2023 Nissan X-Trail ST-L Review

The new Nissan X-Trail has landed in Australia, and so has it's new price tag... Are the changes and features, really worth the increase?

Jacob Brooke
Expert reviewer
Updated on
February 9, 2024
Saucey score


  • Fantastic interior quality with really comfy seats
  • Nissan ProPILOT works well!
  • Lots of boot space with some clever cargo solutions


  • CVT Automatic means a lot of engine noise
  • Slightly underpowered naturally aspirated 4-cylinder petrol engine
  • Price has definitely taken a hike, even compared to competitors
Car specs

135kW + 244Nm

$43,190 + on-roads


5-star ANCAP

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The new 2023 Nissan X-Trail has landed in Australia, and built on it’s new CMF-C platform it promises improved handling and ride quality for rough Aussie roads. Additionally, the interior has received a complete overhaul and updated technology. We will be taking a thorough look at the styling decisions, interior quality, and driving performance to see if Nissan have finally brought the X-trail into the current era. 

We will be taking a look at the ST-L 2WD 5-seater, the second trim from the bottom (the ST 2WD 5-seat), and seeing what is included, and what you miss out on compared to the higher spec Ti and Ti-L petrol variants.

How much does the 2023 Nissan X-Trail ST-L cost?

The 2023 Nissan X-Trail ST-L has an MSRP of $43,190 (excl. on-roads) for the Front-wheel drive, 5 seater variant.

The ST-L trim is also available as an AWD 7-seater for an MSRP of $46,290 (excl. on-roads) which has a $3100 premium, though we’d probably steer clear of the AWD in this case, for reasons we’ll mention later.

At the bottom of the pack, the ST is also available in 2WD 5-seat, and AWD 7-seat configurations; for $36,750 and $39,790 respectively, plus on-roads.

Topping the range are the Ti and Ti-L, which are only available in 5-seat configurations, including the all-new e-Power AWD hybrid power train. The most expensive Ti-L e-Power comes in at a whopping $57,190 (excl. on-roads).

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What do we think of the exterior looks?

Looks are subjective, and we find the new X-trail to look quite American in it’s stylings. It’s definitely not a bad looking SUV, but for a car that is supposedly based on a completely new platform, the updates are more subtle than we expected but come together to produce a fairly handsome result.

Up front we have the familiar ‘U’ shaped grille with chrome accents, and it has been enlarged substantially. We also have the new grey and black ‘Nissan’ logo which also acts as the radar for Nissan’s “ProPILOT” semi-autonomous driving system (ST-L trim and above), more on that in the driving section.

We also have a new headlight design, opting for split headlights which is an upgrade over the fairly boring design in the previous generation, and the bottom lights integrate well with the new aerodynamic ducts that streamline air through to the side of the car, improving drag coefficient and helping boost fuel economy.

While we like most of the updates, one that I am not a fan of is the front bumper, which has been changed from chrome to a matte grey plastic. One upside would be you won’t be particularly afraid of bumping into anything with it… Also above it we have our large air intake for the anemic 2.5 litre 4-cylinder engine, which we have a few things to say about up ahead.

Coming to the side, it isn’t immediately obvious that much has changed, we still have the distinctive chrome roof rails topping off the X-Trail’s classic SUV shape, and privacy glass on the rear side windows. In typical SUV style, we have black plastic cladding around the entire vehicle, and highlighting the side mirrors. The grey plastic cladding is also continued in the rear of the car just below the boot release handle, and we can tolerate its utilitarian looks.

Our ST-L comes with 18-inch alloy wheels as standard, an upgrade over the 17-inch wheels of the ST, and they are wrapped in thick Dunlop rubber which help to (somewhat) soak up road noise.

What’s the Interior like?

I’m not exaggerating when I say that the interior of the new Nissan X-Trail ST-L feels like luxury. The quality of materials used, the soft-touch areas, and the attention to detail is reminiscent of cars in a much higher-priced segment.

While some technology features were lacking, with it’s analogue guage clusters and small 7-inch TFT cluster display, and slightly dated looking 8-inch infotainment display, I believe that Nissan made up for it completely by packaging it in an extremely solid, premium interior. Yes the infotainment isn’t up to scratch with some competitors like the Kia Sportage, but we get wired Apple Carplay and Android Auto, and plenty of connectivity (USB-A and USB-C in the front and rear, plus a 12V socket) to boot.

In the ST-L trim we get nice synthetic leather-accented seats, which are a definite upgrade over the cloth of the ST, and they have a nice textured pattern to them which feels great, as well as good bolstering. The front seats are also heated and the driver gets power adjustment, including lumbar support adjustment.

Nissan has done an incredible job with the steering wheel, one of the nicest leather-wrapped units we have used in a while, it feels really premium to the touch, with logically laid-out controls for media, calls and the Nissan ProPILOT system is fairly intuitive to use as well via the steering controls.

