2015 Nissan X-Trail Visia dCi 130 2WD manual review

Competitively priced against rivals, drives smoothly and handles well, roomy & comfortable, generous boot space, contemporary & stylish exterior design, good safety tech and equipment

No DAB radio on Visia spec, no rear adjustable ventilation for the 3rd row

Nissan X-Trail?

Silver 2015 Nissan X-Trail Visia dCi 130 2WD manual

Born in 2000, the former versions of the Nissan X-Trail, never made for a particularly interesting vehicle, or one that was considered attractive. It was an often-overlooked SUV, and rivals tended to grab the limelight and buyers attention more easily.

Now, however, that’s about to change with the third-generation X-Trail (or Nissan Rogue in the USA) storming onto Nissan’s already-popular SUV/Crossover lineup, and finally offers contemporary design, 5 or 7 seats and 2 or 4 wheel drive variants. We were sent the 2015 Nissan X-Trail Visia dCi 130 2WD manual to test and find out if it’s any good…

Exterior. Butt-ugly or beauty?

Side view of the silver 2015 Nissan X-Trail Visia dCi 130 2WD manual

The last X-Trail’s exterior was most definitely due for an update by the time it finished in 2014. For 2015, the Nissan is entirely new and we’re liking its new clothes. Much like its smaller sibling, the Qashqai, I find the X-Trail’s fresh look to be stylish, contemporary and much more in keeping with other current mid-size SUVs

Whereas the previous version was boxy and rather boring, the 2015 X-Trail has a sleek, aerodynamic and sporty appearance. Two swage lines run each side the bonnet, before flowing down the sides of the car to the rear, making it look like wind streaming over and around the Nissan, emphasising the sleek bodywork.

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While the squared-off type of old-school SUV/4×4 do look tougher generally, there’s still a substantiality about the X-Trail, albeit in a modern kind of way. Up front, the headlamps feature LED running lights as standard, and the rest of the face is fairly simple and uncluttered.

Down the sides, what mostly stands out to the eye is the thick chrome strip running around the glass and ending at a point at the rear. It’s a small point, but makes an impact on the overall look.

rear three quarter view of the 2015 Nissan X-Trail Visia dCi 130 2WD manuall

All said, the new-for-2015 Nissan X-Trail (or Nissan Rogue in the USA) has come bang up to date in regards to styling, and it is now far more appealing than its predecessor ever was. With even the base ‘Visia’ model getting decent alloy wheels and LED running lights, the X-Trail looks to be an attractive offering. But what about the interior?

Interior. Neat or nothing special?

2015 Nissan X-Trail Visia dCi 130 2WD manual front drivers seat steering wheel console

We were sent the base ‘Visia’ version of the X-Trail, so that’s the one I’ll be talking about here. At the outset, I’ll admit that I wasn’t exactly over-enamoured by the X-Trail’s cabin. The Visia has dark fabric seats, a standard stereo with a small LCD display, air conditioning, and the 5-inch TFT (Thin Film Display) information screen between the dials was about as good as it got. It seemed, at least at first, rather too basic.

However, after a day or two the interior started to grow on me. The front seats are actually very comfortable, and while there’s no lumbar adjustment the seats don’t need it as they’re so well designed.

2015 Nissan X-Trail Visia dCi 130 2WD manual review front fabric seats

 

The centre row of seats (this is the optional 7-seater version), are great too. They’re split 50:50, and slide individually to make whatever room is required for the third-row passengers. They can also be reclined to such an angle that it makes long journeys a pleasant experience, as you’d be able to get some decent shut-eye with them being so laid-back. You’re actually sat much higher than the front seats, making for excellent vision, and a high roof lining (cream-coloured) gives the X-Trail an overall sense of being airy and spacious. Central ventilation gives further comfort for those in the middle row too.

