Given its recent track record, you’d be a fool to bet against Nissan’s positioning of the new X-Trail.

The growth of the segment is inevitably making the cars within it less traditional – less of the big-engined, square-cornered, tow-anything 4x4 and more added practicality and capability but with a sharper focus on efficiency and value.

The X-Trail needs to be more mechanically refined and a more flexible diesel would be appreciated

That the X-Trail is in the latter camp probably bears testament to Nissan’s understanding of the market in which it competes. This is a handsome, habitable, usable and efficient family SUV – and those are the right boxes to tick for buyers migrating to its niche.

But for veterans for the class who do the occasional bit of towing and more, it may seem a bit of a lightweight, and for us it’s just a tad too soft.

Shortfalls on refinement and driveability, plus a slight lack of the original’s character, take the shine off a car that isn’t quite in the Qashqai’s class – nor a top five competitor in its own right.


Top 5 Family SUVs


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