Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Used Car Review - Nissan X-Trail (2003-2011)

Bored with previous week's (and the week before that) featured vehicles? Well, bore yourself no more, as a compact SUV will be gracing this page. Among the choices available, Myk Belmonte picks one popular choice among the crop of SUVs that is worthy of your consideration if you are shopping for a compact ute.

2003-2011 Nissan X-Trail 

The compact SUV market had been booming in the early 2000s. While compact SUV stalwarts Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 had released their redesigned and "improved" versions in 2002 and 2000 respectively, Nissan launched the X-Trail in 2001 and has shown success despite being "young" against the competition. From that period, competitors had been busy developing their own compact SUVs during that time.

Nissan Motor Philippines made the X-Trail available to the Filipino motorist in 2003, and it gained a time advantage of preparing its contender, market-wise and feature-wise. It may not have third row seats (CR-V) or a manual transmission (RAV4, Ford Escape) but made up with unique features such as a heavy-duty plastic layer in the rear cargo area, a beverage cooler, and even a centrally mounted instrument reader; which is a novelty during that time. Minor changes were done in 2005 and mid-2007 (coincidentally enough, Nissan launched the second generation X-Trail at that year), but with the new model being on sale in mid-2010, the first gen X-Trail (dubbed as the 200) is made as an affordable option for those wanting a functionality of an SUV with the comfort of a sedan.

An advantage brought by the X-Trail is its wide range of variants. A base front wheel drive version with a 2.0 liter engine, a four wheel drive variant still with the base model's 2.0 liter engine, and the top of the line variant which possess a 2.5 liter engine with four wheel drive capability. However, only one transmission choice is available, a four-speed automatic transmission.

Value and Costs
Price ranges of a first generation X-Trail varies depending on the year model to the condition of the vehicle. 2003-2005 units can be purchased for as low as P450,000 and recent examples are priced within P700,000-P730,000. With these prices, the X-Trail is a friendly option to someone looking for a daily vehicle that has decent cargo and passenger space.

With maintenance costs being on the affordable side, be prepared if you drive like a maniac. The climate-control system won't give up unless you manage to push the front end and damage the condenser. Debunking the notion that Nissan parts are mahirap hanapin, this is not technically true.

Exterior and Interior
Boxy is the word that comes out of someone's mouth whenever he or she sees a Nissan X-Trail. It looks like a box but executed in a fashionably manner. It looks sexy and at the same time macho, with its design being a classic in a few years. One novelty of the vehicle is its plastic fenders that give a reasonable amount of ding and rust protection.

Inside, tons of space awaits the driver, its passengers, and even their cargo. With the cargo area being sufficient enough to fit anything and thanks to its plastic layer, dings won't appear in the interior's sides. Headroom and legroom are decent enough while they can enjoy their cooled drinks courtesy of the beverage cooler. The famed centered based instrument gauges can be a boon or a bane to drivers but it is wider and legibly written than the one found in the first generation Toyota Vios.

For the Filipino buyer, two engines are made available. The QR20DE 1,998cc engine which pumps out 150hp at 6,000rpm and 200Nm at 4,000rpm and the QR25DE 2,488cc engine that has 180hp at 6,000rpm and 245Nm at 4,000rpm to play with. The 2.5 variant feels lighter even at low speeds, credit its engine displacement. While the lower end 2.0 variant has adequate power, it feels slightly under powered and can use a little more of it.

Driving Impressions
Because of its car based platform, the X-Trail possesses one of the most comfortable and cushiest rides on a crossover SUV. Obviously not available in a car is made standard in the X-Trail, which are high ground clearance and excellent all-around visibility. And since it has car based underpinnings, ride and handling are comparable to one.

Thanks to Nissan's not-so-stellar resale value, the X-Trail is a steal for people looking for a vehicle that has the riding comfort of a sedan and the ground clearance of an SUV. Surely, there are some competitors that have brand advantage, but the X-Trail has found home in Filipino garages. A worthy pick especially for urban dwellers and wanting the height.

