4WD-ing Xtrails - Defendant

Submitted: Thursday, Jun 23, 2011 at 08:54
ThreadID: 87139 Views:5434 Replies:8 FollowUps:7
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Hi All,

This may be a bit controversial but here we go. I am an owner on an 08 Nissan x-trail. It has a maximum lift, brand new AT tyres and a few other modifications. I am also a member of a 4WD & Recreational Club. Xtrails are 4WD vehicles, they are not all wheel drives.

Since joining the club I have had the opportunity to explore some of the great 4WD tracks that our country has to offer. I have also pushed my vehicle to it's limits and have got it many places that I would never have thought possible. I have a full kit of recovery gear in my vehicle & are not naive enough to go out on 4WD tracks on my own.

The members of the club are a fantastic group of knowledgeable and helpful people from whom I have learnt so much from. Now many people believe that Xtrails are not the sort of vehicles to be taken off road and end up in situations where a recovery is needed. For all those 4WD-ers out there, isn't the nature of the activity pushing your vehicle to the limits, enjoying the fantastic environment that not all drivers get the opportunity to appreciate & also enjoy these outings with like minded friends & club members? X-trail drivers also fall into this category.

How often have you been caught on a single lane highway behind a semi, car pulling a caravan or an L plate driver that has delayed your trip as you are unable to pass them? I would expect the same courtesy & patience on a 4WD track where a car is being recovered or assisted up that one big hill or hole that got the better of our vehicles.

Not everyone is in the financial or lucky position to own a large 4WD, but that shouldn't stop the rest of us in smaller vehicles also making the most of our great 4WD tracks. Next time your out there it could be a member from my fantastic club that pulls your car out of a difficult situation.


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Reply By: Patrol22 - Thursday, Jun 23, 2011 at 09:04

Thursday, Jun 23, 2011 at 09:04
Good on you Jo - not too many people get out there with the type of 4WD that you have ie without low range. If you understand the limitations of the vehicle and drive to those accordingly you will go OK. Just be aware that you shouldn't go into really steep country as it is highly likely that you will need recovering and if your's is a manual you are bound to smoke your clutch. The X-Trail is normally considered among the 'soft roader' group of vehicles that although technically 4WD they don't have low range so in effect their off-roadability is limited.
AnswerID: 458216

Reply By: Member - Oldbaz. NSW. - Thursday, Jun 23, 2011 at 10:21

Thursday, Jun 23, 2011 at 10:21
Well said Jo. Of course your Xtrail is more than capable of travelling many of the so
called 4WD tracks of Australia. In fact many of them are in far better condition than a
lot of rural roads that folk drive every day in their 2wd cars to take kids to the bus, shop, etc. While I drive a large 4wd on such trips I rarely find it necessary, or desirable, to put the hubs in, but I admit the ground clearance & low range both have
advantages in some situations. At least you & I can decide if we want to have 4wd
engaged, unlike most of the current vehicles on offer. cheers....oldbaz.
AnswerID: 458225

Follow Up By: Member - Oldbaz. NSW. - Thursday, Jun 23, 2011 at 10:31

Thursday, Jun 23, 2011 at 10:31
Just to reinforce my comments above...read about the Toyota Echo that did the
GCR yesterday, apparently without incident....see post below......oldbaz.
FollowupID: 731664

Reply By: Member - Craig F (WA) - Thursday, Jun 23, 2011 at 10:30

Thursday, Jun 23, 2011 at 10:30
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In most situation the ability of the car far out weighs the ability of the driver. The undeniable fact is that all cars do fit into a specific category be it that the lines are blurred.
I am the owner of the hilux in these pictures and the other two cars belong to my sister and brother (my wife also has an Extrail). All three cars made it through this dip with ease. On the way up the Cruiser and the Hilux walked up it. The Xtrail had several goes and as my brother in law didn't want to get pulled through he ended up launching his car through it damaging his front bumper.
I do not consider my car to have the same capabilities as the 105, it does however suit my needs.
The Extrail is great on a flat beach and mild tracks but is not suited to ruts, rocks and the like the plastic bumpers like all plastic bumpers are not made to contact the ground. The clearance is minimal and the suspension components are not by any means heavy duty.
I think all get a bit to precious in the category they believe there car falls into.

If the car suits the purpose of what it was purchased for, then the goal has been achieved.

AnswerID: 458226

Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Thursday, Jun 23, 2011 at 12:50

Thursday, Jun 23, 2011 at 12:50
Yep, that's why Jo has modified her Xtrail.
FollowupID: 731674

Reply By: Member - Robbo (QLD) - Thursday, Jun 23, 2011 at 11:01

Thursday, Jun 23, 2011 at 11:01
I totally agree with the other replies . Some time ago we owned a Honda CRV and " took it to the limits" as you said. We had it twice over to Fraser and once to Moreton and also up to Double Island Point. The last time we had it to Fraser was about 2 years ago was a short time after a cyclone had been in the area and a lot of the rocks were exposed making passage difficult. We very nearly came to grief on McLaughlin rocks due to to poor ground clearance- bent a drive shaft clamp and lost some of the plastic bash plates underneath.- and that was just negotiating around the rocks at dead low tide -JUST making it! When we finally made it off the Island I vowed " never again ". Since then we have sold the CRV and currently own a 2002 95 series Prado which we have appropriately modified and lifted etc. This has successfully taken us into remote desert regions which I know we would have certainly come to grief in almost immediately in an SUV.
SUV's are fine but in carefully thought out appropriate conditions. I don't know how much clearance you have but I know even with a lift the CRV would have been too low and the suspension too fragile and the underbody too vulnerable in most situations bar beaches . Also the lack of low range is an issue in some situations.
AnswerID: 458228

Follow Up By: Member - Robbo (QLD) - Thursday, Jun 23, 2011 at 11:35

Thursday, Jun 23, 2011 at 11:35
By the way we too couldn't afford a new 4wd either but it is amazing what you can pick up on the secondhand market- there are some good trucks out there!
FollowupID: 731669

Reply By: Brett H - Thursday, Jun 23, 2011 at 12:13

Thursday, Jun 23, 2011 at 12:13
Well said Jo,

Yes the xtrail has its limitations and you are fully aware of those and as such, you drive accordingly.
A lot of people in bigger 4wd's will often scoff at taking the smaller type into the rougher stuff. Why, maybe because they've spent a LOT of money setting up their rig and if a small cheaper vehicle can get there too then they feel a little put out.

