First drive: 2015 Nissan X-Trail in Oman

First drive: 2015 Nissan X-Trail in Oman

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Salalah really is an eye-opener. Having spent an entire day there driving around in the all-new 2015 Nissan X-Trail, apparently we were witnessing the tail-end of rainy “khareef” season, which is when the desert sprouts enough greenery to rival European forests.

The old X-Trail wasn’t the best looker, even when it was new, all the way back in 2001. Its boxy styling fooled a lot of people into thinking it’s a true-blue offroader, but it was just another crossover. This new one is not trying to be anything it’s not, while improving on what it’s good at. It even looks like a contemporary crossover now.

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Inside, there’s a modern dash layout with better materials. Gone are the central gauge-cluster and weirdly-placed storage cubbies moulded into the hard-plastic dash. The new one gets soft-touch surfaces on top of the dash and front door sills, while all armrests are generously padded and leatherette-upholstered, even in the versions with the cloth-trimmed seats, as was our test car.

Space is pretty good all-round except for the optional third-row seat, which is practically useless even for kids, unless the second row’s generous legroom is sacrificed by moving it forward. The boot is big with the third row out of the way.

2015 Nissan X-Trail in Oman 1

It is, essentially, an easy car to drive. Clear forward sight-lines, a rear camera, light steering and the mildly-elevated ride height make for easy around-town puttering. Of course, we didn’t spend much time in civilisation, heading for the hills soon after leaving the Rotana resort where Nissan put us up. There was talk of lane-departure warning and other fancy tech, but word is most local dealers won’t bring in that package.

As we stared at the greenery while driving along, we noted that the ride is fairly smooth and outside noises are kept at bay reasonably well. Comfort levels are on par with the best ones in this class, we’d say. The lifeless steering also firms up as speeds increase, and handling is safely neutral, car-like even, if not exciting. Something called “active trace control” is standard, which apparently reduces understeer in corners by individually braking the wheels, but it works invisibly.

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Less impressive was the engine. The 170 hp 2.5-litre motor has barely been tweaked over the old one, at least in terms of specs, and didn’t move the car with any sort of urgency with three admittedly-portly passengers in the car, and having to rev somewhat high keep going up hilly inclines as the rubber-bandy CVT made the engine sound strained.

Ironically, the much-maligned CVT automatic probably improved its performance compared to a standard auto gearbox, keeping the engine at the right revs without the hassle of hunting gears. It’s a strength that played wonderfully well on a few steep mountain roads that we climbed to reach some breathtaking views.

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We also went up a few minor gravel inclines, where the car did well, and the difference between two-wheel-drive mode and the “auto” all-wheel-drive mode was clearly felt, as the loose-surface climb was handled with ease. Again, the CVT played well here, even if it still feels unnatural.

The new Nissan X-Trail is a very nice car, fitting perfectly where it’s supposed to. Without any outstanding features, it has its work cut out in an enormously competitive segment, where the Koreans are making waves with just-as-good build quality for attractive prices. The X-Trail itself is fairly competitive, falling somewhere between the Hyundai-Kia and the Toyota-Honda tag teams in terms of value for money, that too for a true-blue Japanese-built car.

For UAE prices and GCC specs, visit the Nissan buyer guide.

What do you think?



  1. Looks like when seating is a priority, the second row legroom can be sacrificed to temporary seat more people!

    Is the boot bigger than the previous generation?

  2. I dont get the 3rd row of seats in a crossover!!! Useless. I like the car and I like the Infiniti look/feel of the interior. Good competitor for the CR-V and Santa Fe.

  3. I bought the 2015 2WD base model 7 seater in Qatar for QAR 81k + insurance/rego. The base model is very well specced and excellent value compared to its Japanese rivals. For an extra 10k, it could be had with 4wd, rear camera + 5 inch display, roof rails and sunroof (i think). I wanted the option of 7 seats (albeit for very small kids) so was happy with the 2WD option. It also has rear A/C vents for second row seats which was great. A lot of people would have agreed with me, as all base model X-trails were sold/reserved on the first day. Picking mine up tmw.

