2018 Nissan X-Trail Diesel Review

2018 Nissan X-Trail Diesel front three quarter view

2018 Nissan X-Trail TL 1.6 Diesel – $47,790 (plus on-roads)
(3 / 5)

Finally, the X-Trail gets a diesel that has the power and torque figures it’s been screaming out for.

The Nissan X-Trail also now has a price tag that puts it right at the pointy end of the highly competitive medium SUV category.

So, is the new X-Trail diesel worth its nearly $48K asking price? We’ll get to that soon, but first, let’s look at what separates this car from the rest of the X-Trail range.

2018 Nissan X-Trail Diesel side view

What’s new?

The headlining feature is the new engine, which has grown in size from 1.6-litres to 2.0-litres, and now runs an automatic – a CVT, for those playing along at home. Let’s start with the engine.

At 2.0-litres, it’s a match for most of the segment’s diesels, and its power and torque outputs are quite good, with 130kW and 380Nm on offer. Like some other diesels, peak torque comes in at 2000rpm, which means that there is a bit of lag until the turbo builds boost and it gets up and going.

2018 Nissan X-Trail Diesel engine bay

Off the line, therefore, it’s not quick, and needs a bit of prod to encourage it to move, but that means the CVT also has to wake up, giving you double the lag. Once on the roll, it’s fine and has plenty of torque for country overtaking, but around town it’s best to drive at, say, a leisurely pace.

The CVT is also very noisy. Sounds strange, but there’s a distinct whirring as you pull up to a stop, and when you take off. No other CVT creates such a sound, so we’re not sure what’s going on there.

2018 Nissan X-Trail Diesel rear view

Again, when on the move, it’s not an issue, but if your day is spent in stop-start traffic, it could get tiresome.

Let’s look at the positives, though – the fuel consumption is good, at 6.1L/100km combined, and around town it’s in the mid sevens, but that was with one or two people on board. Load it up and you can expect that figure to climb. Loading it up, though, is what the X-Trail excels at.

So, let’s talk about the interior

There’s a stack of space in this car. The back row, for example, has heaps of legroom and because the back seat is mounted so high, kids are able to see out very easily. However adults will feel like they’re sitting in the clouds, and anyone over six-foot tall may brush the headlining.

2018 Nissan X-Trail Diesel back seats

The back seat slides backward and forward liberating more room for the boot – it’s quite flexible and practical for carrying things, therefore.

Unfortunately the X-Trail diesel isn’t available in a seven-seat configuration, but that’s actually a good thing for those who want to make the best use of space. It ensures the boot is as big as it can be (without having to house two extra seats), and at 565 litres there’s enough space for most things. Fold up the second row and you’ll get 945 litres.

2018 Nissan X-Trail Diesel luggage capacity

We just wish that it had the utilitarian approach of the previous gen X-Trail, but the world wants luxury, these days.

But is it luxurious, then?

Inside the quality is average, with a solid build, however the materials can’t hold a candle to the Mazda CX-5, for example. Neither can Nissan’s infotainment system, which looks a bit low-rent in today’s high-resolution world.

2018 Nissan X-Trail Diesel reversing camera screen

The reversing camera, for example, has the guidance lines, but it’s so pixellated that making out details at night isn’t that easy. Having the 360 degree view is good, too, but only if you can work out what’s going on.

What’s it like on the road?

Well, the steering is a bit dead in terms of feedback, but it is light weight and quite easy to park. It’s also not the world’s most dynamic car, either.

2018 Nissan X-Trail Diesel headlights

With the huge wheels in TL guise, the initial compliance isn’t there on small, sharp bumps, but long undulations show that it’s quite softly sprung. Great over speed bumps, but not so great on potholes. Cheaper models in the range certainly ride better.

Is it worth the money?

In comparison with its competition, the X-Trail TL diesel will find it very hard to justify its asking price. It’s not as nice as the Honda CR-V (granted, there’s no diesel, but it’s still economical), nor the Mazda CX-5, and if you want something a bit different for the same price, you can’t go past the Skoda Kodiaq, which also gets seven seats and is a lot better to both drive and to be driven in.

2018 Nissan X-Trail Diesel badge

In TS form, at $35,990, the X-Trail diesel makes more sense, providing you can live without a few niceties. But the TL, unfortunately, is soundly beaten by the best in segment.

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2018 Nissan X-Trail TL 2.0 Diesel Specifications

Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel
Power: 130kW @ 3750rpm
Torque: 380Nm @ 2000rpm
0-100kmh: 9.2 seconds
Fuel use: 6.1L/100km

Can you take the Nissan X-Trail offroad?

Not like you used to be able to. The old, boxy-shape X-Trail was a cracking car off-road, but with its increase in size has brought an increase in weight, meaning it struggles in soft sand, especially with the laggy diesel engine.

That’s not to say it can’t be done, but you’ll need to switch the stability control off, lower the tyre pressures right down and carry plenty of speed onto the beach until you find a nice firm patch to stop on. There are definitely better machines out there if off-roading is your thing.