Nissan X Trail

Submitted: Thursday, Oct 09, 2003 at 12:15
ThreadID: 7694 Views:8498 Replies:13 FollowUps:11
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I posted a question recently about the new Holden Adventra and I thank you all for your comments and I have taken them all on board. I am now seriously considering buying a Nissan X Trail. I do not want to go full on serious 4W Driving but I think the X Trail will do the job for me. I have test driven the car and was very happy with it all.
My question is there anyone out there who owns one and what you thoughts are on the vehicle. I want to tow a Camper Trailer which weighs about 1000Kg fully loaded and would like to know if the X Trail will handle it OK. The specifications say it will tow 2000Kg so a 1000Kg Camper should not be too much of a problem.
I am fully aware the vehicle will not have the power of my current V6 Commodore but I am more than prepared to allow for that. It is just that the X Trail seems to have all the goodies I have in the Commodore for a lot less in $'s and that I can get on to some rough dirt roads and a bit of rough stuff if needed. I would only be towing the camper for say about 10 weekends a year and a three or four week holiday once a year. The rest of the time will be to and from work and a few trips from Bathurst to Sydney and return for my business.
Also have been told that it is much wiser to have a Nissan or Toyota when travelling in outback areas as parts are more ready available than some of the other imported makes. Mind you I would hope to not need spare parts when travelling. Your comments would be much appreciated.
If anyone out there owns one then please say so and I could call you direct and have a chat with you.
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Reply By: flappan - Thursday, Oct 09, 2003 at 12:59

Thursday, Oct 09, 2003 at 12:59
"Also have been told that it is much wiser to have a Nissan or Toyota when travelling in outback areas as parts are more ready available than some of the other imported makes. Mind you I would hope to not need spare parts when travelling. "

I would forget that bit for a start . . . I doubt too many "outback" places would have X Trail parts laying around . . .

The X TRail will tow it OK, but kinda depends on where you intend towing it to.
AnswerID: 33230

Reply By: Member - Bob - Thursday, Oct 09, 2003 at 13:01

Thursday, Oct 09, 2003 at 13:01
"it is much wiser to have a Nissan or Toyota when travelling in outback areas as parts are more ready available than some of the other imported makes"
I have never needed 'parts' beyond the spares and bits that I carry, but I am sure if something were needed it could be transferred to the nearest town within a day or so.Bob
AnswerID: 33231

Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Thursday, Oct 09, 2003 at 13:23

Thursday, Oct 09, 2003 at 13:23
How did you find the dash gauges in the middle??

Personally I think that should be illegal, forcing people to look away from road just to see the speedo etc...

All that is for is to save Missan $ from changing cars from one country to another.. make them all in the middle..
AnswerID: 33233

Reply By: jeepy - Thursday, Oct 09, 2003 at 13:36

Thursday, Oct 09, 2003 at 13:36
have you had a look at the Mazda Tribute/ Ford Escape. They are about the same price as an X-trail but will tow better because they have an extra 2 cylinders and are 3.0l engines. The X-trail will tow 1000kg but I wouldn't want to do it too often especially in hilly country. They are also better than the x trail off-road because they have a bit more ground clearance and a centre diff lock.

AnswerID: 33234

Follow Up By: GaryInOz (Vic) - Thursday, Oct 09, 2003 at 20:59

Thursday, Oct 09, 2003 at 20:59
BUT....Look under their rears at the spindly lower suspension arms just waiting for a tree stump/rock to re-arrange your back end permanantly. Not forgetting the $7000 engine repairs (water ingestion from a very low air intake) for going through water that a good-ol' XD Falcon would take in its stride.

If you want a 4WD for touring/towing do yourself a BIG favour and buy a REAL 4WD (chassis and low range).