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The third row seating are easy to use, and it’s a simple matter of a pulling one of the two straps, which in turn hauls each seat into position. Good news if you’ve only got one arm free at the time. These can be classed as either ‘temporary’ seating for adults, or decently roomy ones for kids and pre-teens, thanks to the 2nd row seat adjustment.

The only negative I could find was that there’s no adjustable air ventilation in the boot, and it may feel slightly claustrophobic if the sun is beating down on the car. The X-Trail’s luggage capacity is impressive, with 550 litres 2nd row seats up, and 1,982 with them folded.

Boot space with the rear seats stowed and the middle seats upright on the Nissan XTrail 2wd

Going back to the point about the X-Trail Visia feeling a little basic at first, I started to notice more points that added weight to the argument that this is a low-priced vehicle with a decently high standard of interior. There are large area of soft-touch, rubberised plastic trim on the doors and dash, and Nissan point out that they examined every surface where the driver or passenger comes into contact with the car [and] as a result, the door armrest pads and centre console pad is eight times thicker than sector rivals offer.”

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Well-chosen trim pieces and good styling with few distractions make for a strangely calming effect when you’re driving longer distances, and the switchgear for the heating and stereo are well laid out and easy to use when you need to concentrate on the road ahead. Physically, it all seems very well bolted together and solid, and even the doors shut with a reassuring ‘clunk’, rather than a ‘bang’. Safety-wise, as standard the X-Trail gets 6 airbags (Driver, passenger, side and curtain airbags), which is decent considering you have to pay extra for curtain ‘bags on some other SUVs.

The driver’s instrument panel has a simple but effective look, with highly readable dials and that previously-mentioned 5″ TFT high-definition colour display, which gives information on road signage (the car reads them as you drive towards the sign), fuel economy, settings for the driving aids, and also shows the tyre pressures and ‘chassis control’ readout – more on that later.

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While the stereo system bizarrely lacks DAB radio, you still get Bluetooth connectivity for phone and music, and the speakers actually pump out a fairly decent amount of power too. Finally, the standard Visia model also has steering wheels controls for phonecalls, audio selection, cruise control (and limiter), and for skipping through the TFT display screens.

All said, while the X-Trail Visia is the base model, it’s still got a lot going for it considering the price. It’s comfortable, roomy, practical in a big way, and whilst I’d normally recommend going up a notch to the next model for the extra goodies, I genuinely believe this model will be very easy to live with – aside from the lack of DAB radio, that is.

Engine & gearbox

Replacing the old 2.0 litre dCi (diesel) unit, is a new 1.6 litre dCi 130 turbocharged diesel, which produces the same torque as the old motor, but runs cleaner with lower emissions. A 1.6-litre DIG-T turbocharged petrol engine with 163PS will be available at some point in 2015 too.

The dCi engine is a 1,598 cc, 4-cylinder, 16-valve turbocharged diesel unit, producing 128 hp at 4,000 rpm, and 236 lb ft (320 Nm) of torque at 1,750 rpm. 0 – 62 mph is done in 10.5 seconds (add around a second for the auto version), and there’s a 117 mph to be had at the top end.

Engine bay on the 2015 Nissan X-Trail Visia dCi 130 2WD manual

Official UK fuel consumption for the 2WD manual is: urban: 49.6, extra urban: 62.8, combined: 57.6. During our test period of the X-Trail, I saw an average of 44.5 mpg around town, and just over 48 mpg on a motorway run. If I’d taken it a little slower on the motorway run, I would’ve seen over 50 mpg. CO2 emission for the 2WD are quoted as 129 g/km.

The dCi 130 is available with either a 6-speed manual, or an automatic ‘XTronic’ transmission. However, the 4WD version only comes in manual guise. You now have a choice of either two-wheel-drive (through the fronts), or an electronic ‘ALL MODE 4×4-i’ system. On that, Nissan’s engineers were apparently given “a brief to retain the previous model’s famed off-road ability“, so it’s likely to be decent over the slippery or rough stuff.

Ready to roll? Let’s drive!

