How does it drive?
The naturally aspirated powertrain paired with CVT doesn’t exactly scream performance, and this is apparently straight away as you step out of town into the back roads. The engine is peppy but lacks any real grunt, and the steering is a little too vague to get overly confident on the twisties. The suspension is surprisingly stable, though being a heavy SUV set up for road comfort, body roll is mostly unavoidable.
But that’s exactly the point - the 2023 Nissan X-Trail isn’t a race car, and that’s ok. Because you step into the interior and are just wowed by the quality, and for the price, it is one of the best-equipped vehicles on the market in terms of safety and daily drivability, with the ProPILOT system available on the ST-L and above.
With all that being said, we are still CarSauce, and that means we are going to measure it’s 0-100km/h launch time, from a standing stop! Unbeknownst to us, the X-Trail seems to have pseudo-launch-control functionality built in, though despite this we still experienced some traction issues. The 0-100km/h sprint time for the 2023 Nissan X-Trail ST-L clocked in at 9.12 seconds. Not terrible!
Back to serious topics, on a daily basis you aren’t going to mind the CVT automatic, it’s responsive at the lights, the “fake shifts” are smooth, and the throttle response seems predictable. Additionally, the seats are really fantastic, the inclusion of heating and power adjustable lumbar support is very welcomed, and means that long road trips are a breeze in the new X-Trail. Especially with Nissan ProPILOT, which is essentially a lane-centering assist function that works really well, even in less-than-ideal conditions, we found that it could get a lock on the lane very quickly and steer itself well.
Fuel efficiency for the 4-cylinder naturally aspirated is on par with the competition at about 7.8L per 100km for both the 2WD and AWD variants, though expect this to rise significantly if you give it as much Sauce as we do…
One thing to note is that road noise was a little more than what we expected, despite the high quality of soft-touch materials in the cabin, and of course - due to the CVT - engine noise is quite high while accelerating.
Overall, the Nissan X-Trail has defied our expectations in terms of driving ability, we really didn’t think that the 4-cylinder engine would be able to push a trolley uphill and we were pleasantly surprised. The refinement in the interior and semi-autonomous driving function really clinched it for us though, with some of the best long-distance driving ability in its class.