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Discussion Starter #1
Hi... this is my first post to this forum, and I'd like to start by saying that it's been a good source of information. The high Canadian content is particularly relevant since I'm in Ontario. I'm seriously considering buying a new SE with manual transmission soon, and would appreciate getting some input from those who have experience with the X-Trail. It seems like a great all-around vehicle from my test drive and the reviews that I've read.

How is the stability and body roll when cornering? I didn't want to get too aggressive during the test drive, but it seemed to corner well for a somewhat boxy vehicle. There's too much wallow and sway in some vans and SUVs, but that doesn't seem to be the case with the X-Trail.

The AWD appears to be designed for continuous driving on dry pavement in Auto mode, and the dealer suggested leaving it there all the time claiming that gas mileage is virtually identical to 2WD mode. Has anyone noticed any issues with doing so? Is there any good reason for usually driving in 2WD mode instead?

If anyone had the opportunity to brake in a situation where ABS kicked in, how is control and feedback?

Is the rubber trunk mat accessory well-made and worth getting?

Any other general comments?

Thanks...

Al
 

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Stability and cornering - I would say it has stiffer sway bars than most sedans, I experience virtualy no body roll
2WD vs Auto - the dealer is right, there is really very small difference in fuel consumption but I still leave it in 2WD when it's dry
ABS - this is my first experience with ABS and I don't like it much. I guess I'l get used to it
 

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The ABS is excellent. It even varies the speed of its cycle according to the surface you're on, making it a superior system in snow, dirt or gravel.
I took a look at the cargo mat and decided to line my cargo floor with foam anti-fatigue flooring instead, at one-tenth the price. It's quiet, non-slip and more comfy for the dog to sleep on, too. :thumbup:
 

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Hi Al,

I've got a manual SE AWD and have been quite impressed with the handling. Just yesterday, in fact, I found myself taking a decreasing-radius off-ramp at a speed far greater than the sign suggested, and it stayed flat and stable the whole way through. It even soaked up the potholes at the end of the ramp nicely. I have snow tires on now, but I suspect that even with the OEM Dunlops back on, you'd lose tire traction before there was any risk of rolling over.

My last car was an 03 Maxima SE, and I actually find that the ride and handling of the X-Trail compare favorably. It's actually less harsh, but feels every bit as precise. No doubt the independent rear suspension helps in this area. Don't get me wrong: the Maxima would leave the X-Trail in its dust, but the little SUV would hold its own.

Lately I've been keeping mine in AWD mode all the time, since the roads have been alternately dry, wet, icy or snow covered. It's nice to be able to pull away from a stop while turning with no wheel spin in the wet. There's never any binding when you turn. By comparison, I've had a GMC Sierra with an Auto 4x4 mode (electronically-controlled clutch), as well as a Jeep Cherokee with a lockable center differential (the so-called Full Time mode) and both of these did bind a bit in tight corners on dry pavement.

You may have read my other posts about the rattles and general noisiness of the interior trim, so I'd highly recommend you get a heavy cargo mat to keep the plastic cargo floor from shifting about and making squeaking sounds. Also, if you intend to store anything under the floor with the spare, as I do, a mat would help mute any rattling of those items. Not to mention, of course, the advantage of not having to tie everything down to keep stuff from sliding around. The cargo net's nice, but not as convenient as just throwing something back there. I haven't bought a mat myself yet, but I plan to. I've not yet decided between the carpeted one, which also covers the backs of the seats, and the rubber one which only covers the floor.

One thing I've noticed with my 5-speed is the shifter can get sticky in cold weather. This seems to have improved with break-in, but I actually brought it into the dealership because my concern. Indeed, as the oil warms up, it starts to shift quite nicely.

