Last year I reviewed the seven-seater, mid-range Nissan X-Trail ST-L. Now I've had a chance to drive the five-seater Nissan X-Trail Ti AWD and compare the two, to see how good this five-seater Ti model is as a BabyDrive.
Unlike the seven-seater ST-L model, legroom is not a problem in the five-seater Ti. The second row of seats slide backwards and forwards to adjust for legroom and their backrest angle can be reclined. This was great for carrying taller passengers in the front, as they had 28cm of knee room, with rear-facing child seat behind them!
The front seats were much more comfortable in the Ti model with lots of electronic adjustments available. No ponytails possible still though!
There is a top tether for all three rear seats and ISOFix for the two outer ones. I could only fit two child seats into both models of X-Trail, as the car is just not wide enough! I fitted a rear-facing Britax Graphene and forward-facing Britax Maxi Guard Pro. The middle seat's top tether is in the ceiling of the boot so if you put a child seat in the central seat of the ST-L seven-seater model then the strap would be in any rear passengers' faces!
The boot space was very good, and the five-seat Ti model held 14 shopping bags from empty, which one more than its competitors the Mazda CX-5, Subaru Forester and Honda CR-V. That's also two more than the VW Tiguan and one less than the Skoda Kodiaq.
The roller blind parcel shelf is light and easily maneuverable and there are two underfloor storage compartments too.
The interiors are much the same in the two models. Nissan has thought of a lot when designing the X-Trail, as there are a lot of practical features like good in-cab storage and there were some nice surprising details such as heated and cooled front cup holders. In the five-seater Ti, there are other comforts like heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel and increased safety and driver assist technology.
I found the media system was very outdated and didn't have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and the controls were hard to navigate and frustratingly confusing to use; it was just too hard to find what I was looking for and I didn’t like that it settled onto a map screen even if I wasn't using sat-nav at the time. However, it was helpful to have sat-nav directions on the digital display in front of the steering wheel.
It has a 360-degree camera that you can turn on at any time you are stationary, which was a feature I found useful, especially for positioning myself in parking spaces. The image quality wasn't great though.
Overall I found the X-Trail Ti a great BabyDrive if you only need two child seats, I think it is much more spacious and practical as a five-seater. It gives you a good around-town drive, ample boot and cabin space, with good legroom.
The X-Trail scored a five-star ANCAP safety rating and seven SRS airbags however if you are going for the seven-seater version it has no third-row seatbelt alarm or airbags for the third row either.
How big is the boot of the Nissan X-Trail?
Storage in the cabin of the Ti model was the same as the seven-seater ST-L I previously drove. There are two cup holders in the central console which can be heated and cooled, by switching around the divider between the two cup holders. I really made use of this feature as I drink black tea and am regularly wanting to cool it down to a drinkable temperature without having to dilute it with cold water!!
The cup holders are a good size for a reusable or disposable coffee cup or a 600ml bottle but they all rattled around a little. I did find disposable coffee cups sit quite flush with the top of the holder and can be quite hard to lift out without spilling.
The front door pockets are not lined so things you put in them do rattle. They will hold my large refillable water bottle with either my iPad or wallet.
In front of the gear lever is a well that I found best for my phone as above it are the USB, AUX and 12V sockets.
There is a second 12V socket in the central console storage box, which is a really good size and the lid doubles as your armrest.
The glove box is a good size too, it holds the thick manual, my iPad and wallet.
There is a glasses case in the ceiling with the interior light and sunroof controls. There are lit vanity mirrors in both front visors. The vanity mirrors are enormous and remind me of big, ugly maternity sanitary pads!!!
In the back of the X-Trail, there are map pockets in the back of both front seats, they will hold an iPad but not totally conceal it.
The door pockets in the back are smaller and would only hold a 600ml, baby bottle or sippy cup and there are little wells in the doors in the back too, which I LOVE for popping little bits in out of my daughter's hands when putting her in or out of the car!
The middle seat, backrest folds forward and there are two plastic moulded cup holders in it, they will hold a disposable or reusable coffee cup but a baby bottle or 600ml rattle around.
In this Ti five-seater model, I could fit 14 shopping bags in the boot. That's one more than I did in the ST-L model. This could be because of the third-row seats in the floor of the ST-L but it also might be my shopping bag Tetris skills have improved since then!! It is also one more than its competitors the Mazda CX-5, Subaru Forester and Honda CR-V. Two more than the VW Tiguan and one less than the Skoda Kodiaq.
With the Mountain Buggy Urban Jungle single stroller in the boot, I could fit four shopping bags.
With the Britax Flexx single stroller in the boot, I could fit eight shopping bags.
The Britax Holiday compact stroller fitted with 12 shopping bags.
