Friday, 14 December 2018

New X-Trail adds fuel to the debate

PETROL or diesel power? This is the perennial question facing new car buyers and has been

PETROL or diesel power? This is the perennial question facing new car buyers and has been so for many years.

You are probably already a fan of either fuel type, as I’m sure most drivers have a preference. I tend to lean towards diesel power — the “green” arguments aside for a moment — but I am quite prepared to be convinced otherwise.

Usually, I find diesel engines more economical but that too is changing with new technology for petrol engines.

This week I have had the opportunity to drive the excellent 2016 Nissan X-Trail — improved so much in this new guise — equipped with its new 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol unit.

Nissan says this engine “combines sharp performance with low CO2 output and exceptional fuel economy”, adding that it is already a “popular choice in the Qashqai range”.

The new DIG-T 163 engine is the most powerful engine in the new X-Trail range, but while I really like this car — it is well turned out, comfortable, and spacious inside — I would not use the word “sharp” to describe this engine’s performance.

Anyway the X-Trail is so much more attractive now that you might think engine performance is not paramount.

For me, though, it is always important because it can be frustrating for a driver if you expect more from a car than it actually delivers.

It may be that because this is a 1.6-litre engine it does not appear to have the oomph I have got used to from slightly larger petrol engines.

For instance, when climbing a long hill going east from the Swindon interchange of the M4 (junction 15) I found the car did not exactly bound up this testing incline: presumably one should drive it harder through the gears. Once the car was going, it went well and soon galloped along on the motorway at a good, strong steady speed.

The car is offered in two-wheel-drive form only. A six-speed manual transmission is fitted as standard and the new DIG-T 163 is equipped with start/stop ignition system.

I think if your preference is for petrol then this new  X-Trail engine offers a good choice for crossover buyers.

Fact-file: Nissan X-Trail Tekna

Price (including metallic paint, £550 and seven-seat upgrade, £900): £29,895

Advanced sector-first technologies throughout including Nissan Safety Shield suite

Sector-best levels of rear legroom

Fully connected via new NissanConnect system with suite of applications

Seven-seater with unique second row  sliding and reclining function

Features include power opening panoramic roof and Bi-LED headlamps

New 1.6 DIG-T and 1.6 dCi 130 engines deliver low emissions and fuel consumption

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