Stuff I like:
  • Great seats
  • Very roomy
  • Decent fuel economy
  • Respectable performance and handling
  • Comfortable ride
  • Seamless yet effective AWD
  • Huge sunroof
  • Flat cargo floor when folded
  • Storage bin with power outlet
  • Pretty good sound for a factory audio system
  • Generally *feels* good
Stuff I don't like:
  • Hissing HVAC fan when cold - quiets down when warmed up
  • Rattly dash (I've addressed the worst problems with well-placed foam, but it's still no Lexus)
  • Rear-view mirror control makes you lean over to adjust, so you don't actually see the result of your adjustment until you sit back up
  • The vinyl shifter boot looks like, well, vinyl.
  • There's no sunglasses holder
  • There's no aux-in in the factory radio (for iPods, etc.)
  • When listening to the radio, it shows the band and the clock, rather than the frequency and the clock, which would be more useful.
  • The cupholders in the dash are nifty, but your cups or bottles will make disconcerting reflections in the windows in front of your mirrors
  • The factory wipers suck. Only 3000 kms and I already need new ones
  • Passenger-side rear door sounds cheap and tinny when you slam it. Other doors sound fine. Another X-Trail I saw in a showroom was like this too.
  • No "Express Open" for sunroof. With a sunroof this big, this feature should really be there.
I'm being nitpicky on some of these items. Overall, I like my X-Trail and would recommend it.
 

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AlexP, I've had my X-Trail since June 04 and I'm totally satisfied after 35,000km. My experience with body roll is that it's minimal and you'll be surprise at how it negotiates a tight curve. The AWD system is apparently the most advanced in this segment, so far this winter I have left it in "auto", this is my first experience with AWD and I trully enjoy it. The ABS is also a first for me, I've had to use it quite often and I must say that I'm impressed with the very strong braking of this vehicle. The sunroof does have express open, pull the button until it clicks and it will open to 90% automatically. Fuel economy is a pleasant surprise.
 

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XTrail1 said:
The sunroof does have express open, pull the button until it clicks and it will open to 90% automatically.
No kiddin'? I'll have to try that "click" thing. The owner's manual doesn't mention that. Well, there's one more reason to participate in this forum. Thanks. :)
 

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ecrase2500 said:
Hi Al,

I've got a manual SE AWD and have been quite impressed with the handling. Just yesterday, in fact, I found myself taking a decreasing-radius off-ramp at a speed far greater than the sign suggested, and it stayed flat and stable the whole way through. It even soaked up the potholes at the end of the ramp nicely. I have snow tires on now, but I suspect that even with the OEM Dunlops back on, you'd lose tire traction before there was any risk of rolling over.

My last car was an 03 Maxima SE, and I actually find that the ride and handling of the X-Trail compare favorably. It's actually less harsh, but feels every bit as precise. No doubt the independent rear suspension helps in this area. Don't get me wrong: the Maxima would leave the X-Trail in its dust, but the little SUV would hold its own.

Lately I've been keeping mine in AWD mode all the time, since the roads have been alternately dry, wet, icy or snow covered. It's nice to be able to pull away from a stop while turning with no wheel spin in the wet. There's never any binding when you turn. By comparison, I've had a GMC Sierra with an Auto 4x4 mode (electronically-controlled clutch), as well as a Jeep Cherokee with a lockable center differential (the so-called Full Time mode) and both of these did bind a bit in tight corners on dry pavement.

You may have read my other posts about the rattles and general noisiness of the interior trim, so I'd highly recommend you get a heavy cargo mat to keep the plastic cargo floor from shifting about and making squeaking sounds. Also, if you intend to store anything under the floor with the spare, as I do, a mat would help mute any rattling of those items. Not to mention, of course, the advantage of not having to tie everything down to keep stuff from sliding around. The cargo net's nice, but not as convenient as just throwing something back there. I haven't bought a mat myself yet, but I plan to. I've not yet decided between the carpeted one, which also covers the backs of the seats, and the rubber one which only covers the floor.

One thing I've noticed with my 5-speed is the shifter can get sticky in cold weather. This seems to have improved with break-in, but I actually brought it into the dealership because my concern. Indeed, as the oil warms up, it starts to shift quite nicely.