The Good
  • Scratch proof cargo area
  • Good all around visibility
  • Low resale price is a good used car investment
The Bad
  • Center located gauges
  • Tacky exterior visuals (for some year models)
  • Some cheap interior bits
The Pick: 250X 2.5L 4WD

Engines: 1,998cc QR20DE and 2,488cc QR25DE I4 gasoline
Power: 150hp @ 6,000rpm (2.0), 180hp @ 6,000rpm (2.5)
Torque: 200Nm @ 4,000rpm (2.0), 245Nm @ 4,000rpm (2.5)
Fuel Consumption: 5-8km/L (city), 8-11km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Suspension: Front McPherson strut, rear parallel link strut

Price (New): P1,070,000-P1,350,000 (range from 2003-2011)
Price (Now): P450,000-P750,000
Rivals: Chevrolet Captiva, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Mazda Tribute, Mitsubishi Outlander, Subaru Forester, Suzuki Grand Vitara, Toyota RAV4
On Sale: 2003-present

Nissan Mantrade - 812-6789
Nissan Gallery Ortigas - 635-5888
Nissan Gallery Quezon Avenue - 731-5308

UPDATE: Vehicle had been discontinued as of 5/7/2012. This is not listed in Top Gear's buyer's guide as well as dealers confirmation.

Photos by Myk Belmonte
X-Trail unit courtesy of Mark


  1. Hi! Thanks for this post. I have always wanted to get a Nissan xtrail (2nd hand) since I've been seeing the 2008 models for P500+ k only. I'm just feeling weary about it since I can't understand how can they sell it at such a low price. I was thinking that it requires higher maintenance in terms of cost or anything? I can buy a brand new car, but with my budget, I can only afford low-cost sedan. I need more space since my kids are now in college and since I'm picking them up from UST (we live in Pasig), I also need a car to be fuel efficient. Do you think that a 2nd hand xtrail wouldn't give me a lot of headache given my situation (cost of maintenance and fuel consumption)? Thanks ....By the way, I'm a female driver and I don't care if a car is fast or not. Even on highways, I only drive as fast as 60-70kph. Again, thanks!

    1. Hey Sybill! Glad to know that you liked my review for the X-Trail. I want to clarify things about your worries with the X-Trail. About the resale value of 500k for a 2008 model, well, Nissans do generally have poor resale values so they are treasures for second hand car buyers like you - it does not mean further headaches. Higher maintenance? Just make sure the unit you're purchasing has complete maintenance records para hindi sakit sa ulo ang unit. Ok naman maintenance costs and parts can be bought anywhere. Basta,make sure the fluids (oils, ATF) are intact. Fuel consumption can be a worry pero depende sa foot mo (kung kaano ka kabilis magmaneho). Besides, an X-Trail is a good car sa situation mo dahil pupunta ka UST and Pasig - both flood prone areas. Thanks for reading and I hope you could inform me about your purchase!

  2. hi. is it still "safe" to buy an x-trail at this point w/ all other SUV options? brand new is now at P999K. ford escape is now at P950K since they will be releasing a new model this year. i'm a female driver. i work in pasay and leave in QC so during rainy days, i do pass a lot of flooded areas hence the requirement for an SUV. i currently drive a cr-v (7 seater). would appreciate your inputs. thanks.

    1. Between the two, I suggest taking a test drive between the X-Trail and the Escape. The X-Trail you are referring to are re-productions of NMPI. If you need something from point A to B, neither will disappoint you. However, the Escape is my recommendation especially it is slightly fuel efficient (2.3 for Escape) than the 2.0 of the X-Trail.

      If I were you, go with the Escape even if its old. You will get it for less.

      Thanks and have a good day!

  3. Hi Myk,

    I'm currently driving a 2010 mt civic fd but I'm seriously considering trading it in for either a 2008 xtrail or a 2010 escape for their automatic transmission, higher ride height, and larger cargo space. Both xtrail and escape are at the same price range. I like how both of the cars look. My only concern is that I might be trading in the reliability I get in my civic for these 2, especially since I'm getting it in 2017.

    Hope you can share your thoughts.

    Thanks in advance!

  4. Hi Sir,

    May I ask po kung anong model yung meron sun roof?? currently looking for x-trail around 2004 model. Meron ba ganito sa pinas or sa ibang bansa lang po available??? thanks in advance :)