I have twice been to Cape York in the late 80's with Subarus (yes I am also in the Subaru club but always owned 'bigger' 4wd's) and on the way up we would chat with people heading south telling us how rough the crossings were and we should go the easy bypass route. Well, what these people thought was rough the Subies took in their stride. It all comes down to driver skill and knowing what the car can and cant do.
I can safely say that those that learned to drive Subaru's and other smaller 4wd's over rough terrain became better drivers, as they had to learn how read the track and pick their lines rather than just the 'point and shoot' style of driving I see some 4wd'ers doing.

For those that say you shouldn't take you car there, how many times have you seen a bigger 4wd somewhere getting stuck. The only thing that changes when you get a bigger 4wd is that you might just go looking for rougher terrain to drive over. Then the arguement starts again "why are you going up there without diff locks and mud tyres?"

As your already doing, get out there and enjoy the great aussie bush in whatever way you can.

AnswerID: 458232

Follow Up By: Member - Robbo (QLD) - Thursday, Jun 23, 2011 at 13:48

Thursday, Jun 23, 2011 at 13:48
The word " limitations" is the key . To be quitehonest when we were in a real predicament at Mclaughlin rocks on Fraser 2 years ago the saying " the emperor has no clothes" came into my my mind about our vehicle . I would have given my right arm at that time to have the vehicle we now have . We didn't really know what we were getting ourselves into in spite of our best efforts accessing available reports. When you are truly remote ( not Fraser ) risk minimization is everything and the tougher the vehicle the better in my mind. It's not about trying to prove you are better than anyone else, its about the best preparation for unexpected situations.
FollowupID: 731682

Follow Up By: Brett H - Thursday, Jun 23, 2011 at 15:00

Thursday, Jun 23, 2011 at 15:00
hi Robbo,

Agree with all you say.

But what would you have thought had you not gotten into that predicament and all the regular sand was there. "I love my CRV as it got me everywhere I wanted to go. Why would I sell it".

Until you get into a predicament and realise what the limitations are of your vehicle and yourself are, then you will never really know whether you need a bigger 4wd or not.

Jo has done exactly the right thing. She has joined a club (a good one I must say, but I am biased), done some driver training and got out there with her car with the knowledge that others are there willing to help her should anything go amiss. Down the track if she wants to get something bigger then so be it. She might find that the XTrail will do everything that she ever wants to do. Until someone gives something a go then they will never know.

For me its the ones who believe what they see in the tv adds and then race off into the bush alone, with no recovery gear (as mentioned previously) and expect to be rescued by the next passing car that concern me.

FollowupID: 731687

Follow Up By: Member - Robbo (QLD) - Thursday, Jun 23, 2011 at 15:31

Thursday, Jun 23, 2011 at 15:31
Yes with the other vehicles and advice from others hopefully difficult situations will be avoided
FollowupID: 731689

Follow Up By: Member - Jo Q (NSW) - Thursday, Jun 23, 2011 at 20:22

Thursday, Jun 23, 2011 at 20:22
Thanks Brett :) & everyone else for the support.........
FollowupID: 731729

Reply By: Member - Vince M (NSW) - Thursday, Jun 23, 2011 at 13:15

Thursday, Jun 23, 2011 at 13:15
I had a 540cc Suzuki in the mid 70's & travelled all over Australia including a west to east crossing & I use to get crap from a lot of big 4wd owners, had a sign on the back "I may be slow but I,m in front of you" But I always relied on myself to get out, & NEVER asked a big 4wd to tow me out, It was often offered & excepted & we often pulled large 4wd out as well (always had to stay at the back of the pack so the rest did do not die from the 2 stroke fumes)
The problem now is so may soft roaders go Further than they should & expect/demand others to get them out & have not got even the basics of recovery gear
I have no problem if there prepared & having a go. Hell a few friends & I drove a $800 P-76 Leyland to the tip & got half way across the Jardine but we were prepared & tried to keep the delay of others to a minimum & a few free beers for the gallery as they laughed & gave advise kept all in good spirits (I admit back then it was not that busy, so there was no chance holding many up & did not meet any that were bothered by the delay & the mighty P-76 ended up towing a couple in a landy into Bamaga after it broke 2 axles)

Good luck Regards Vince
AnswerID: 458237

Reply By: Madfisher - Thursday, Jun 23, 2011 at 20:20

Thursday, Jun 23, 2011 at 20:20
Enjoyed your blog Jo, take care
Cheers Pete
AnswerID: 458275

Reply By: mikehzz - Thursday, Jun 23, 2011 at 23:25

Thursday, Jun 23, 2011 at 23:25
If you like X-Trails then you would absolutely love a Freelander 2. I've taken mine to some unbelievable places and its always good when someone in a cruiser or patrol comments 'how the hell did you get that up here?'. No low range but with the powerful diesel, light weight and the terrain response acting like front and rear lockers, it will crawl up a wall. Good under body protection as well. Mike
AnswerID: 458288

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