    • mashallah mubrook, i am planning for the same own a maxima looking for a 7 pax with very small kid 🙂 as well, would be nice to have it for 3-4 years till have more babies and bigger car lolz…at 81K 7 pax that is gr8! will try to test drive it in dubai. But please come back and update us on every day use in few weeks time and what you didnt like about the car 🙂 else alf mubrook

    • I had mine last oct 10 the 7 seater 2wd from exterior to interior its so beautiful, the ac is so good im not yet able to test the engine since i need to breakin for another 700km hehe,anyway i had the metallic blue =)

  4. this looks like a hit.

  5. Friends please suggest me which one is buy “Nissan X-Trail 2014 or Toyota RAV-4 2014 ” ?

  6. Very basic dash and cabin there isn’t any thing wow about it, was very disappointed and had to change the the plans

  7. 3rd row is great if you don’t have legs

  8. My Test drive was perfect in Dubai..booked 107500/- 4wd 7 seater.. have to wait for 2 more months they are out of stocks 🙁

  9. The SL trim (top of the range) offered in Abu Dhabi has more features than the SL trim offered in Dubai. Also the price in Abu Dhabi is more by about AED 5,000/-.

  10. So turns out the price at the Dubai showroom is inclusive of the ‘free’ insurance. The 2 month waiting period still holds.

  11. how is the car as per your opinion?.

  12. After 3,500kms on the clock, here are my thoughts on my 2WD base 7 seater.

    Rear Visibility is not the best, I’m constantly checking blind spots due to D-pillar design

    Noisy under acceleration, doesn’t feel refined. This is my first CVT vehicle, so this may be normal.

    3rd Row seats are pointless, stick with 5 seat option and save yourself some cash

    Steering feels very light, almost artificial, but I can understand why this is so, improved maneuverability in shopping malls and school runs as intended for target market.

    4WD not required. You will never take it off road due to marginally better ground clearance and almost car-like approach & depart angles. Save the cash and get 2WD.


    Base model is suitably specced, no need for spending more for fog lights, roof rails and a rear camera. I got reverse sensors installed by the dealer and that is sufficient.

    Although subjective, I think it looks great on the outside. Pathfinder without the bulkiness. On the inside, interior is fine, not Euro quality but everything is laid out simply and easy to operate.

    2nd row is spacious with seats all the way back. Rear doors open to almost 90deg makes for very easy access to get the kids out of their car seats.

    I was quoted almost QAR 10k more for a 2WD Rav 4, and the cost of this was comparable to a base model Camry. Pretty easy decision…this is far more practical and better value compared to what Toyota was offering.

    • Thank You MirMan..

      Your update has been the most helpful on my purchase decision.

      I am, In-Sha-Allah intending a Jan15 purchase and wish to have the 4×4 option as I do go off road.

      I did like the Jeep Wrangler as well but I love the Hug-You feel the X-trail gives when I test drove it 2 weeks back.

      I drive the 2006 X-trail for 5 years now.. so just looking if I have any other options before I decide on the X-trail.. 2015

    • Hi Mohsin,

      If you are planning to venture off-road, bear in mind this new model X-Trail only comes with a space saver spare tire. Some (including myself) would see this as an additional risk.

      Either way, Good luck on your upcoming purchase. Searching for a new vehicle is almost half the fun of acquiring one.

  13. Hi Mirman,

    can u let us know on the fuel consumption.

    • I have been averaging 13-14L/100km with A/C in normal city driving with a handful of busy stop/start intersections. Best I’ve seen is about 10L/100km in combined city/highway run. I do like to step on the pedal so my driving style definitely doesn’t help. Traffic in Doha can be woeful, but on the flip side fuel is cheap!

  14. Dear Mirman,

    Please adivise from were si you purchase your card, as i am waiting since last 3 weeks & the showrom is satying its still out of stock. They offier me white colour which i declined.

    • Hi Mohamed,

      I purchased my X-Trail from the main Nissan Showroom near Ramada Junction back in September. Mine was from the first batch and I went in on launch day. Colour choice is personal, I opted for the pearl white but I am yet to see a colour in which it looks bad in. All the best in getting your vehicle in your preferred colour and trim.

  15. Hi…Mir

    How is X-TRAIL Drive.

    Any issues? I have booked one and due in January only.

    Please share your experience.



