A return to form: 2023 Nissan X-Trail first drive review

A red Nissan X-Trail 2023

Toby Hagon

Posted December 05, 2022

With a bigger body and a more upmarket cabin, Nissan is putting its best foot forward to get back on top with the all-new fourth-generation SUV.  

The latest X-Trail is a return to form for Nissan’s mid-sized SUV.

Determined to move back to the top of the mid-sized SUV category, the new Nissan X-Trail arrives with bigger price tags, but delivers a more convincing driving experience and longer list of equipment.

While it’s not as slick to drive as some, it makes up for it with a spacious and functional cabin and solid value.

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2023 Nissan X-Trail.
2023 Nissan X-Trail.
2023 Nissan X-Trail.
2023 Nissan X-Trail.
2023 Nissan X-Trail.
2023 Nissan X-Trail.

Nissan X-Trail pricing

Competing with the Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5, Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson, the new X-Trail starts at $36,750 plus on-road costs. That’s for the ST model that comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, smart key entry, a quartet of USB ports and an 8-inch touchscreen.

A third row of seats and all-wheel drive system adds $3,040.

Moving up to the ST-L ($43,190 as a five-seat front-drive or $46,290 as a seven-seat AWD) brings fake leather trim, dual-zone ventilation, an overhead view camera and 18-inch wheels.

The Ti has a price tag of $49,990 and comes only as a five-seat all-wheel drive, but adds a heap of gear, including 19-inch wheels. There’s real leather, wireless phone charging, head-up display, digital instrument cluster, matrix LED headlights, ambient lighting, a panoramic sunroof, powered tailgate and separate ventilation controls for the rear. 

The centre screen is also a broad 12.3 inches, and comes with wireless functionality for the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Those wanting the full luxury-experience can head for the Ti-L, with a price tag of $52,990 plus costs.

It also gets quilted Nappa leather, a heated steering wheel and heated rear seats with side blinds, as well as 20-inch wheels.

Nissan X-Trail safety rating and features

The Nissan X-Trail recently scored a five-star ANCAP safety rating against the tougher 2021 criteria.

Its safety story includes the usual array of front and side airbags, as well as a centre front airbag to reduce the chance of a head clash.

There’s also an impressive array of active safety gear, including blind spot warning, auto braking in forward and reverse, rear cross traffic alert, driver monitoring and speed sign recognition.

All except the base ST five-seater get an around-view camera and ProPilot semi-autonomous functionality.


2023 Nissan X-Trail.
2023 Nissan X-Trail.
2023 Nissan X-Trail.
2023 Nissan X-Trail.
2023 Nissan X-Trail.
2023 Nissan X-Trail.

Nissan X-Trail interiors

Nissan has put plenty of thought into the X-Trail cabin. Even the plasticky bits have some fresh colours and finishes that lift the ambience. The wood-look strip across the cabin and two-tone dashboard are examples of the additional thought put into the details, all of which help provide a more upmarket space.

There’s no shortage of storage either, including a handy shelf beneath the floating centre console.

Plus, there’s good space for occupants. It may be 10mm shorter than before, but some extra width and height to the cabin have expanded what was already a generously proportioned cabin.

The middle row slides forward and back, allowing a trade-off between legroom and boot space, the latter up to 585 litres.

All but the base ST get a back seat that can fold in three individual portions, allowing flexibility between bulky items and humans. 

There’s also generous underfloor storage in the boot, with one of the two sections of the floor able to be slotted vertically to create a separator; perfect for keeping the kids’ paraphernalia from the groceries.

The central touchscreen is bordering on small in the ST and ST-L, but is more expansive in the Ti and Ti-L. It’s also easy to navigate, with fixed buttons and dials making selecting functions that little bit easier. 


2023 Nissan X-Trail.

The 2023 Nissan X-Trail.

Nissan X-Trail specs and performance

Though Nissan would have you to believe the 2.5-litre engine is all new, there are some of the bones of the previous car lurking within. 

Teamed to a CVT transmission, it makes for easy progress, the quick-thinking auto good at extrapolating the best from the willing four-cylinder.

Some over-exuberance with the accelerator can elicit a brief wheelspin if you’re taking off in the two-wheel drive model; AWD versions don’t have that issue.

 The X-Trail is an easy SUV to live with. It has good visibility and light steering, making carpark manoeuvring a snip. It’s also quieter than the previous model, adding to its relaxed nature.

It also does a nice job dealing with bumps, not only making it so they’re not such a big deal, but also ensuring the car maintains its poise.

That said, the Nissan isn’t as sharp as some rivals through corners. It’s more about getting the job done with minimal fuss than getting the hairs to rise on the back of your neck.

Nissan X-Trail fuel efficiency

It’s worth noting that Nissan will be releasing a hybrid version of the X-Trail (it’s called e-Power) early in 2023. But for now, it’s petrol only, and the X-Trail is not particularly frugal.

Its official fuel consumption figure is 7.4 litres for every 100km you travel, which is about six per cent better than the car it replaces. Every kilometre you drive will on average emit 174 grams of CO2.

That’s more than key rivals such as the Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5, but is less than the Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson. 

If you opt for the all-wheel drive X-Trail, you can expect to use around five per cent more than the front-wheel drive equivalent.

But those figures are derived from a laboratory test, which is rarely representative of what most people use out in the suburbs. So bank on using at least 10 per cent more than those official figures, possibly more.


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