Just like the eatery around the corner

That this still exists: an unreadable infotainment screen in the sun! That mini-mate too: TomTom. You’ll never win the style award that way, Nissan. While corporate sister Renault is serving you mother with piles of iPad signs leaning against the dashboard like funerary pillars, the navigation maps etched sharply into the screen like the Commandments in the Stone Tablets.

The Nissan X-Trail brings the imagery like BMW to fifteen years ago. Modest 7-inch display, with buttons on the left and right that you immediately understand – the logic back then was not so bad. Periodic illegibility is taken care of by the display between the, attention, analog speedometer and tachometer. That also shows navigation arrows that you do see.

I drive a six-speed manual gearbox with a nostalgic soft play in the gear shifts. The hard plastic switches for the seat heating have populated Nissan’s parts warehouses since prehistoric times. First association: Fisher-Price, buttons as toddler toys.

Make no mistake. The X-Trail has active assistance systems and LED headlights, a Hill Hold Control that saves you the incline test by holding the handbrake in front of you. Gosh, the screen turns out to be a touchscreen! And hello, the unauthorized crossing of the lane is foiled with a contemporary panic signal!

But all that hipness is lost in the traditional Japanese house style. The Nissan X-Trail is a well-maintained doorzon home, adapted to modern requirements, from my teenage years.

Child of this time

It is therefore a suv from Nissan and Nissans do normal. They are the eatery around the corner. The steak is not allowed to bear a Michelin star, there is no time for cosiness, and there is no complaining about the portions.

Nevertheless, from a genre-technical point of view, he is completely a child of our time, closely following public taste. The first X-Trail was still a work shed created for country life with standard four-wheel drive – which now requires a lot of updating. Offroad, he never gets further than the campsite.

The X-Trail of 2017 is just a hefty front-wheel drive station in the workman’s outfit of an all-terrain vehicle: optical illusion. On the other hand, Nissan supplies a cannon of a car with 2,000 liters of transport space for less than 32,000 euros. In doing so, he eliminates a priori his competitors, who were already out of sight of the Nissan driver anyway. A Skoda Kodiaq or Superb Combi could have just been done, but a Citroën Berlingo lacks the bit of appearance that moderate connoisseurs do not want to miss. They find such a Citroën warehouse more suitable for retired teachers, who in turn find Nissans much too RTL.

Now I have to be strict with the Consumer Man. The Volvo SUV I reviewed last weekend swallowed 1,400 liters of cargo, 600 less than the X-Trail. How is it possible that the XC60 must yield at least 58 grand – and the test Swede even generously exceeds 90,000 euros? The X-Trail, a Dig-T Tekna, costs 40,000 euros with leather and sliding roof. What privileges does the Volvo man have for an above-average annual salary?

It has an extra 90 horsepower. Big deal. Four-wheel drive, with winter sports as a boulder for the wastefulness. His car is a little tighter on the road. It’s not a trash can breed, it has style. His screen is a wonderland of super cool interactive multimedia theater. But the Volvo man pays that half a ton above all else not to have to be a Nissan man. His steak, in a Nissan-free eatery; also twice as expensive but not much better.

There’s something sleazy about the X-Trail that pleasantly touches me in its raw indifference to raked Swedish spheres of life. He dives into a bend a bit too sloppy but safe. You feel that a door panel or seat could give it a creak or wobble. That will not happen in the Volvo.

If a small defect should bother him, the angry Volvo man goes to the dealer, who goes to the limit to give him what he wants. The branch manager knows: in three years, Mr. will break a ton out of gratitude.

The Nissan man, by not rattling his piece, is meanwhile thick and rightly satisfied. He has just delivered twenty crates of Heineken to his football club and that turbo block ‘kept going’, he will honk over his steak in the neighborhood cafe. “163 horsepower, I swear to you.”