Buying a used Nissan Xtrail

Thursday October 08 2020

Nissan Xtrail

By Paul Kaganzi

Hello Paul, I drive a Toyota Raum but I would like to buy a used Nissan xtrail due to its two-litre engine size and it being an SUV. What are its advantages and disadvantages? William

Hello William, upgrading from the Toyota Raum to the first generation Xtrail is like graduating from primary to secondary school. The Xtrail is a sturdy medium SUV from the Nissan stables. Its 2.0 litre engine gives moderate but ample torque and power to cruise on the highways or use its four wheel drive system to maneuver slippery terrain during offroad driving. 

The Xtrail’s reasonable ground clearance and wide wheel base give it good handling qualities, which inspire driver confidence on and offroad. The interior, although ‘plasticky’ is thoughtfully crafted to provide ample legroom, headroom and load space. The interior layout is comfortable for a family trip with easy access control knobs, buttons and storage spaces. 

When you buy a 3rd hand locally pre-owned Nissan Xtrail, like any other used car, you will probably get it at an attractive bargain price. This could be because it has a poor resale value or the previous owner is running away from technical faults due to a poor maintenance regime. To rule out the latter, start and drive the Xtrail. Notice if it smokes excessively, lacks power uphill or shifts gears abnormally. You may also take the car to a garage for diagnostic inspection. Key areas to look out for include:

A failing valve timing chain kit, which makes noise during cold starts because of use of the wrong engine oil and filter, which creates sludge  and  delays buildup of oil pressure. This damages vital engine parts such as piston rings and valve chain guides. Also, look at the mileage on the odometer. If it hovers around 100,000km, then consider replacing the fuel filter and gearbox filter and ATF fluid.


Your worst nightmare is if the engine smokes excessively, a sign of severe piston ring failure due to poor engine oil maintenance. On the positive side, a good garage can carry out a compression test to confirm engine health as well as inspect all fluids, gearbox and suspension condition. This will help you to tell if the price is worth the car.