Never before has a company been so focussed and honest about its target audience at the design stage. The original X-Trail was designed with snowboarders as a key demographic, just as the winter sport was booming in Nissan’s Japanese home market. Quite whether the young people attracted to the hills ever bought, or could afford X-Trails is a moot point, but the large, easily accessed boot is thanks to their needs and equipment. Seven years on Nissan introduced this ‘all new’ X-Trail, it obviously thinking it had a winning design formula, as Nissan admits to a “styling evolution as demanded by the customer”. It talks openly about recognising the key qualities of its predecessor, too.
In a world of curvaceous off-roaders the X-Trail is pleasingly unashamed of its ruggedness, its chiselled, flat panelled lines, large headlamps and tough looking roof bars refreshingly honest in a world where crossover cuddliness has become the norm. It’s a proper 4x4 and Nissan is evidently not ashamed for it to look like one.
Revisions for the 2011 model year include a redesigned front grille and rear light clusters, though like all the changes evident on the X-Trail throughout its lifetime they’re relatively subtle. So it won’t perhaps turn heads like a Honda CRV might, nor does it have the sort of upmarket cachet of a Land Rover Freelander, but if you like your cars to wear their role on their sleeves then the X-Trail is just the thing.