But my initial feeling was one of surprise at how badly it handled – so much so that I thought the tyres needed air. This was not the case and was, however partly, down to my driving.
I have now adjusted my style to a more sedate pace and have been getting more enjoyment from the X-trail. It is a large vehicle which simply isn't designed to be a racer – although once it gets going it does cruise along at a steady pace.
Inside there are plenty of handy storage compartments and lots of space for the occupants. Other testers have commented on the merits of the wipe-clean seats but I don't like them.
A leather trim would have been far more suitable than the space-aged Crimplene-style dimpled upholstery. I also wonder whether the interior would stand up to much wear and tear. Our X-trail already has some scrapes on the dash and inside the boot. I think any cost-conscious fleet decision-maker would be wary of fuel costs with the X-trail on his or her fleet.
Although Nissan's official combined fuel consumption figure is 30.4mpg, my test consumption has been a poor 26mpg. The X-trail certainly gets through petrol – the fuel gauge drops before your eyes on a long journey.
Perhaps it is more suited to a driver who doesn't cover large distances.
Company car tax bill 2002 (22% tax-payer): £85.75 per month