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Firing the X-Trail’s dCi 130 engine into life, I’m surprised by how quiet it sounds inside the cabin. Looking under the bonnet, there’s clearly a lot of sound-deadening padding installed around the engine bay, and it works well in muffling the 4-cylinder diesel’s noise – something which is never an attractive sound.

Setting off, the manual transmission goes through the 6 gears slickly thanks to a positive gearbox and a light clutch. The gearstick sits slightly higher than usual, and it sits perfectly well next to the hand for when you want to change. The gears are long, and in the first couple of days I found the indicator on the dash telling me to change down often because of this.

At 10.2 seconds, the 0 – 60 mph acceleration doesn’t look good on paper. However, I found the rolling acceleration perfectly acceptable, and the X-Trail has all the power it needs from the dCi engine. It’s not a slouch, and you can get up to motorway speeds with dCi seemingly using little effort, and power for overtaking manoeuvres is there if you need it.

City driving in the X-Trail dCi is almost a pleasure. There’s loads of low-down torque on tap at just 1,750 rpm, which means it pulls well when there’s even a slight gap in traffic. Just like I found with the 2014 Nissan Qashqai I reviewed, the X-Trail’s chassis and fully independent suspension has been superbly well set up.

Driving the 2015 Nissan X-Trail Visia dCi 130 2WD manual

Even over olde worlde cobbles, the X-Trail soaks up the vibration amazingly well, softening and flatting out both the physical bumpiness of the road, and also dampening the down the noise from it really very well, and beyond expectation. Down a flowing road at speed, the Nissan’s set-up means it drives more like a car than an SUV, taking the bends with good poise and surprisingly little body roll.

For long distance travel, the X-Trail proves itself to be a splendid cruiser, with a long 6th gear making for an un-stressed engine, excellent soundproofing keeping wind and road noise down very well, and of course those comfortable seats keeping your derrière happy.

Gear stick 2015 Nissan X-Trail Visia dCi 130 2WD manual

These points, along with the light clutch, slick gear change and steering that is nicely set up to cause minimal effort – light around the town and decently weighted when you’re tackling a twisting run – means the X-Trail is actually a great car to get about in, whether you’re putting some miles on the clock on a road trip, or simply popping to the shops in town.

Driving in the 2015 Nissan X-Trail Visia dCi 130 2WD manual

Safety-wise, the Nissan is well equipped. As standard, there are the aforementioned 6 airbags, plus the X-Trail comes standard with Nissan’s Chassis Control safety system. This includes Active Ride Control, Active Engine Brake (only used on the Xtronic automatic version), and Active Trace Control. In short, the system monitors a variety of things such as wheel speed, the behaviour and trajectory of the car and more, and then acts by subtly braking to keep you headed in the right direction safely, and it also acts like a limited slip differential to ensure the best traction and limit understeer.

Electronic handbrake / ebrake on the 2015 Nissan X-Trail Visia dCi 130 2WD manual

There’s also a couple of safety packs available, but these depend on the model you go for. Firstly, there’s a ‘Smart Vision Pack’ which has an Anti Dazzle Mirror, Traffic Sign Recognition, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Emergency Braking.  There’s also Nissan’s ‘Safety Shield’, which includes Blind Spot Warning, Moving Object Detection and Driver Attention Alert, but this isn’t available with the Visia or Acenta models.

Personally – and because I like having the security of four wheel drive should the weather turn inclement – I would pay more and go for the X-Trail with ‘ALL MODE 4×4-i’ system, but that’s down to budget of course, as it does adds a fair bit onto the price.

Driving the 2015 Nissan X-Trail Visia dCi 130 2WD manual

Price

(figures correct Feb. ’14) At £23,195 – £32,145, the Nissan is priced very competitively. Our Visia 7-seater test car cost £23,995, and spec levels are decent whichever you go for, so the X-Trail easily justifies the asking price.

