Hi Doc. We have not corresponded for a month or two, and I am sure you would be wondering if I did the right thing going from my automatic Outlander with that big 2.2-litre engine to the Nissan X-Trail with the small 1.6-litre diesel one. What prompted me to write was your Used Car Buyer’s Guide column in the latest Diesel Car, where you comment on the 1.6-litre diesel used in the Megane that was used also in the Qashqai, but did not mention that it’s used in the X-Trail as well. What was good to note is that it’s apparently a good engine, and alright for many more miles than I will be doing – hence its use in Renault vans as well.
I have been very impressed with the performance of the X-Trail, and it goes as well as my old Volvo V50 that had a 2.0-litre engine, pushing less weight. Comfort levels are as good as the Outlander, as is space. It is also very much better put together and more solid, with no tinny panels that flex inwards when you lean against them. The interior is also a lot nicer, and I am not bothered by the velour trim in place of leather, which is not as cold to sit in, waiting for the seats to warm up. I had only one issue and that was the lighting, which are halogens on the n-tec, and you have to go up to Tekna trim to get xenons. My Local Nissan dealer confirmed it was not possible to upgrade these lights to the Tekna ones, as they have different units. I found this strange, as I regard better lighting to be a safety issue. Anyway, I was put in touch with a local specialist who was able to upgrade my low beam lights to xenons for £155 including fitting. The difference is amazing and, as I go out at night three times a week, I really notice the difference. I have gone for pure white, but you can get them with a blue tint.
Since I have had the X-Trail, my weekly fuel economy figures are 37mpg lowest and just over 41mpg, when I have done some half hour motorway runs. As I have found in the past, the mpg does improve in the summer weather and I have yet to discover by how much. If I do less motorway miles, I can get around 42mpg, so I cannot really complain. I will say the computer figures on the X-Trail are well over the top, and seemingly never go below 44mpg and my highest 53.6mpg.
That’s really good of you to keep in touch Tony, and it’s all very useful information for our readers. It’s particularly interesting to conclude that a good 1.6-litre engine can apparently be as good in many ways as an older design of 2.2-litres. But not necessarily more economical, as one might think. I do have to say, though, that I still find your fuel economy figures disappointing, and I just cannot fathom why this should be so. But winter does take a toll on fuel economy, and I’ll be interested to hear what you get when the summer months come. You might like to scan The Extra Mile in a few old editions and see if you can put your finger on whether there are any tricks to be learned there. I was recently a passenger in a 2.0-litre automatic diesel whose owners have not ever been happy with the 42 to 44mpg economy that they typically get. I think I now understand why. Frankly, I’m surprised they do as well as they in fact do, economy-wise. But we’re all different behind the wheel, and there are maybe intangible ingrained habits that will never change in some people. We just have to accept that not everyone is made for economical driving! Regards,