Be aware that there is not one AWD that has anything like a decent recovery point (Note: NOT just a tie-down point for transport), or the strength in the body to mount one. I will be happy to drive you to the next town to organise a recovery effort, but I will not put myself or my vehicle in danger, or risk damaging you vehicle beyond repair, by attempting to tow you out of a difficult recovery situation.
FollowupID: 23833

Reply By: Bazza - Thursday, Oct 09, 2003 at 14:01

Thursday, Oct 09, 2003 at 14:01
G'day bigfella,
I do'nt own a X-Trail but a good friend of mine does. I've driven his while towing my Jayco campertrailer and found in a bit under powered, expecially up hills, as it would continually hunt for gears. It also has another issue in that it will only stay "locked" in 4wd mode untill 30klms, and then returns to "auto select" mode. These are my only problems with it. As a solo vehicle it does everything it was designed to do, very well. Can I suggest that you test drive the Escape/Tribute. I have the Ford Escape and find that it out performs the X-Trail is most situations, particually towing, as it's 3lt V6 out performs most in it's class at 156kw. It actually tows the Jayco better than my Ford au3 wagon as it is better sprung in the rear.
As for outback use ........ remember none of the vehicles I mention were designed for serious off-road use, but driven within their limitations, all will get you where you want to go.
Bazza ( the Escape is soon to have a Prado as a stable mate )
AnswerID: 33237

Follow Up By: JD - Friday, Oct 10, 2003 at 00:13

Friday, Oct 10, 2003 at 00:13
Hi Bazza,
A mate of mine has an X-Trail and I originally had the same 30km/h criticism re the 4wd lock, but thinking about it unless the vehicle is bellied out and wheels spinning fooling the electronics into thinking it's going 30km/h then I guess the system would work. Unfortunately he's one of the tarmac set so I've never seen it in action!
On another subject well done on the stable mate. Took delivery of our 120 TD GX early August. Traded our first 4Bee, The Submarine (Kia Sportage - hint: don't drive underwater), and are now probably no more off-road capable (the Kia is actually quite awesome) but the difference is the lack of effort required to achieve the same result and far more respectable fuel consumption (didn't think diesel would make that much difference considering the 33% weight increase). Enjoy the ride.

Still gropin' sand in paradise
FollowupID: 23862

Reply By: Graham & Ann - Thursday, Oct 09, 2003 at 14:14

Thursday, Oct 09, 2003 at 14:14
XT Should tow 1000kg fine..(but I'd hate to tory and tow 2000kg with one torque is way up in rev range) ..... for the money maybe consider Kia Sorento loads more torque, rated to tow 2300kg...and has duel range...

The Escape etc... only rated to tow 1600kg?? and again torque way up high in rev range...cant beat low down torque for towing1999 Pathfinder
17ft Evernew 'All Roads' van
AnswerID: 33238

Follow Up By: Member - Al & Mrs Al (Vic) - Thursday, Oct 09, 2003 at 14:58

Thursday, Oct 09, 2003 at 14:58
Hi Graham and Ann,

this has nothing to do with Bigfella X trail query, I notice your Van, just wondering how you go touring around with it, where've you've been?

Ours is a Roadstar, 17ft, with indepen susp...and we're looking forward to heading out and seeing stacks of places....

Lyn [Mrs. Al]

happy for you to email is you

cheersLaugh's too short not to....

Memorial Cross - Mt Macedon Vic

FollowupID: 23801

Follow Up By: Graham & Ann - Thursday, Oct 09, 2003 at 19:54

Thursday, Oct 09, 2003 at 19:54
Hi Lyn

We've done around 26000km (towing) this van this last 12 months and towed our last van 39000km in 3 years, the year before that we done 10000km trip to Cairns/Cooktown in the sons van, so been a lot of places and still lts more to see.

not long got back from 14wk trip to the gulf you can read our trip emails and itinary in the documents folder at
try this url should take you there direct
also some of the reports in the Files area here
and here

There are lots of places to see, Other than our Gulf trip taht you'll be able to read about, we've been most of the east coast b/w Adelaide and Cooktown , and inland routes to QLD and Canarvon Gorge, also Lake Eyre/William Creek. Currently planning 6month trip to Kimberley and WA via the Tanami for winter/spring 2004.

