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DRIVEN: Nissan's refreshed X-Trail in SA

2017-10-30 15:01

Janine Van der Post

Image: Motorpress

Port Elizabeth - 'Get inside. Go out there' - that's Nissan South Africa's newly adopted tagline for the #TheNextX - X-Trail crossover SUV. And, that's exactly what we did during its launch in Port Elizabeth and Jefferey's Bay earlier in October.

Nissan has been relatively quiet on the local front with a couple of launches here and there -  four in total for the year, all which have been facelifted models.

Managing director Xavier Gobille, says the automaker will be launching seven cars locally in the next six months: five passenger vehicles and two in the light commercial vehicle segment.

READ: Nissan’s new X-Trail crossover arrives in Mzansi

Sport utility vehicles has taken the South African market by storm, and Nissan reckons they're the guys who pioneered the SUV in the first place.

The X-Trail was first launched here in 2001 with the second-generation making its local debut in 2014. Nissan SA says more than 36 000 units have been sold here to date and that the X-Trail is the fifth global top-selling model in its segment, with more than 766 700 units sold in 2016.  

So what's new?

Nissan SA claims the X-Trail is for families with an adventurous spirit and their vehicle is a portal to get into that space.

It comes loaded with new Nissan Intelligent Mobility technology and active safety equipment such as active safety features like around-view monitor cameras and intelligent 4X4.

It comes with a 7-seat option - the only vehicle in the C-SUV segment to do so. It has a spacious interior which in turn makes for great comfort.

And, what makes the X-Trail even more versatile is that it has movable rear seats.

What's it like to drive?

At first glance, the refreshed styling looks are awesome and I was excited to find out if the new X-Trail was vastly improved compared to its second-generation version launched in 2014.

We climbed into an automated 7-speed CVT Tekna model, powered by a 2.5-litre engine good for 126kW/233Nm. Usually CVT gearboxes battle to find the right gear and its searching is more annoying than anything else but not on the X-Trail.

Shifting is smooth, torque is suffice to overtake and the ride is completely solid. Where the X-Trail lacked previously in driving pleasure, it has made up for it leaps and bounds in the updated version.

The vehicle, which is surprisingly spacious, and comfortable, is as at home on gravel, or off-road surfaces, as it is cruising on the tar, thanks to features such as its 5-link coil rear suspension.

The two extra seats (third row) at the back however is more like booster seats for kiddies than room for two adults, just something to keep in mind. However, with the X-Trail being the only vehicle in its C-SUV seggment to be a seven-seater, that's pretty impressive anyway. 

Nissan set up each vehicle to suit differnt lifestyles to really showcase that the X-Trail is genuinely made for adventerous families. One vehicle had a bicycle mounted to the roof, along with a cool poitjiekos stand while another had a doggy-kit with a dog basket, safety 'pet' nets and an adorable pet ramp for your pooch for ease of getting into the vehicle without leaving any scratches on the body of the car.

With pricing starting at only R369 900, it truly is a car to 'Get inside and go out there'. 

WATCH: Here's a cool 1min video of the launch


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