Nissan's X-TRAIL has been an overwhelming success since its local introduction at the end of 2001, and it continues to win fans in the compact sports utility market.
The presence of X-TRAIL on local roads is indisputable. Last year it captured 29 percent of the segment in which it competes, and has enjoyed a similar penetration through 2004. After a facelift in February, sales have increased by 33% to average around 250 units per month.
Conceived as a vehicle for those with a fast-moving lifestyle, the "X" in X-TRAIL symbolises an active image synonymous with extreme sports such as windsurfing, skateboarding and sand boarding, as well as the challenge of undertaking something unknown. The word "trail" refers to a track, a rough road, or off-road terrain. The model name combines these two elements and alludes to the ALL-Mode 4WD system, which makes it possible to go where few recreational 4x4s would dare to go.
Looking back on its three years in the market, the X-TRAIL has lived up to its name.
The success of the range – which now includes two- and four-wheel-drive versions, petrol and turbo diesel power plants, and manual and automatic transmissions – is based on balance. The X-TRAIL combines all-condition ability and performance with versatile space, passenger car comfort and safety. With the fast-acting ALL-Mode 4WD system, the X-Trail is remarkably competent on- and off-road. While the sales figures speak for themselves, this is reinforced by some of Europe's most critical motoring magazines giving the X-TRAIL the thumbs-up in group comparison tests and annual motoring awards. The latest accolade, for the third consecutive year, is "The Best 4x4 Recreational Vehicle", awarded by the London based Auto Express Magazine.
The distinctive looks of the X-TRAIL project confidence and strength. The straight lines of the X-TRAIL's profile present a muscular yet refined look. Stylish light clusters balance Nissan's trademark 4x4 grille, while the front and rear bumpers are smoothly integrated to accentuate the modern 4x4 styling. As a result, X-TRAIL has a commanding presence.
The changes in February included a new front bumper and grille, remoulded rear bumper, new alloy wheels and Hyper Roof Rails, which, with the appropriate accessories, are designed to carry outdoor gear.
Market research shows that owners love the distinctive cabin with its central instrument cluster and separate glove boxes, and the versatile practicality of the split / fold rear seats, luggage hatch and washable luggage area. So the facelift focused on new, soft-touch materials and ergonomic enhancements that make the X-TRAIL even easier to live with. Redesigned seats, new upholstery, a refrigerated drink box and better ventilation all contributed to the enhanced popularity of the X-TRAIL in 2004.
In addition to the state-of-the-art 2.2-litre six-speed inter-cooled turbo diesel producing 84 kW and 270Nm of torque, buyers can choose from a pair of multi-valve petrol engines. The 4x2 version has a willing 2,0-litre developing 103 kW and 192 Nm of torque, while the lusty 2,5-litre produces 132 kW and 245 Nm, and is available with the option of a four-speed automatic transmission. The ALL-Mode 4WD system gives owners the ability to switch on the move from fuel saving two-wheel-drive, to Auto mode for grip on hills and stability around corners, or Lock mode for rougher terrain. With power and all-condition ability, the turbo diesel and 2,5 are popular with those who enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle.
The X-TRAIL continues to blaze a path through the compact SUV market, shifting motorists out of conventional passenger cars into a more fulfilling lifestyle.
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