The Mountain Buggy Nano compact stroller fitted with 10 shopping bags.
Or you could easily fit a large dog in the boot.
There is a 12V socket on the right-hand side of the boot and a fixed light that comes on automatically when the boot is opened. There are no bag hooks in the X-Trail boot but there are four anchor points for a cargo net.
It is quite easy to put things in and out of the X-Trail boot; it is a good height that you do not have to bend down into and the floor is quite even with a nice soft surface, easy for sliding things in and out and good for an emergency nappy change.
The parcel shelf is a retractable blind that goes across the width of the car behind the second row of seats. It stores in the first compartment underneath the boot floor. In this five-seater Ti model, the back of the boot floor is also underfloor storage, it is all plastic lined and I found great for putting delicate shopping items like eggs in so they wouldn't get damaged, or for wet or dirty items. In this five-seater model, the boot floor also drops down a level too so you can have a deeper boot when needed which it didn't in the seven-seater ST-L model.
Will the Nissan X-Trail wake my sleeping baby?
The Ti model has the same dreadful media system as the ST-L! The touchscreen sits on the map page and it makes a beeping noise every time you touch it, that I could not work out how or if you could turn off. I found it really difficult to navigate the system as things were not stored in obvious places.
To turn the sat-nav voice volume up or down took me a long time to find and then it would only turn down to five, which was still very loud. Because the touchscreen sometimes did not register my touch, I found I was pressing down thinking it would go below five but after ten more presses decided this must have been the lowest setting. You can set the sat-nav to just be a digital display in front of you but it beeped when I did this, which was also annoying.
The media system does not use Apple CarPlay, and I think it would greatly improve the usability of the system if it did. When I plugged my phone in whilst nursery rhymes were playing it took a few seconds for my phone to register and then it did continue to play them through the car speakers. It is not the easiest system to use. It is not obvious what the buttons do and I found the music control buttons were quite hidden in the screen and hard to find.
The stereo keeps playing when you turn the car off until you press the key lock. So the last thing you listened to is remembered on the stereo and will come blaring out at you if you do not remember to turn the stereo off before the engine.
Becoming a parent I soon realised there are some noises and sounds I feel are unnecessary and I could happily live without if it meant my baby stayed asleep!!
That often the distraction of my screaming, distressed baby is more dangerous when driving than not having a lane departure warning for example.
If it is the lane departure warning beeping that creates distress with my baby then which is safest?
It’s where I think we need to be able to strike a balance and choose when we can mute the warnings or swap them to a vibration in the steering wheel or flashing light perhaps?
A lot of these noises come with the increase in technology and especially linked to safety features and alerts. For me these all have their place.
Another thing I have realised is I spend my time in a lot more places where small children roam, parks, beaches, play gyms, swimming lessons, daycare centre etc. I have become more aware that when I’m reversing or manouvering in the car parks I have to tripple check for small children running around behind me or being in my blind spot when reversing. For this I LOVE reversing cameras, I just don’t like their beeping sounds!!
I have become so much more aware of safety and potential accidents or hazards since having a child and so I love the peace of mind that I get from the cameras and sensors combined with my own vision from windows and mirrors as I don’t trust cameras alone.
You can click a camera button, on the left of the screen, which will bring up the 360 camera views at any time you are stationary. I found this particularly useful for positioning the car in parking spaces using the birdseye view as visibility was quite limited in the X-Trail.
Where the Ti model does differ to the ST-L is the safety features and warnings and driver aids. On top of the standard features, the Ti model comes with intelligent cruise control, intelligent emergency braking with pedestrian detection and motion-activated tailgate. It also has a pedestrian detection system for the AEB that works up to 60km/h as well as blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. It also had a 360-degree camera and reversing camera with Moving Object Detection. A lot of these can be turned on and off at a control panel by the driver's right knee.
The driving aids can be adjusted in the display in front of your steering wheel. There were no parking sensors on either of the models I drove, which all made for a quieter drive!
The indicators are a nice quiet sound too, which would not disturb my sleeping baby. The doors are very quiet to open and not too bad at all to close, so they would not disturb a sleeping baby. You can get in and out of the car with the engine running once you come to a stop and an alarm does not sound.
Since becoming a mum I spend A LOT of time parked up somewhere with a nice view while my daughter is asleep in the back! If it's hot I need to leave the engine running and the aircon on but I do like to get out and drink my cuppa tea in the fresh air while enjoying the fact my limbs are free from said dangling child!!
SO this is a very important test as I have found that sometimes I have been held hostage by a cars BEEEEPING alarms when I have taken off my seatbelt or opened the door while the engine is still running!! (I only stand outside the car, I am not a bad mother!!)