Maybe see you along the track someday, any Q's you have my email cya1999 Pathfinder
17ft Evernew 'All Roads' van
FollowupID: 23828

Reply By: bigfella - Thursday, Oct 09, 2003 at 15:49

Thursday, Oct 09, 2003 at 15:49
Thanks for the quick replies guys.
I had a very bad experience with Ford years ago and have never got over it. I just can't get myself to even think about any type of Ford. I know it is silly but that is how it is.
I am very impressed with the X Trail and so far the changeover quotes I am getting with my Commodore as a trade in are leaning towards the X Trail. I don't intend to tow my Camper Trailer off to really rough areas so I am confident that the X Trail will do the job.
Just seems the best value for money for what I want.
Once again thanks for the answers.
This a great forum and I for one who has never owned a 4wd have got heaps of info from it.
I also like the odd bit of banter that gets thrown about from time to time.
I am heading off to Victoria for a couple of weeks at the end of the month.
Will be visiting Bendigo, Ballarat and the Grampions.
Keep an eye out for a Commodore Acclaim Wagon (With "Country Brewer" written on the side towing a Camp-o-Matic Camper. I will have some good homebrew on board and might share with a fellow Explor Oz forum reader.
AnswerID: 33246

Follow Up By: DODO(bendigo) - Thursday, Oct 09, 2003 at 18:41

Thursday, Oct 09, 2003 at 18:41
let me know when you will be in bendigo.
i will help you with your home brew lolRaphus cucullatus
FollowupID: 23818

Reply By: peterK - Thursday, Oct 09, 2003 at 16:25

Thursday, Oct 09, 2003 at 16:25
I have had an xtrail for 15 months and Im pretty happy with it (although I have a GQ as well). It goes well on forest roads ect, Ive even done a couple of Tag-a-alongs in it (but clearance and lack of low range make it more interesting). I havent towed with it though.
If you get one a few points to consider:
- get seat covers thrown in or buy some early. The trendy easy clean seats are not.
- get nissan to throw in the boot mat. The plastic floor looks great in ads but things slide around.
- Even if you get the ST, ask for 16 inch wheels. The standard 15 inch Toyo Tranpaths are expensive to replace ($255). The size is unique so if you want to throw on ATs it becomes a hassle. The 16 inch is far more common.
- Sounds like commonsense but make sure Nissan put the tow plug on the top of the towbar. They have a habit of mounting it on the bottom - but it doesnt last long.
- Dont get a black one, it never looks clean, and the scratches in the carbon fibre bits seem to be difficult to polish out.

Dont be concerned about the center dash, it takes bugger all to get used to, actually has some good uses as well, for example the passenger can see the trip meter. Same as for the 4WD Lock, not working above 30kms - when you really need to lock 4wd in an xtrail - you are probably not too concerned with going quick. The auto select works well and meets most requirements

I dont really want to say this in public but the cup holders are great, and the drink coolers in the dash actually do work (i know - cup holders should be seen but never discussed!!!)

AnswerID: 33248

Follow Up By: bigfella - Thursday, Oct 09, 2003 at 17:11

Thursday, Oct 09, 2003 at 17:11
Thanks for the info. This is the sort of thing I am looking for.
Seat covers are a must.
I have got my quotes to cover a mat in the back.
The one I am looking at has 16 inch wheels.
I will check on plug as well.
Colour will be a light one has I have to get it sign written for my business.
Yes I also must admit the drink holders sound great. Pity I can't put a cold homebrew in them while I am driving. Makes "Happy Hour" each day look even better.
Haven't made the final decision as yet but it is looking X Trail so far.
Thanks again for the info.
FollowupID: 23814

Reply By: Member - Roger - Thursday, Oct 09, 2003 at 16:42

Thursday, Oct 09, 2003 at 16:42
Your choice of vehicle is great if you really do not want to go OFF road seriously as these vehicles do not have low range and do not wade very good as the air intake is in a vunerable spot which makes it prone to water intake in the donk.
Best advice is buy a 4b that is a real 4b with low range etc & not a Claytons.
AnswerID: 33250

Follow Up By: bigfella - Thursday, Oct 09, 2003 at 16:54

Thursday, Oct 09, 2003 at 16:54
Thanks for the "best advice" but I don't want what you call a "real 4b".

I don't want to spend that sort of money as I want to buy NEW and I feel by all reports the X Trail will do the job I am after.

