The Nissan X-Trail is a compact crossover SUV produced since 2000.
Nissan X-Trail Introduction and Design
The first sign of the Nissan X-Trail was at the 2000 Paris Motor Show. Nissan unveiled the new small SUV based on the Nissan MS/FF-S platform shared with the Nissan Almera. The initial design was fairly body and square, with a 103-inch (2,620 mm) wheelbase and short front and rear overhangs. The headlights are large tear-drop shaped elements flanking a thin grille with the Nissan badge in the center. The engines available in the first generation X-Trail included a naturally-aspirated or turbocharged 2.0L inline-4 or a naturally-aspirated 2.5L inline-4 gasoline choices, as well as a 2.2L inline-4 diesel option. They were paired to a four-speed automatic, five-speed manual, or six-speed manual transmission. The X-Trail was intended to provide off-road capability and had the ability to shift between two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive, and a four-wheel drive lock option for the ultimate traction and control on slippery or rough surfaces. Available options included 16-inch wheels, leather seats, and a DVD player.
Second Generation Nissan X-Trail
In 2007, Nissan released the second generation X-Trail built on the Renault-Nissan C platform. Nissan gave it a slightly more modern look, but keeping many of the square-shaped body aspects. The C-pillar was made significantly larger, while most of the front end styling continued forward from the previous generation. The turbocharged 2.0L engine was dropped from the lineup due to increased emissions controls in Japan, leaving behind a 2.0L and 2.5L inline-4 gasoline engine and a 2.0L inline-4 diesel option. The transmission options now included a six-speed manual or automatic, plus a continuously variable transmission (CVT). A facelift came to the second generation X-Trail in 2010, giving the exterior a slight redesign to keep up with modern looks. During this time, a special edition run of X-Trail Platinum variants were produced, limited to just 200 vehicles, exclusively sold in the UK with more advanced and luxurious features than the rest of the lineup.
Third Generation Updates
Nissan released the third generation X-Trail in 2013 constructed on the all-new Renault-Nissan CMF-CD platform. This marked the first time that the X-Trail was offered in the United States, where it was sold under the Rogue moniker. The Rogue had been available in the US before this change, but it was not a rebadged X-Trail. The X-Trail was now available in 190 countries worldwide. The exterior shape of this generation Nissan X-Trail was much more rounded, matching many other compact crossover SUV styles. While it was larger than the previous generation in some measurements, it was able to reduce the total weight through careful reductions in excessive body panels and plastics. The available engines depend on the specific assembly plant and market sold in, but included everything from a small 1.3L turbocharged inline-4 up to a 2.5L naturally-aspirated inline-4. A turbocharged 1.6L was also available, plus a 2.0L inline-4 hybrid with a 40 horsepower electric motor and regenerative braking, as well as three diesel engines ranging from 1.6L to 2.0L. Transmissions included a six-speed manual, CVT, and seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT).
Fourth Generation Changes
The fourth generation Nissan X-Trail was released in 2021. The front end is now dramatically larger, almost mimicking some of the pickup trucks with the oversized front ends. But the overall design is sleek and aggressive, a complete departure from the first and second generation look. Engine choices have now been trimmed down to a 1.5L inline-3, a 2.5L inline-4, and a 1.5L inline-3 e-Power hybrid providing an electric boost. A diesel engine is no longer available on the Nissan X-Trail.
Looking Back on the Nissan X-Trail
The Nissan X-Trail has come a long way from its introduction. What started off as a four-wheel drive machine focused on off-road capability has now transitioned into a more mainstream compact crossover SUV that is found to be growing in popularity across the globe. The transition seems to be paying off for Nissan as global sales are quite impressive for many years running, especially since the third generation update to the more rounded shape. The growing demand for smaller crossover SUVs has developed into a massive segment in the automotive industry, and one that Nissan has taken full advantage of with the popular X-Trail. In China alone, the Nissan X-Trail sold more than 150,000 units for over five years running, with two years breaking 200,000 units. It also sells well in the Japanese domestic market, hovering around 30,000 to 50,000 units annually, plus another approximately 15,000 units in both Europe and Mexico. In the US and Canada, where it is sold under the Rogue model name, it sells another 300,000 to 450,000 units per year.