Review: Nissan X-Trail (2001 – 2007)


Excellent, honest vehicle, decent to drive on road and best in class off road. Better than original Freelander.

Marred by diesel engine failures, especially turbo failures on 136.

Nissan X-Trail (2001 – 2007): At A Glance

Now and again a car surprises me. I should have had an inkling from the delivery driver who said he'd really enjoyed his job that morning. All I'd been anticipating up until then was a biggish mid-size SUV with a smallish 2.2-litre diesel engine, so I wasn't expecting it to set my pants on fire.

But the X-Trail is one of those vehicles that impresses with its basic honesty and grows on you.

For a start, it doesn't pretend to be anything it isn't. Big plastic lights. Bluff front. Rubber mats. Plastic wings. Chunky 215/65 x 16 tyres. It's a solid, sensible, practical vehicle, not an in-your-face status symbol.

Nissan X-Trail 2.2DI 115PS 2002 Road Test

Nissan X-Trail 2.2 dCi 136PS 2004 Road Test


What does a Nissan X-Trail (2001 – 2007) cost?

List Price from £26,170
Buy new from £19,621
Contract hire from £254.80 per month

Nissan X-Trail (2001 – 2007): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4455 mm
Width 1765 mm
Height 1675–1750 mm
Wheelbase 2625 mm

Full specifications

Climb aboard and you immediately appreciate the large, comfortable, height-adjustable seats with their practical-looking dimpled nylon trim. The steering wheel is adjustable, too, and all the main controls are chunky, logical and easy to use. Putting the dials in the middle leaves space for a handy cubby in front of the driver. The front cup-holders open out over phone-size hollows in the dash.

The electric sunroof is gigantic, giving the back seat passengers a tan as well as those in the front. There are even can-cooling compartments either side of the radio. The only fly in the ointment is the radio itself: a gaudy Clarion affair that combines radio, cassette player and single CD player and looks like something off a market stall. Thankfully, this has now been replaced by a single DIN stereo radio cassette and a 6-disc CD autochanger.

Child seats that fit a Nissan X-Trail (2001 – 2007)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Nissan X-Trail (2001 – 2007) like to drive?

Start the engine and a bloke under the bonnet gets going with his pneumatic drill, so you're under no illusions about what sort of fuel it uses. But snick it into gear and the pleasure starts. The six-speed box feels both beefy and precise, a bit like an older Ferrari, and the ratios are exactly right to make the most of 112bhp and 199lb ft torque pulling a fairly hefty 1,541 kg vehicle.

It never feels sluggish and, though the speedo was probably a tad optimistic, it shifts a bit too. 3,000 rpm corresponds to 85 on the speedo, with another 20mph where that came from. Biggest surprise of all: it handles well. Far better than a Freelander. Heavier than a CRV, but none the worse for it. It takes fast corners flat and doesn't turn into a barge if you fling it round the tighter ones. And, unlike the Sport-spec BMW X5, those fat 215/65 tyres absorb potholes rather than crash through them.

Okay, you have to get used to the turbo coming in, and to judging the width at the nearside. Remember, though, this is a big, chunky 4x4, not a sportscar, not even a family hatchback.

For £18,995, the Sport diesel spec comes with six-speed gearbox, push-button four-wheel drive. Push-button lockable centre clutch, aircon, huge electric sunroof, reclining rear seats, five three-point belts, a combined CD and cassette player and radio, two drinks coolers, alloy wheels and 215/65 x 16 tyres. There's bags of space for five people to cover continents in comfort, and enough room in the back for their luggage, even with the rear seats reclined. Another big advantage is a totally flat floor with the rear seats folded, ideal for dogs or for carrying cargo or tools.

The diesel isn't available with Nissan's unusual torque converter CVT automatic transmission. The petrol model doesn't get the diesel's excellent six-speed box. So it really boils down to whether you spend an extra £1,000 on the diesel or the petrol automatic. Since I got at least 35 mpg over a week's varied use of the diesel, it would have to be that one. I'd go for the better-value Sport spec rather than the S or the SE. And I actually preferred it to the all-singing, all-dancing BMW X5 Sport diesel, which costs more than twice as much.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
2.0 16V 2WD 31 mpg 11.0 s 217 g/km
2.2 dCi 37 mpg 11.5 s 203 g/km
2.2 dCi 2WD 38 mpg 11.2 s 201 g/km
2.5 16V 30 mpg 9.9 s 226 g/km

Real MPG average for a Nissan X-Trail (2001 – 2007)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

20–45 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Nissan X-Trail (2001 – 2007)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Can I store my car for months on end because of Coronavirus with a full tank of fuel?

If I store my 2006 Nissan X-Trail 2.5-litre petrol with nearly a full tank of super unleaded, will the petrol have deteriorated too much when I start using it again?
Fuel can be stored in a vehicle for around six months before deterioration starts to become an issue. If you plan to keep your car parked up for longer than six months then you might want to consider adding a fuel stabiliser to the tank. Coronavirus: Advice on buying, running and owning a car during the outbreak
Answered by Dan Powell
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What do owners think?

Our view gives your our opinion, based on driving hundreds of cars every year, but you can't beat the views of someone who lives with a car day-in, day out.

  • 5 star 83%
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  • 2 star
  • 1 star 17%

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