Stuff I like:
  • Great seats
  • Very roomy
  • Decent fuel economy
  • Respectable performance and handling
  • Comfortable ride
  • Seamless yet effective AWD
  • Huge sunroof
  • Flat cargo floor when folded
  • Storage bin with power outlet
  • Pretty good sound for a factory audio system
  • Generally *feels* good
Stuff I don't like:
  • Hissing HVAC fan when cold - quiets down when warmed up
  • Rattly dash (I've addressed the worst problems with well-placed foam, but it's still no Lexus)
  • Rear-view mirror control makes you lean over to adjust, so you don't actually see the result of your adjustment until you sit back up
  • The vinyl shifter boot looks like, well, vinyl.
  • There's no sunglasses holder
  • There's no aux-in in the factory radio (for iPods, etc.)
  • When listening to the radio, it shows the band and the clock, rather than the frequency and the clock, which would be more useful.
  • The cupholders in the dash are nifty, but your cups or bottles will make disconcerting reflections in the windows in front of your mirrors
  • The factory wipers suck. Only 3000 kms and I already need new ones
  • Passenger-side rear door sounds cheap and tinny when you slam it. Other doors sound fine. Another X-Trail I saw in a showroom was like this too.
  • No "Express Open" for sunroof. With a sunroof this big, this feature should really be there.
I'm being nitpicky on some of these items. Overall, I like my X-Trail and would recommend it.
I just picked up my LE last night.. and the sunroof has an express open - is this a feature just on the LE?? The things that I don't like so far - no CHANGE HOLDER!!!! Arrrggg! and no lights on the vanity mirrors.. Although I know I'm going a step down from my Acura 3.0CL - and not getting all the "Luxury" items - a change hold would have been thoughtful.
 

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I finally got to drive my wife's new XE today, when I took it to get snow tires mounted. I'm very impressed with this truck. It drives very well on the highway, and in town. The brakes feel just right - not too mushy or touchy. Parking is a breeze, and though visibility is great, yoiu don't feel as top-heavy as other SUVs. I enjoyed my trip.

My main complaint, and it's a small one that has been mentioned here, is the side mirror adjustment position. You have to lean forward to adjust, which takes you out of your driving position. That said, I already have it down to the point where I know exactly how much I have to adjusy the mirror, to avoid making it an iterative process.

Otherwise, the things fits our needs perfectly. Better design and fuel economy than a Liberty, No silly swinging tailgate like the CR-V, not a Ford product like the Escape, more room than the Rav4 (and the tailgate thing again), and it just feels more upscale than the Hyundai or Kia offerings. The closest competitor was the Forester, but a base model still came out higher in price, and the residual on the lease was 6% lower. Otherwise, the improved highway acceleration of the Forester might have tipped the scales.

I will miss not having a sunroof, but my wife won't. You'll like the SE for that. She's already had a car stolen from work, so no alloys doesn't bother us at all. The XE also had a 0.8% lower lease rate than the SE. And if you followed the pricing thread, I got a great deal on our X-Trail. Now appears to be a good time to buy. Go to the Autoshow and get a $500 coupon from the Nissan exhibit, good until the end of March.

And if you want snow tires, Steelcase in Markham is blowing them out. They still have the GT Radial Champiro WT for $120, and I got the Gislaved Nordfrost 3 today for $135 + taxes, installed. Beats the hell out of the OEM Dunlops in the snow.
 

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ecrase2500 said:
[*]Passenger-side rear door sounds cheap and tinny when you slam it. Other doors sound fine. Another X-Trail I saw in a showroom was like this too.
You could fix this by installing acoustic damping material inside the door. If you put it in all four doors, the X-Trail would be noticably even quieter.
 

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Second Skin Audio Damplifier

Both Myself and Marc (Valboo) have completely insatlled Second Skin Audio Damplifier in our X-Trails... it is a 12-14 Hour job...but well worth the investment and time. The results are amazing..., we did all the doors, inside and outside panels, rear hatch and spare tire area. We still have some more to do this spring.. under the rear seats, The sound quality and the quietness of the X-trail is so much better. I did the research of the vaiuos brands before I made the decision on which brand and I do not regret my purchase. I have also noticed that the insulation properties of the Damplifier also help with the heating and warmth during winter.

Stephen

X-Traction said:
You could fix this by installing acoustic damping material inside the door. If you put it in all four doors, the X-Trail would be noticably even quieter.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks to all for your replies. The more I see and hear the better it sounds, and pretty well all of the complaints are about minor issues that I can live with. That $500 car show rebate expires at the end of March, so it's time to start shopping around now. This thread http://www.nissanforums.com/showthread.php?t=84479 has been quite useful in preparing for bargaining.

I like the idea of installing damping material. That'll be a good project to start when the weather warms up...

Al
 
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