Port Elizabeth - Nissan has updated its top-selling X-Trail SUV for 2018 with a freshly restyled front end, upgraded interiors, and the first generation of what it calls Nissan Intelligent Mobility, an interesting mix of existing driver-aid technology with some new tweaks in its applications.

Nissan SA boss Xavier Gobille confirmed at the SA launch this week that Nissan, along with every other manufacturer on the planet, has accepted the reality that some day all cars will drive themselves, but explained that for now ‘intelligent mobility’ means helping you to be a better and safer driver without taking over your job.

The only autonomous functions on the new X-Trail are emergency braking and automatic headlight dipping when it detects oncoming traffic, backed by a host of warning and driver info functions, including blind spot warning (alerts you to the presence of vehicles in blind spots diagonally behind the car), lane departure warning (discreet little beep when you stray over the lane markings), cross traffic alert (warns you of oncoming vehicles while you’re backing out of a parking space or driveway) and and forward collision warning, which warns you of an impending rear-ender with a slower moving or stationary vehicle.

A four-camera around view monitor with moving object detection shows you nearby obstacles or peoples and uses the familiar park assist direction lines to show you exactly where the car is going to go with the steering in its current position, accurately enough to navigate a maze with the windshield blacked out - once you’ve learned to trust the system!

At the same time, Nissan SA has extended the local line-up from six to eight derivatives covering three engines, two transmissions, front or all-wheel drive, five or seven seats and four levels of interior trim. All of which, other than the trim levels which we’ll unpack in detail later, are self-explanatory if you look at the price chart below, and remember that CVT stands for constantly variable belt transmission.

What’s new, Pussycat?

The front-end facelift emphasises Nissan’s bold new ‘V-Motion’ tapered grille and bumper shape, extending at the top to the inner edges of the re-shaped headlight clusters, with their distinctive LED daytime running lights. Integrated front fog-lights, LED tail-lights and a new rear bumper complete the look.

The interior has been restyled to give it a more classy look and feel, with more upmarket materials on the places you touch, such as the steering wheel, door panels, centre console and seat fabric.

Upscale leather-trimmed models get a new flat-bottomed steering wheel with enough satellite controls to confuse a shuttle pilot, white contrast stitching and a revised centre console and decadently luxurious new padding under the leather trim of the centre armrest.

What you get:

The entry-level Visia trim comes with a tilt and reach adjustable steering column, manual aircon, electric windows and mirrors, electric parking brake, hill hold a four-speaker radio/CD/MP3 player with USB and AUX ports, heated/cooled front cupholders, three 12-volt sockets, a rear centre armrest with cupholder and new 17 inch alloy rims.

The Acenta specification adds front fog lights, roof rails, leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear knob, upmarket six-speaker sound, dual-zone climate control, hill descent control and 19 inch alloys.

The Acenta Plus trim has all that plus leather upholstery with four-way power adjustment for the driver’s seat, while the range-topping Tekna ices the cake with the intelligent mobility package and an 18cm centre colour display for the satnav and around view cameras.

Motorvation

The engines are unchanged from the previous model, starting with the two-litre petrol four, rated for 106kW at 6000 revs and 200Nm at 4400, driving the front wheels via a six-speed manual ‘box.

The 1.6 dCi turbodiesel four is good for a quoted 96kW at 4000 revs and 320Nm at 1750rpm, still with noticeable turbo lag even at the coast, channeled through a six-speed manual to either front-wheel (Visia) or all-wheel (Tekna) final drive.

And the raage-topping 2.5 petrol four, dishing out 126kW at 6000 revs and 233Nm at 4000 rpm, still drives all four via CVT, with a sport setting that holds at predetermined points to make it feel like an auto transmission.

PRICES:

2.0 VisiaR369 900
2.0 Visia 7-seaterR374 900
1.6 dCi Visia 7-seaterR392 900
2.5 Acenta CVT AWDR425 900
2.5 Acenta CVT AWD 7-seaterR429 900
2.5 Acenta Plus CVT AWD 7-seaterR444 900
1.6 dCi Tekna AWDR457 900
2.5 Tekna CVT AWD 7-seaterR469 900

These include a six-year or 150 000km warranty and a three-year or 90 000km service plan.

IOL Motoring