Fleet News

Nissan X-trail 2.0 Sport - 9,054 miles



IT'S with a heavy heart that I begin writing this update on our long-term Nissan X-trail because by the time you read it, the car will be back with its owners.

The X-trail has impressed all but one person who got behind the wheel (for its last driver Jo Fobbester it was never going to have the appeal of something wearing a Land Rover badge) during the last six months at Fleet Towers.

We will be sad to see it returned, despite its heavy fuel consumption and the gremlin that crept into its alarm system this summer.

The affection with which the X-trail has been held during its brief stay can be explained by having the appearance of a 4x4 with the ruggedness and appeal of an occasional off-roader, but being as easy to live with day to day as a mainstream vehicle.

The X-trail has performed everyday tasks with the drama-free composure of a modern estate car, proving light on its feet (or wheels) around town and relaxed on the motorway.

While being driven by editorial assistant Jane Ward, it took the poor quality Fenland roads in its stride and while editor Jonathan Manning was custodian, it had to perform the most important journeys ever driven - taking his expectant wife to hospital and the return trip with newborn baby as an additional passenger.

The X-trail's interior space makes the Toyota RAV4 and Land Rover Freelander seem unnecessarily cramped.

The TV ads for the car have featured young snowboarding types, but it is more likely that X-trails will find themselves on the school run, and the robust interior has proved resistant to everyday knocks and scuffs although there are one or two fine scratches on the dashboard.

The X-trail runs in front-wheel drive mode for most of the time, while a button on the dashboard will allow the selection of 'automatic' four-wheel drive mode - meaning the car will continue in front-wheel drive until it decides 4WD is necessary.

If things become really sticky, another button locks the differential for extra traction, but these features have hardly been used over the last six months and we feel they will not get much use in most X-trails.

The only two blots on the X-trail's copybook are the poor fuel consumption and the alarm problem. We have never been able to achieve anything like the official combined fuel consumption figure of 30.4mpg with a lifetime average of 26.1mpg.

Looking at the performance figures, peak torque is reached at 4,000rpm, and the gearing is short to make its limited off-road ability more effective.

If fuel consumption is your priority, then there is the freakishly economical 2.2D model which offers 39.2mpg and surprisingly low BIK liability with carbon dioxide emissions of 190g/km.

Meanwhile, after a 10-day wait for a replacement control unit, we had no further problems with the alarm going off unnecessarily and causing much embarrassment for the driver. Niche vehicles are often fraught with compromises, but the X-trail has proved an exceptional all rounder and will be remembered fondly by Fleet News staff.

Company car tax bill 2002(40% taxpayer): £84.92 per month

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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