The car does rock a little when you come to a stop and apply the foot brake, it lasts quite a while and is quite dramatic, which I found could be disrupting for a sleeping baby.
The X-Trail is a quiet car to drive with minimal engine and road noise, and I think that is why the air-conditioning fan sounds so loud because there is so little other background noise.
The driver can lock the doors and windows from their door and an alarm sounds if someone in the front two rows of seats takes their seatbelt off whilst the car is driving, but in the seven-seater models there are no third-row seatbelt alarms.
How many child seats will fit in the Nissan X-Trail?
The X-Trail Ti is a five-seater, and I could only fit two child seats in the second row, the same as in the seven-seater ST-L model. The seats are just not wide enough, especially across the shoulders, to hold three child seats. As you can see in the photo, the child seats stick out of the doors.
I fitted the Britax Graphene rear facing and the Britax Maxi-Guard Pro forward facing in the outer seats. There was not enough room for me to sit between them though.
There are two ISOFix points, one in each of the outer seats. They are not within plastic guides and are quite difficult to connect to because they are buried between the firm black leather of the seat back and base.
There are three top tether points; the outer seats have them in their seat backs and the central one is in the ceiling in the far rear of the boot. This is okay in this Ti five-seater model but in the seven-seater ST-L if you use that central seat's top tether then any passengers in the third row of seats would have the top tether strap going across their faces.
The top tethers in the backrests are easy to connect, but you do need to bring the seat backs forward slightly in order to access the anchor points. They are located within a slit of fabric rather than a plastic moulded guide but they do stick out slightly making them easy to locate and attach. Due to its location in the ceiling, the central top tether is easiest to connect from the boot.
I noticed during my testing, that the rear seats in the X-Trail are very slippery leather. I found that I slid around a bit as we went around corners, so it was best to use a rubber mat underneath child seats.
In the Ti, the rear seats slide forward and back just like they do in the seven-seater ST-L model. I found with seats in their furthest back position, with a rear facing child seat installed the front passenger had 28cm of knee-room, which was fantastic! With it only being a five-seater I don't think you would move the rear seats forward unless you were occasionally needing extra boot space so there is heaps of space for front and rear passengers. So you would always have excellent legroom and cabin space, unlike in the ST-L version.
There is plenty of room to post Bub into their child seat from inside the car as the ceiling is nice and tall. From outside, the door opening is a nice large space, but when the second-row seat is in the furthest back position, the side pillar does intrude into your space.
Australia being a country of weather extremes- blazing sun and torrential rain, mean you may find it easier to put Bub into their seat from inside the car sometimes. If it’s hot you can get the air-con going, cool the car down and not stand out in the sun while you fasten them in or shelter from the rain and not get soaked yourself whilst you’re doing it. So it is important to test whether Bub can be easily installed from either direction!
There is room to feed bub in the second row of seats if there is only one child seat installed. The seats are perforated black leather, which traps sand, crumbs and spills and is hard to clean.
The driver's seat is very comfortable in the Ti model with a lot of adjustment and the rear seats are too but I find the front passengers seat uncomfortable though. The front headrests do not allow for a ponytail though!
I had spent hours styling my hair this morning to get this ponytail just right too… said no new mum ever!!!
The front and rear seats are both heated and the switches for these are located down in the central console.
The second-row seats are split-fold 40:20:40 and the outer seats are very comfortable, with even the central seat back being surprisingly comfortable considering it has the fold-down cup holders in. However, the seatbelt clip is right under your bottom so there is no way a mum could travel in that central seat.
I found the X-Trail one of the worst cars I’ve driven for visibility as the driver. I think its length and the shallow back window made it impossible to see out of the back. I also had difficulty seeing out of the side windows with child seats, top tether straps, headrest mirrors and headrests all in the way. With rear-facing child seats installed I found I couldn’t really see anything from behind the front windows. I found I relied heavily on the cameras and was glad there were so many view options! However, the image is not very clear so I felt quite blind driving it. The side mirrors are not enormous which also contributed to the lack of visibility.
I also found that if the large retractable roller blind flap wasn't pulled across the boot, it would stick up and make vision out of the back difficult.
Tulsi was happy rear-facing in the second row of seats. With the seat base bought forward, she had more of a view out of the window, which I think she enjoyed. Forward facing she had a great view out of the side and through the front.
The steering wheel fully adjusts in/out and up/down and it can be heated! The cruise control on the X-Trail is controlled by simple buttons on the right of the steering wheel, and you have a digital display to set the speeds with. I found the cruise control was good on motorways but not at low speeds on undulating roads.
The air-conditioning controls on the central console of the X-Trail are simple to use and easy to reach whilst driving. I found I had to put the fan speed up quite high to get an effective flow. Unfortunately, the fan is very loud and sounds like an aeroplane taking off! This would be disturbing for a sleeping baby, or it could work like white noise!!
