For 22 years now, the Nissan X-Trail has been in production.
The Japanese sport utility vehicle rivals the Toyota RAV4, Subaru Forester, Mitsubishi Outlander, Mazda CX-5, Volkswagen Tiguan, Honda CR-V, Suzuki Escudo, Peugeot 3008, among others.
The 2015 version of the Nissan X-Trail is the common model in Kenyan bazaars currently.
The vehicle would cost you between Sh2 million and Sh2.5 million for a 2015 model.
Most editions of the 2015 model come with a 2,000 cc four-cylinder petrol engine that produces 141 horsepower. This version comes mostly in 2WD.
The 2,500cc petrol engine version of the car produces 170 horsepower, and comes with four-wheel drive (4WD).
The common 2-litre X-Trail accelerates from 0 to 100 kilometres per hour in 11.5 seconds. Its maximum speed is 180 kilometres per hour. Its more powerful version, the 2.5 litre four-cylinder petrol engine, would do the 0 to 100kph acceleration in 10.3 seconds.
With a ground clearance of 7.88 inches, the X-Trail offers a great height for off-road drives, and the ability to transport the maximum seven passengers that Nissan says the vehicle can carry.
The car has a kerb weight of 1,618kgs, and can carry a load weighing up to 512kgs.
There are Nissan X-Trail versions that are diesel-powered, though its 2.2-litre engine displacement remains relatively of the same size with its petrol equivalents. It, however, has a lower horsepower – 114hp.
The X-Trail, on good-driving habits and little load, it could give you up to 10.4 kms per litre. However, this could go lower on aggressive driving style and heavier load.
The X-Trail has a 60-litre full tank capacity, meaning that at the current Sh134.7 per litre of petrol in Nairobi, it would set you back Sh8,100 to fill the tank. This would last you some 600 kilometres drive.
Keitan Mbuya, a 34-year-old Kenyan who works with a leading telecommunications company, drives a 2.2-litre diesel version of the X-Trail.
He has positive reviews of the Yohohama machine.
“For four years, I drove a Toyota car. However, in mid-2020, a friend of mine convinced me to try the Nissan X-Trail. Before that, I’d never imagined myself driving a Nissan car," he said.
Mbuya, however, says the vehicle has regular stalling problems, and wouldn’t start on certain mornings.
Two mechanics, who spoke to The Standard, said the stalling issues are some of the common problems they usually attend to on the X-Trail brand.
“The turbo system issues bring about the stalling problems. The car is also known for regular fuel leak issues. These two problems lead to power loss,” said Charles Okoth, who operates a garage at Baricho Road, Nairobi.
Evans Odhiambo, another mechanic who operates in Kilimani, Nairobi, said camshaft challenges are also common with the X-Trail brand.
Odhiambo recommends regular monitoring of the chain tensioner to avert camshaft problems.
The chain tensioner acts on the timing belt or timing chain of the engine, guiding and tensioning it, so that it is always in the optimal tension state. A broken timing chain tensioner indicates a broken chain, and even minor misalignment might cause engine difficulties.
“Replacing the chain tensioner of the X-Trail isn’t expensive, especially if compared to similar services on other car brands. When changing the Nissan X-Trail’s chain tensioner, most times we’re also forced to replace the camshaft sensors so that we solve the problem comprehensively,” said Odhiambo.
Rukia Subow, a daughter of a North Eastern Kenyan MP, also owns the X-Trail.
“I previously owned a BMX X1. I’d say the X-Trail is cheaper to maintain, and its spare parts are readily available in most parts of the country. I, however, find the X-Trail’s dashboard to be too basic, especially coming from driving a BMW,” she said.
Nissan admits to having issues with its CVT transmission. Most owners have reported shuddering problems that sometimes end in complete stalling.
Also, its turbochargers in the diesel-propelled engines record regular failure. This, in turn, leads to excessive emission of smoke from the exhaust pipe, a clear indicator of loss of power.
Mechanic Evans Odhiambo advises owners to replace the turbocharger once it starts exhibiting these problems.
The other common problems registered on the X-Trail include suspension problems brought about by regular wear and tear of the anti-roll bar links, oil leaking out of the turbo, problems of moving into first gear from a cold start, overheating and lost compression due to gasket issues, noisy steering and free play.
The Nissan X-Trail’s modern design is one of its key selling points. The 2015 version has a mix of sleek and elegant lines of a crossover SUV, with the durable appeal of a common SUV. The new X-Trail has a dynamic and premium appearance.
The 2015 Nissan X-Trail is equipped with Around View Monitor that allows the driver a virtual 360-degree view. This system uses four super-wide angle cameras that are installed on the front, rear and sides of the car.
For off-road desire, the X-Trail would offer you good service on mild, relatively rough terrains. However, when you need it to drive over deep trenches, deep powdery sand, the terrain would catch the X-Trail out.
For out-of-town drives, you’d be more impressed by the 2WD version of the car, as it handles more smoothly and quietly.
Despite its highlighted problem areas, the 2015 Nissan X-Trail is a solid performer all around.