Nissan X-Trail has a generous list of standard equipment.

Nissan X-Trail has a generous list of standard equipment.

Launched years ago, or in 2014 to be precise, Nissan's third-generation X-Trail (badged Rogue overseas) is one of the world's most popular SUVs. Continuing QUBE/just-auto's review of interior design and technology trends, we take a closer look inside the X-Trail to see what makes this family crossover such a fashionable choice.

Nissan Motor's crossover and SUV sales worldwide rose about 12 percent year on year in 2017 to around 2m vehicles, driven by the Kicks small crossover launched in 2016, the Rogue/X-Trail and Qashqai compact models, a refreshed North American market Armada full-size SUV and the Infiniti QX30. Last month, Nissan sold 10,811 C-segment X-Trails in Europe alone.

Built on the jointly-developed Renault-Nissan Alliance Common Module Family (CMF) platform, the X-Trail has some fresh ideas and technologies inspired by the brand's crossover models.

Longer, wider, lighter

Let's start with some nitty-gritty data. In terms of size, the X-Trail is 17mm longer (4,643mm) than the previous generation model, and has a 76mm longer wheelbase. It is also 30mm wider and 5mm lower than the previous car and the ground clearance is maintained at 210mm. This makes X-Trail one of the biggest it its class. Rivals include the Kia Sorento, Ford Kuga and Hyundai Santa Fe.

The current X-Trail is also 90kg lighter than the previous-generation model. The carmaker says ultra-high strength steel now accounts for 49 percent of the X-Trail's body construction.

The advanced use of composites has also helped drive down the X-Trail's kerb weight. The tailgate, for example, is constructed from plastic rather than steel, while the front and rear bumper assemblies have been optimised for material thickness.

Creature comforts

Designed to include an optional seven-seat format, the cabin features a raked theatre seating layout ensuring everyone gets a good view out. Seven-seat versions make up 50 percent of the sales mix in the UK. Heated seats for both front and rear occupants (not third row) feature on the Tekna trim.

Dotted around the plush cabin are touches of chrome, piano black and leather with contrast stitching. Nissan says it examined every surface where the occupants come into contact with the car. As a result, the door armrest pads and centre console pad are claimed to be eight times thicker than sector rivals offer.

Nissan also makes much of the steering wheel. The central hub of the D-shaped steering wheel is smaller than its predecessor and the three spokes are slimmer, creating an upper space that's larger by one percent to improve instrument visibility. The four-way controllers for the combimeter display (left spoke) and cruise control (right spoke) are reasonably intuitive to use. Some satin silver detailing on the central spoke echoes the shape of the car's 'V-motion' front grille, too.

The centre console houses a seven-inch touchscreen interface featuring the carmaker's NissanConnect system. As the name suggests, it incorporates a variety of smartphone connectivity features. In the audio department, X-Trail boasts eight Bose speakers located around the cabin creating a concert-like listening experience.

Space-wise, knee and headroom in the back is quite good for six-footers, helped by the sliding / reclining functionality of the second-row seats. The sense of cabin space is accentuated by the panoramic roof.

Boot space is also generous and yet still manages to squeeze in a full-size spare wheel. The boot on the new X-Trail is larger than before. Thanks to improved packaging, VDA capacity is up from 550 litres to 565 litres on the five-seat version with all seats in place. Capacity on seven-seat interiors (445 litres) remains unchanged. Total space with all seats folded flat increases to 1,996 litres. Every X-Trail boot comes with the carmaker's flexible luggage board system, which allows for shelves and dividers to be adjusted in any one of nine configurations (we did a few). These include a hidden compartment to keep valuables out of sight.

Another neat feature – and becoming popular on other models – is the power liftgate. Standing behind the vehicle with your arms full, you can open the boot by waving your foot under the bumper. It was a little hit and miss at first but still a helpful feature.

Advanced driver assistance systems

The X-Trail will incorporate the carmaker's so-called ProPILOT, the first stage on the brand's journey to autonomous driving. Nissan says this can control the steering, acceleration and braking in a single lane on highways during heavy traffic congestion and high-speed cruising. It is based on three technologies – Lane Keep Assist (LKA), Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC) and Traffic Jam Pilot (TJP).

There is plenty of other safety features, too, or 'Intelligent Mobility' technologies as Nissan calls them. They include Rear Cross Traffic Alert, to mitigate the risk of low-speed impacts when reversing out of a parking space.

While Intelligent Emergency Braking has been on the X-Trail since 2014, this has been upgraded with Pedestrian Recognition. This technology helps to minimise collisions with pedestrians using a combination of forward-facing radar and camera.

New to the X-Trail is a technology called Stand Still Assist (SSA), which supplements Hill Start Assist (HSA) on cars with a manual transmission. SSA holds the car in a stationary position for up to three minutes, after which time the parking brake is automatically activated. SSA works on inclines, declines and on the flat, allowing the driver to take their foot off the brake.

A string of other safety technologies includes Traffic Sign Recognition, Intelligent Driver Alertness, Intelligent Park Assist and Lane Departure Warning. All this lot has helped give the X-Trail a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating.

The X-Trail Tekna also incorporates Nissan's so-called Around View Monitor with Intelligent Park Assist, making parking feel a breeze. It uses cameras located on the front and rear bumper and wing mirrors to create a bird's eye view of the car.

Last summer, Hitachi Automotive Systems revealed that its ADAS ECU was selected for use in Nissan Motor's partially redesigned X-Trail. ADAS ECUs are core products of ADAS, and feature various integrated ADAS features such as adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking, and lane departure warning systems, all within a single controller. The supplier has established a mass production track record for ADAS ECUs since its first installation in the 2009 Nissan Fuga.

On the road

X-Trail is offered in four trims, namely the Visia, Acenta, n-tec and Tekna. The top-drawer Tekna that we took out for a spin this week, painted Monarch Orange, was powered by a frugal 1.6-litre 130PS diesel mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox. The imposing X-Trail was not short of puff despite being fully loaded with passengers and clutter. On balance, the X-Trail comes with a generous list of standard equipment, clever safety technology and an intuitive infotainment system. Taking styling cues from the Qashqai, it is comfortable to drive partly thanks to its suspension set up and functional cabin.