    • Hi Bas,
      In addition to what I’ve already mentioned above, there are no real issues with the actual drive of the X-trail. At slow speeds, normal acceleration, the auto box and engine are fine. On hard acceleration, although it feels quick and no complaints about the pick up/overtaking etc, there is a rough noise associated with the CVT and engine that doesn’t sound very refined. You get used to it, and I’m led to believe that most CVT transmissions have this and is considered normal. This was my first CVT equipped vehicle, so for me it was the one thing that stood out more than others. Enjoy your new X-Trail.

  16. Hi Mirman,
    I am planning to buy the basic xtrail 2015 model which comes without the parking sensors or the fog lights. Can you please confirm whether both can be installed via 3rd party vendor or dealer. If so, are the wirings already in place or you had to get them done as well. How much did the parking sensor cost?

  17. Hi Muhammad,

    Both Fog Lights and Rear Parking sensors can be installed by 3rd Party or Dealer. Personally, I would forget the fog lights as they would be expensive (original part recommended for exact fit and finish in place of standard fog light cover and new in-cabin operating switch). Rear Parking sensors are definitely useful and cost me QAR 500 installed at the dealer in 1hr. This is slightly more than what a 3rd party would charge but I will have no issues with warranty should there be any fault. Not sure about the wiring already being in place, but generally this is pretty basic. For reverse sensors they would just cut into the supply already going into the reverse lights. Good decision on the base model.

  18. MirMan..

    is there a chance you can get the base unit with additional options like the panoramic sun roof? whats the price difference with the base and mid line options? TIA…

    • Hi Gregg,

      Sorry mate, no idea regarding availability of sun roof on base model. Generally, for these type of options, its probably better value to get the next level spec as you’ll get your desired option + additional items thrown in from the factory.

  19. Hi Mirman,

    I planning to Purchase X-trail and i have test drive the vehicle last month,but the one which i test drove was the mid optioned.I am just curious to know certain features of the base option Xtrail 2wd model(which you have).such as

    how many speakers in xtrail 2WD & Sound output?.
    Bluetooth telephone conversation can be made or not?
    spare Wheel size ?
    in cabin Noise level?.

  20. I am thinking of buying a used RAV4 204 model (imported) because am getting it in a good price. But I am still a bit doubtful that why an imported car of 2014 cheaper than a local RAV4, even though the imported one is fully loaded one and the local one is basic. Can anyone please help me out because this is going to be my 1st car in UAE and I am so confused among cars, since I do not have a high budget as well.

  21. Hello
    I am buying a Nissan X-Trail 7 seated 4WD from my country Bangladesh Nissan dealer/Agent here. They said its made from Japan.But am assuming they may import it from Thailand or from Malaysia plant.
    Hence how can I ensure it whether its made from Japan ??
    Please advise

    • Author

      It’s not built in Thailand or Malaysia at all. It’s built in Japan and Indonesia. Check the sticker on the frame when you open the door, on a showroom display model.

  22. Hi,
    I had bought my new car last week, and there are lot of confusion in what you get in the SL version and whats written in the brochure. When I contacted Nissan, they had mentioned that the brochure is universal and the GCC spec is different. I’m having SL(which is the top end). There is no blind spot, 360 degree camera, lane departure warning, ventilated seats etc. etc. as mentioned in the brochure and no one had informed me these when I had bought the car. So please check with your dealer before you buy this version.

    • Hi Suneer,

      The SL version from Abu Dhabi does have blind spot, 360 degree camera and a lane departure warning system. But not ventilated seats. But the price for SL version is about AED 127,000/-. I bought it last October.

  23. Hi
    I tool xtrail test drive, I felt comfortable with the ride but I could hear lot of engine noise in the cabin. Agent told me that it ia because of cvt and it will be reduced because I was driving as if it is an automatic geared vehicle. Any one explain does this really noisy even though you drive after sometime? I am still indecisive about crv vs xtrail. Please advice.

    • Hi Sree! the xtrail does roar during acceleration but once it stabalizes..its so quite.. especially in the freeway. I have my xtrail 2015 for 5 months now and im never been so happy. All Cvt really sounds noisy at first but in a long while, you will get used to it and for me its not even that loud. I hope you decide soon and buy your own xtrail 🙂

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