I just think you are being a bit unfair calling it a "Claytons"

Horses for courses you know.


FollowupID: 23813

Follow Up By: jeepy - Thursday, Oct 09, 2003 at 18:41

Thursday, Oct 09, 2003 at 18:41
it really depends on what he wants to do with it. Those competition 4WD's probably consider yours to be a shopping trolley with its small spring lift, no swampers and not as much articulation. You see my point, if he's not going seriously off-road then what does he need low range for? Just like you, if you don't go rock-hopping what do you need extra low range gears for? but some people do.
If you are only planning on doing a few forest tracks, heading to the snow or some light towing (which is obviously what he wants) then an xtrail or like is much better than something like a patrol or cruiser.

FollowupID: 23819

Follow Up By: GaryInOz (Vic) - Friday, Oct 10, 2003 at 10:49

Friday, Oct 10, 2003 at 10:49
I would add that if you are not going off road then you would be better served by a standard Ford/Holden staion wagon that has the sort of towing capacity that you need, without the handling and safety consequences of a vehicle with a high center of gravity, particularly as the X-Trail/Tribute/etc AWD's don't have any more ground clearance than a Ford/Holden anyway.
FollowupID: 23881

Follow Up By: Member - Roger - Saturday, Oct 11, 2003 at 21:45

Saturday, Oct 11, 2003 at 21:45
Gary has hit the nail right on it's head, for the money spent on the X trail a holden or falcon could be the go. however if you have your heart set on the little nissan make sure that you know it's limitations.
Sorry if I upset you.
FollowupID: 24013

Reply By: Member - Colin (ACT region) - Friday, Oct 10, 2003 at 13:06

Friday, Oct 10, 2003 at 13:06
your obviously a Nissan man - but did you look at a Subaru Forester.
Has a torquey 2.5L motor, low range and 16" wheels and a whole lot of 'off road points on the board' !Subaru Forester
size isn't everything !
AnswerID: 33329

Reply By: Jimbo - Saturday, Oct 11, 2003 at 13:39

Saturday, Oct 11, 2003 at 13:39

I've got one on order and hope to get it in the next week or so. I've had a "real 4wd" before (GQ Patrol) and loved it most of the time. However its sluggish performance, savage fuel consumption and truck like suspension/handling get to be a pain in the arse as we all spend 95-99% of our time on road. In addition to this, the bulk of the off-road work I do, can be accomplished by the X-Trail.

Ignore the nonsense you get from the likes of Garyinoz. They've never even driven one, but are somehow expert on them. They can't seem to fathom the fact that we have different needs to them. Commments such as, a Falcon wagon will go anywhere a X-Tail will, just conform that they don't have a clue.

I tested a new and a used X-Trail. The auto will do 0-100kmh in 9.6 seconds which puts it well into 6 cylinder sedan territory. In addition it will get you off road, and from people I have spoken to who have driven them, further off road than most expect. For example the bloke at the local auto shop has a GU patrol and his Father has an X-Trail. They travel together and he said the terrain has to get pretty rugged before the Patrol is noticeably better. He also added that its main weak point is its tyres. Accordingly I have ordered mine with BFG All-Terrains fitted from new (these are the most aggressive available in the size).

If you type X-Tail in at the top and do a search you will find some interesting reading. You'll find comments like "try fitting a dual battery and see how you go", again the ravings of fools who wouldn't know their arse from their elbow. Piranha produce a system and I have arranged an auto elec to fit it before I take delivery.

I have had very useful contact from Colin the Subaru man. He understands the way we think. The Subie is a great vehicle from all reports, but is too small in the back for my liking. With the seats folded down in the X-Trail I can lay down in the back comfortably (I'm 5'11').

It's a compromise vehicle. It does 90% of what I want (not what someone else thinks I need) from both a sedan and a 4wd. What could be better?


