On the handling front there is very little to get excited about but the X-Trail has a dependable sure-footed feel about it.

The interior is a well laid out as you would expect from Nissan, with it ergonomically laid out and well-put together. As you would expect of a large SUV there is plenty of room up front and in the rear seats for five to travel in relative comfort, although the optional third row of seats are only really capable of seating small children. 

Should I buy one?

If you are in the market for a large and affordable SUV, then the Nissan X-Trail should be on your list. Yes, the entry-level 1.6-litre diesel remains our pick of the range as its power is available sooner making it easier to drive at lower speeds.

But if it’s a petrol you crave the Nissan remains a good solid option. Equivalent petrol powered Ford Kugas and Mazda CX-5s may be keener driver’s cars, but don’t mix the refinement, practicality and efficiency quite as well.

Nissan X-Trail 1.6 DIG-T 163 2WD N-Vision

Where Redhill, Surrey; On sale Now; Price £27,595; Price as tested £29,115 Engine 1618cc, turbocharged petrol; Power 160bhp at 5600rpm; Torque 177lb ft at 2000-4000rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual; Kerbweight 1570kg; Top speed 120mph; 0-62mph 9.7; Fuel economy 44.1mpg; CO2 rating 149g/km; Rivals Ford Kuga, Mazda CX-5

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