The climate controls are accessed via physical buttons below the infotainment screen, which allow dual-zone configuration with a bright temperature display. Storage is fantastic in the cabin with phone storage (upgrades to a wireless phone charger in the Ti spec) a large storage area beneath the centre console, a couple of cupholders housed in a nice machine-finished look plastic, and a really premium feeling storage area within the armrest which is accessed via a satisfying, ASMR-like click and soft opening.

The two-tone design of the interior is questionable, though we don’t really mind it to be honest, and we love the “slidey” shifter which again, feels strangely premium. The 2023 Nissan X-Trail also gets keyless entry and go as standard across the range.

What about the back seats?

The quality of materials continues to the back seats, with the same synthetic leather-accented seats, as well as heaps of adjustment - both forwards and backwards, as well as reclining. There is also a fold down armrest with a couple of cupholders and phone storage, and it opens up a gap for rear passengers to access the cargo area.

Connectivity is good with a USB-A and USB-C port, as well as comfort, with a couple of air vents for the rear occupants (the Ti gets a third zone of climate control).

Leg, head, and toe room is excellent, to be expected of a car of this size.

How much can it fit in the boot?

In 5-seat configuration, which we have here, boot space is 585 litres, which is 120L more than the 7-seat ST-L at 465L. The rear seats also fold down easily exposing more storage space, and the centre armrest can be folded down to allow through-loading for rear seat passengers.

One thing we love about the boot of the 2023 Nissan X-Trail ST-L is its compartmentalisation ability, with its floor panels that can be lifted and placed as dividers in multiple configurations, as well as a decent amount of storage beneath the floor, where the space saver spare tyre lives. 

Another detail of note was the inclusion of sound-deadening material in the boot floor, a premium feature that we have found to be missing in other SUVs - at more expensive prices than this X-Trail.

What’s under the bonnet?

Every vehicle in the 2023 Nissan X-Trail range (except the e-Power hybrid) received the same 2.5 litre 4-cylinder, naturally aspirated petrol engine, which produces 135kW of power and 244Nm of torque, which is a slight increase over the previous generation.

In our 5-seat 2WD spec, the power is delivered to the front wheels via a CVT automatic, which hasn’t been updated, and while the 2WD version has built-in drive modes (Eco, Standard, Sport) to adjust it’s responsiveness, the AWD version has additional modes to improve traction and response in a variety of different road conditions.

We would recommend sticking to the Front-wheel drive however, due to the fact that this car just simply doesn’t have that much power, and sending it to all four wheels would introduce a greater level of drivetrain loss than two wheels. This car isn’t gutless by any means, though it is definitely riding the line of being considered “slow” a little too closely.

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.

What does it cost to service?

Servicing for the 2023 Nissan X-Trail is every 10,000km or 12 months, whichever comes first. The entire range is covered under Nissan’s transferrable five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty, with roadside assistance included.

Service costs for the first 5 years come in at around $2300 for the 2WD X-Trail.

Is it Safe?

The entire 2023 Nissan X-Trail range has received a 5-star ANCAP safety rating based on testing of the Nissan Qashqai which shares it’s new platform. It comes equipped with the following safety equipment as standard:

  • Autonomous emergency braking (AEB), with pedestrian and cyclist detection, and reverse detection
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane keep assist
  • Traffic sign recognition
  • High-beam assist
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • 7 airbags

The Nissan ProPILOT with active lane-centering is available on the ST-L and above.

Final thoughts - should you buy one?

To be honest, we didn’t have our expectations sky-high coming into this review, but we have been very pleasantly surprised by the interior quality and refinement, safety inclusions, and pricing of the 2023 Nissan X-Trail ST-L.

Some of our key areas of criticism are also addressed in the higher-spec variants, so we believe that this new X-Trail represents something for everyone, and for the price, you’d be hard-pressed to find a nicer put together interior than what we experienced in this ST-L trim. 

While we do wish that Australia could get access to the more fun turbo-charged 3-cylinder engine available in other markets (for additional Sauce), we believe that the people that are going to buy the new X-Trail just want a safe, reliable, and comfortable car to drive around town, and in that regard, Nissan have absolutely delivered.

Saucey score breakdown

Maintenance Costs and Warranty
Fuel (or EV) Efficiency
Interior Design and Features
Value for Money
Technology and Innovation
Is it fit-for-purpose?
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Jacob Brooke
Jacob Brooke, a respected voice in the world of automotive journalism, brings a wealth of knowledge and insights to his reviews at CarSauce. His keen eye for detail and passion for all things cars shine through in his in-depth analysis and honest evaluations of the latest models of cars. Join him as he guides readers through the car-buying process and explores the exciting world of motoring.
Car specs

135kW + 244Nm

$43,190 + on-roads


5-star ANCAP

Buy a Car!
No Obligations, Hassle Free.

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