When you’re looking for your next car to buy, you can often be bombarded by websites and dealers telling you how amazing this and that car is and why it’s better than car b, c and d. We thought that one of the best ways for you to see what a car was really like was to have it taken on a real test drive by someone that is not in the motor trade. For this, we sought the help of Paul Taylor, the founder of What’s On In My Town. We gave Paul a Nissan X-Trail from Thursday 1st December until Monday 5th December so that he could really test out what the car was like and you may have seen him while he was out and about on his travels. This is what he had to say:
“First and foremost, I would like to say that I liked the car. It was comfortable to sit in, nice to drive and surprisingly easy to park considering the size of it! As part of my job at What’s On In Epsom, I visit a lot of local events and I’m especially busy around this time of year because of all of the festive activities that people put on. On Thursday I was at the Christmas Light Switch-On at Chessington Road; then on Friday I took the car to Ewell Yule and Saturday I attended the Craft Fair at Bourne Hall. Finally, on Sunday my family and I went on a day out to Hobbledown Farm.
Let’s start with the negative points just to get them out of the way. As I’ve already said it was a very comfortable car to drive, but the view out of the back window is restricted because of the position of the headrests, even at their lowest point. To begin with the boot was very easy to open and close thanks to the power tailgate switch near the driver’s seat. However, when that wasn’t in use, it became a bit of a mission to get the boot open and closed because you were having to fight against the mechanism.
Driving the X-Trail in the winter has an obvious advantage because it has heated front seats that have a gauge from low to high heat. When you choose low it gives you a nice warmth throughout your body, but, if you choose high it’s hot enough to be able to keep your takeaway warm on the drive back home!
Lastly, in terms of negative points about the X-Trail, it’s sold with 7-seater capabilities, which it can do because the space in the boot is quite large when there are only five seats. The problem is that when you add in two extra seats you lose a lot of your boot space and there is very little room for those passengers. So, while it is capable of being a 7-seater, I would not advise those two back seats for any children above the age of ten.
Now for the things that I did like! It was certainly a spacious car and wider than the car I normally drive so all of us had plenty of room whenever we went out and about. It was a nice smooth drive and despite its size it didn't produce a loud growling noise from the engine as you might expect.
When I first got in the driver’s seat I struggled to see the bonnet which I thought was going to be a problem. Fortunately, the X-Trail provides an adjustable ride height so I soon sorted that out and assumed a very comfortable driving position with all the necessary buttons within easy reach.
Staying connected while I’m on the road is very important for my job because I need to be at the forefront of anything happening locally. I was very happy to see that there were a lot of connection ports so that I could keep my phone, tablet and camera charged through the USB sockets as well as the additional AUX port. It also has access to Facebook and Google on the touchscreen.
The model that I was given had an integrated touchscreen with Smartphone App capabilities and a very easy to use command centre. The thing I liked most about this was the camera mode which provided a 360° view of the area around the car so you could see exactly where you were parking and if anybody was crossing behind you.
All-in-all I really enjoyed my time in the X-Trail and although to me it isn’t perfect, I think that it is a very capable and comfortable family car with some excellent features and gadgets that I’m going to miss."
Paul was driving a seven-seater automatic Nissan X-Trail Tekna in Gun Metal Grey.