There are four air-conditioning vents across the front dashboard, two in the centre and one at each end.
There are air vents in the back of the central console too for the rear passengers, which can be easily reached by the driver.
The windows are all darkly tinted which is good for shading passengers as there are no built-in window shades.
There are vanity mirrors on both sides in the front but they are not lit. The interior lights controls are above your head. You can press them on individually, both or with the doors.
I have found Tulsi does not like travelling in the dark in the car so if it gets dark whilst travelling then I reach back and turn the interior light on for her. So it’s really important for me that I can reach the rear ceiling light.
Also if I am traveling home and it is getting near to bedtime and I DEFINITELY DON’T want her to fall asleep in the car as even a five minute nap in the car means bed time is all over!!!! I lean back and pop the light on so it’s not dark and try to keep her awake!! Along with screaming/singing at the top of my voice!!!
It is also useful when there are lights situated above the doors where the handles are usually positioned. These are good for when putting baby into their child seats when visibility is poor, so you do not have to reach across them to a light situated in the ceiling centrally etc.
In the second row, the lights are above the doors with the handles and cannot be reached from the front.
There are handles above the doors in the back but they are quite close to the rear of the doors. You could hang a child's toy from them when the seat base is in the furthest back position, where it would be okay, but if you had it in the furthest forward position it would be in the wrong place to hold a baby toy.
The X-Trail Ti is enjoyable to drive, it is smooth and quiet and easy to drive around town. All the safety features make it very comfortable to drive on motorways too.
The X-Trail Ti is good to park, although reversing visibility is compromised and you rely heavily on the camera views, it is not an enormous car to maneuver so it is not difficult and I have not struggled. Parking front in has been fine too and I really like the front camera and Birdseye view for positioning myself in parking spaces!
There are three 12V sockets in the X-Trail. One in the front central console next to the USB point, one in the central console storage box and one in the boot as well.
The exterior of the X-Trail Ti looks good, especially in the blue sky matching model that I drove!
The interior is pleasant too. There is an ‘M’ shaped curve to the dashboard and everything is shaped around that. There is a big piece of plastic on the dash that is moulded to look like leather. Nissan has gone to a lot of effort to tie everything together and make it look good. All the surfaces would wipe clean easily too, except for the seats.
The window control buttons feel a bit of a cheap plastic compared to everything else which lets it down a little.
The floor mats are carpet throughout the X-trail, they are like the Lexus floor mats and if the pile is brushed the wrong way they look filthy!
The X-Trail has ‘Intelligent key' with keyless entry and push-button start but I have had major issues with door opening and having to press the door unlock button five or six times to get rear doors to open and the boot does have a powered tailgate but I have had the same problem with that and found only the key fob or button in the cabin would open it not the actual button on the boot.
All X-Trail models are equipped with seven SRS airbags as standard. Front and side airbags for both front passengers and a knee airbag for the driver, as well as curtain airbags offering protection for the rear side passengers (but not those in the third row in the seven-seater models).
The X-Trail was awarded a five-star ANCAP safety rating in 2017, scoring 35.28 out of 37.
In the frontal offset test, the X-Trail scored 14.68 out of 16, with a perfect 16 points awarded in the side impact test and a maximum 2 points in the pole test. Whiplash protection was rated ‘good’ and pedestrian protection ‘acceptable’. It scored 2.6 out of 3 for seat belt reminders because they are not fitted to the optional third-row seats.
It is safety features where the Nissan X-Trail Ti is well stacked up against the previous model I drove, the ST-L. When you get into the driver's seat you can see all the buttons for turning on and off all the extra safety features! On top of the standard features, it comes with intelligent cruise control, intelligent emergency braking with pedestrian detection, motion-activated tailgate, heated steering wheel. It also has pedestrian detection system for the AEB that works up to 60km/h as well as blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. It also had a 360-degree camera and reversing camera with Moving Object Detection.
The X-Trail range comes with autonomous emergency braking (AEB) for low and high speeds, emergency brake-assist (EBA), electronic stability control (ESC), traction control and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution (EBD) as standard.
As of May 2017, all Australian delivered X-Trails come with autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and forward collision warning for speeds below 100km/h.
In the seven-seater ST-L model, worryingly the third row of seats do not have seat belt reminders or side curtain airbags, so your third-row passengers have no protection at all! It is normally the place children get seated as they are the only people who fit! You would want a little protection for them in the way of a side airbag.
Some of these safety features are also features that drive me crazy as a mum! Like the lane departure and forward collision alert or the parking sensor beeping sound.
I want all the safety technology AND to be able to mute the sound when Tulsi’s asleep!