Venture off-road and you’ll find decent traction that can be boosted by locking the system into a 50/50 split front-to-rear. Even left to its own devices, the variable split deals with fairly muddy ground and dirt roads without issue. However, if you regularly drive over heavily rutted ground, we’d look elsewhere, because of the X-Trail's shortage of axle articulation and ground clearance. In other words, it’s not really much different to the vast majority of the competition.
Ride comfort is for the most part good, with the edge taken off all but the roughest of roads. That said, you do feel road imperfections more than you might expect given the lofty ride height. Thank the relatively stiff springing needed to keep the body upright for that.
The X-Trail's interior will be very familiar to anyone trading up from the smaller Nissan Qashqai, with much of the two cars' architecture being shared. While that does mean you get plenty of soft-touch plastics in areas you’ll touch regularly, you might hope that there would be a bit more difference to show where your extra money went.
Look lower down the dashboard and harder plastics are to be found, but these are cleanly moulded and don't have any sharp edges. In the centre of the dashboard is either a 5.0in touchscreen on Acenta models (the lowest trim available with the 2.0-litre engine) or a 7.0in unit that adds a DAB radio, sat-nav and a 360deg parking camera.
Our test car had the larger screen. It's responsive and easy to navigate thanks to shortcut buttons around its edges. The screen's resolution is sharp enough, but the systems in the Kia Sorento and Skoda Kodiaq are more attractive. Dotted around the X-Trail's interior are various cubbyholes and storage areas which, combined with large doorbins, would swallow a family’s clutter with ease.