Lashing down with snow in the Cotswolds… just the right weather for a Nissan X-Trail

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Lashing down with wet snow here in the Cotswolds today – just the right weather for an SUV. Inside the X-Trail you just turn a transmission dial and the 4×4 cuts in to do everything for you. I know that because I’m given a visual update too.

That said, the X-Trail has the world’s tiniest media display screen on the dashboard! However, that might be tainted by the fact that last week’s Tesla has 19-inches of visual loveliness.

But the Nissan also features a information system in the instrument binnacle too, which gives you readings on just about everything. One is an info system for the 4×4, it shows how much power is being divided between front (normal setting) and rear wheels.

What’s amazing is how little power runs to the back wheels in slippery snow. It rarely seems to be above 20 per cent. Which then makes me wonder if we actually need 4×4 SUVs in the first place…

The characterless Nissan X-Trail is an SUV that says absolutely nothing at all about the person driving it…

 

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Whatever you think of SUVs the market for small, multi-purpose vehicles is on the increase. Lumbering giants that swallowed diesel at an alarming rate are history and they’re not coming back. Unless you’re a premiership footballer, of course.

Many of the X-Trails sold in this country won’t be 4x4s at all – buyers will opt for the two-wheel drive version that starts at about £23,000. And that means owners can expect more than 45mpg, with a modest 0-60mph of 11 seconds.

The Nissan isn’t class-leading at anything, especially compared to the Hyundai Santa Fe and new Honda CR-V, but it will tick the boxes for many people who want a ‘do everything’ vehicle.

It’s not that refined and there is little to excite keen drivers, However, what’s missing most for me is a little character. This is a car that says absolutely nothing at all about you, or it…

This new Nissan X-Trail is grey – but sadly not in a fifty shades-type way

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I know that somewhere on this dashboard is a button to turn that bleeping lane departure warning system off. I know it’s bloody there but I can’t find it. I refuse to reach for the manual because my policy is EVERYTHING in a car should be intuitive.

The constant pinging on a motorway when I change lanes is already detracting from what I should be writing about. The new-look, radically overhauled X-Trail. (and before you send an email about the benefits of lane departure warning, I was taught that you only indicate when another driver around you benefits. Otherwise, why bother?).

Well, I can tell you the latest X-Trail is sleek, rather than square. It’s going to appeal to a much broader range of people than the outgoing model – and buyers of the Hyundai Santa Fe and Honda CR-V will now have another equally worthy option to ponder over.

The problem is, the new X-Trail now looks characterless too. At least the old, brick-shaped model was easy to spot. It had something about it – you could spot it in a car park of sleeker SUVs every time.

This beefed up Qashqai is nothing but grey. Not in a fifty shades-type way either. It just means that for the next seven days I’m going to blend in with everybody else, perfectly…