AnswerID: 33425

Follow Up By: Bazza - Monday, Oct 13, 2003 at 15:07

Monday, Oct 13, 2003 at 15:07
G'Day Jim,
Well said. I agree with you comments totally. As I've said earler in this post, they are a good unit and will do every thing that their designed to do .. very well.
I hope you get great enjoyment from yours. A couple of things you may or may not be aware of, and that may be handy to know about my mates x-trail ........
I have just re-wired the rear power socket to be active all the time to enable it's use for a fridge. It's oridginaly dead with the keys out. The other thing is the rear tail lights assembly ... if you need to remove the lens assembly to replace a lamp, use two lenghts of packing tape
( usually yellow or blue and used for breaking into locked cars ) Slip one lenght under the top of the lens assembly and one at the bottom, then pull both evenly, to remove lens assembly. We found out the hard/expensive way. If you do'nt do it this way you risk breaking off the locating tabs on the lens assembly and the replacement units are about
$300 each.
Hope this info is of assistance.
Enjoy the X-Trail.
FollowupID: 24103

Reply By: Matt M - Saturday, Oct 11, 2003 at 17:07

Saturday, Oct 11, 2003 at 17:07
Bigfella, the replies that stipulate a low range as mandatory before you purchase any 4wd are pretty justified, even if you arent gettin into serious 4wdriving!

Especially since you are thinking of towing a fair amount with it. You have a very small capacity 4 cyl engine and you need revs to get any power, trailers do not allow you to get those revs, you have to slip the clutch!!

Whether you are reversing in a tight spot (caravan park, off road etc) or towing a boat up a slippery, steep boat ramp, the ability to drop it into low range and climb under control and no load on the clutch is great!!! You dont have to be extreame to appreciate that bonus, you will do your vehicle a favour!!

The last time I used low range was climbing the ramps on to a vehicle ferry, quite possible to do in high range but sooo much easier in low!! Especially when you are halfway up and the line stops, no jerky starts, wheel spinning or clutch slipping, just drive on up!

Just a thought, it might make a difference!

ps dont listen to the people who say you shouldnt low range with the front hubs unlocked, quite possible and within reason no possible damage to vehicle. Think of the load on a single axle with an LSD or a locker!! Low range wont hurt it!
Goodluck with your purchase!

AnswerID: 33431

Reply By: MarkFC - Sunday, Oct 12, 2003 at 06:19

Sunday, Oct 12, 2003 at 06:19
Hi BigFella

I have just come back from holidays, towing my 14ft tinny with a bit of luggage in it, and the XTrail did it easily (but it didn't weigh 1000kgs though). I have towed my parents van (over 1000kgs), and a trailer full of rubbish (1200 kgs), and once again no problems. I wouldn't want any more weight than that though, I have issues with towing more than the weight of the vehicle (1440 kgs). We have an auto, and I just disengage the overdrive when I need to maintain speed on hills etc.

We did plenty of beach work on our holiday, together with some soft and deep sand tracks getting into some camp grounds and onto the beach. The Xtrail handled them all with no complaint. You will find that even though the "4wd Lock" disengages at 30kph, if the wheels are still spinning, the rears will still engage above 30 kph. We have had a number of trips to state forests, and a few trips to Noosa North Shore / Double Island Point with no drama at all.

I will be replacing the 15" Toyos at some point with "A/T's" and I have found that there are about 8 possible tyre replacements (I am going to go to either 215/75/15 or 225/70/15 though). We also have some aftermarket alloys so I don't have to look at the ugly plastic wheel trims.

The centre dash is not an issue at all, I find it very easy to use. Get yourself some seat covers, and either buy a mat for the back tray, or make one yourself. We made our own as we had some carpet left over from our house renovation.

As you can see from some posts, there are forum members who have no idea of why we chose to purchase the vehicles we do, they can't accept that we have made informed decisions on how we spend our money. If I wanted to do serious off-roading every weekend, climbing rocks, crossing rivers, going through mud pits, I wouldn't have purchased an XTrail. I am extremely happy with my decision, as the XTrail does everything I expected of it (and more).

By the way, I had a Prado attempt a beach exit in front of me last week, it took him 5 attempts, I did it in one. He had kindly waited for me, thinking I would have no chance of getting off the beach.

You will not be disappointed with the XTrail, but do like I did, drive all of the others in the class, and pick the best compromise to suit you.

Good luck

Mark FC

Sunshine Coast
AnswerID: 33459

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