Text and photos by Eric Tipan
Nissan Philippines, Inc. got busy last month with the Terra but much of what it flaunted we already saw from its smaller sibling, the X-trail as part of two major updates it received last year.
Launched locally in 2014, the third-generation X-Trail is in a very cutthroat segment with so many manufacturers coming in hard with more than just good looks and efficiency.
With a facelifted exterior and interior, and a brand-spanking new innovative safety suite package, I take the 2018 Nissan X-Trail 2.5L 4×4 on a weekend to see what’s up.
After launching the vehicle epitomizing the V-motion design philosophy in January 2017, the Nissan GT-R, Nissan wasted no time in getting the X-Trail immediately up to date.
While the 2015 model already sports V-motion, albeit in a more archaic form, its current iteration is the full realization of it. The V comes more pronounced with thicker elements, a taller and wider grille, the boomerang lamp signature clearly seen on more prominent LED daytime running lamps and the restyled contemporary bumper.
The rear also gets retouched with LED taillights and chrome detailing on the lower part of the bumper.
Black on black is always a good place to start for cabin color. Leather on the seats is pretty taut making the seats appear firm and luxurious. Because of the excellent color layout, it was hard to tell the improvements made inside. After looking more closely, I noticed that the steering was has been reshaped, given a sportier, horizontal bottom and new buttons for audio and hands-free calls.
The infotainment system may seem rudimentary with very few buttons, only the basic ones — FM/AM, CD, Media, Display, down and up tracking buttons, iPod/Menu and the Back button. But that’s actually what makes it easy to figure out and use. You’ll have to be really tech-challenged to even be flustered by elementary operation of this system. And besides, the most complicated thing you’ll have to do with it is pair your mobile device to My Car, how hard can that be?!
The real gem of the latest X-Trail lies in the various scenes you see on the infotainment monitor when you press the Display (Disp button). If you’re on any gear except reverse, press the button once and this is what you’ll see — the front camera video feed showing what’s ahead and takes up about 2/3 of the screen. The remainder shows a top-view of the vehicle and its proximity to objects/vehicles around it. Very neat.
Press the button again and the secondary view gives you a live camera shot showing the other vehicle on the far side of the driver (right side).
Reversing is made easier now as the backup camera shows what’s directly behind the vehicle on the main view so that you can really snuggle up to that parking slot. The smaller view still shows that top, 360-degree view so that your distance between the two vehicles on the left and right are even-steven.
This is made possible by four cameras taking a 360-degree look around the vehicle to make sure you aren’t getting too close for comfort to anything on the road. The system automatically shuts down the video once you exceed 10 kilometers per hour.
Aside from forward and reverse movements, these cameras also monitor vehicles along the blind spot of the driver. Whether or not you’re turning, a light indicator found on the inside corner of the window frame lights up when there’s a vehicle coming up alongside you or even a vehicle you just passed if you’re overtaking. This ensures that whether or not you plan to merge left or right, you’re making informed decisions.
Number 1, the X-Trail looks good, especially with the V-motion design. It looks a lot sharper and more stylish now.
Performance is the number 2 great quality. The 2.5L engine is snappy as long as you don’t engage the Eco button. It’s a very exciting drive even in the city as power kicks in at the first hint of throttle pressure. Steering feels rather light for a seven-seater but you’ll appreciate that if you’re a city dweller.
Automatic Emergency Braking is a new safety feature I would have had to be crazy to check as the scenario would have to be a near-accident to trigger the system, but it’s something every driver would be glad to know is in the back pocket should a collision be unavoidable.
With these new features, plus the updates inside and out, this vehicle’s IQ is legit. You can quote me on this but don’t forget to thank Nissan for making the 2018 X-Trail 2.5L 4×4 an absolutely intelligent SUV.