As we tested the 7-seat X-Trail, rivals include the Mitsubishi Outlander at £20,000 – £40,000, the Hyundai Santa Fe 7-seater at £27 – £35k, the Chevrolet Captiva 7-seater version at around £27,000 – £30,000, and the Kia Sorento at £26,995 – £36,805.

2015 Nissan X-Trail Visia dCi 130 2WD manual verdict & score

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Buyers today will absolutely not stand for cheaply or poorly-made cars, just because they’re comparatively low-priced. Nope, rightly we want good cars at economical prices! Happily, they’ve finally cottoned on to the fact that we, the buyers, won’t stand for rubbish any more.

In Nissan’s case, they’re providing the market with what’s wanted, and the 2015 X-Trail is a shining example this: it’s sold at a very competitive price, the interior quality is great considering the cost of the car, and you’re getting lots of safety stuff as standard. If you want SUV styling, lots of room, and the choice of 5 or 7 seats, plus 2 or 4 wheel drive, the Nissan X-Trail is definitely worth a test drive.

On the Visia spec X-Trail, I thought not fitting DAB radio as standard was a bit tight, and the lack of rear adjustable ventilation for the 3rd row seating could be an issue if it’s a hot day.

Do you own a second-generation Kia Sorento, or have questions about it? Share your thoughts and leave a comment below!

Exterior  7
Interior (Visia spec)  7.5
Engine  8
Gearbox (manual)  8
Price  8
Handling  7
Drive & Ride  8
Overall Score  8.0 / 10

Read more of our Nissan reviews here

Specs

Model (as tested)   2015 Nissan X-Trail Visia dCi 130 2WD manual
Spec includes  7 seats, 17″ alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, 6 airbags, ABS, EBD, ESP, Brake Assist, Chassis Control (Active Engine Brake, Active Trace Control and Active Ride Control). Hill Start Assist, electronic parking brake, cruise control with limiter, electric heated mirrors, 5″ TFT display, cloth trim, CD/Radio with AUX & USB input plus Bluetooth for audio & calls, remote audio control. See website for more info
Options you should spec  Visia Smart Vision Pack (lane departure warning, forward emergency braking, parking sensors etc): £496.00
The Competition  Mitsubishi Outlander, Hyundai Santa Fe 7-seater, Chevrolet Captiva 7-seater, Kia Sorento, Audi Q7, Volvo XC90
Price  (Feb. ’15): £23,195 – £32,145
Engine  Diesel, 1.6 litre, 4-cylinder, 16-valve, turbocharged
Power, Torque  Power: 128 hp @ 4,000 rpm | Torque: 236 lb ft (320 Nm) @ 1,750 rpm
Drive, Gears (as tested)  Front wheel drive | 6-speed manual
Ground clearance, Wading depth,  Towing Capacity  Clearance: 210 mm (8.3″) | Wading: 350 mm (13.8″) | Braked towing: 2,000 kg’s (4,409 lbs)
Top Speed, 0 – 60 mph, Euro NCAP  Max speed: 117 mph | 0 – 62 mph: 10.5 seconds | Euro NCAP rating: 5/5 stars
Fuel economy (UK mpg), CO2  Urban: 49.6, Extra urban: 62.8, Combined: 57.6 | CO2: 129 g/km
Weight (Max. kerb)  1,550 kg (3,417 lbs)
Websites  Nissan UK, Nissan USA, Nissan Global

Words: Chris Davies | Photography: Chris Davies, Matthew Davies

One response to “2015 Nissan X-Trail Visia dCi 130 2WD manual review”

  1. Glen

    i own a 2015 x trail with the 1.6 deisel engine .xtronic transmission .And have found some of the specifications above are not so true .For instance the top speed is much more than 117 mph as i have had my one crusing at 160 klm at just on 2000 rpm with plenty more throttle left to go . Also the acceleration time from 0/60 mph is a little faster than specified . So in the end i would rather think that this little gem of a car has much more potential than stated above . Great going on this one nissan this car really is quiet an awsome machine .

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