Nissan xtrail camping, packing and capabilities

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Port Elizabeth
    Thanked: 1

    Default Nissan xtrail camping, packing and capabilities

    Hi all,

    This is my first post, I registered mainly to give back a bit from all the good advice I read here, shamefully unregistered, before I purchased my 4x4 2012 Xtrail a while back.

    So by way of introduction...
    Me: Hello, My name is Andre and I enjoy camping.
    Everyone else: Hi Andre
    Me: Sadly, I haven't camped in a few months
    Everyone else: *take out pitchforks and stakes*
    Me: But I will be camping shortly!
    Everyone else: *warily put pitchforks and stakes down*

    Anyway, so in short, this post just aims to provide a bit of info regarding driving and packing the Xtrail, an opinion on the Xtrail as a camping vehicle (with Baviaans as context), with the aim of helping others who have the same questions I had when I bought it.

    Petrol or diesel, auto or manual?
    Mine is a 4x4 2.0 diesel with auto 'box, which is non-CVT as far as I can tell.
    Drives like a dream. No issues with overtaking at all. Slight dieselly engine noise, but not extravagant.
    Fuel consumption with city driving just below 10l/100km, longer distances drops to about 8l/100km.
    Regarded as a good towing vehicle, although I have never tested this myself.
    I have the 4x4 option (lockable center multiplate clutch), and the gearbox has a shift-lock, in addition to the vehicle's hill descent control.
    Basically, the shift lock allows you to go downhill in a very controlled manner (keeping the autobox in first, for example) in cases where you don't want to use HDC.
    I cannot speak for the petrol model, but I have heard they are quite thirsty, and the petrol auto may or may not be of the CVT variety, so do check this when buying.

    General capabilities:
    Probably more than you will believe.
    I have had it stuck cross-axle, and as it said on the tin, traction control got us out.
    The immediate limitations of this vehicle are basically ride height, and tires.
    Ride height is not terrible, but I would have liked a bit more.
    Tires could be an issue if you have the 18 inch rims (I have these), they are relatively low profile.
    I would recommend dropping a rim size and upping the profile.
    That being said, I have not done any of that and with low profile road tires, in generally dry conditions (some low-ish water wading involved) with a LOT of crappy Baviaans road surfaces, no issues.

    OK... so here is the main reason for camping with this vehicle: packing space.
    It has a false floor, with drawer on one side, opening on other side, both of which run for about 1m toward the front.
    In addition to this, the packing space is prodigious.
    Some vehicles come with a dog-guard (wired division between back seats and loading area) which you can attach stuff to as well, and also serves to stop sh**t from flying forward if you hit the brakes.

    Folding the rear seats flat results in even more space, this surface is flush with the rear loading area. Result: tons of space which can easily house two people sleeping with luggage removed, or one person with luggage stacked to the sides.

    Packing high inside the vehicle is not a major issue for parking visibility, IF the vehicle has a rearview camera for those parking maneuvers (mine came with this option, probably the most useful thing ever, especially at mall parking lots) although there is enough space that you shouldn't have issues in most cases.

    Negatives about packing:
    Spare tire underneath the false floor.
    This is an issue especially if you want to make your own drawer system.
    For this reason, I only pack with crates ("MacGyver" crates from Mambo's) which are stackable and store a ton of stuff.
    Also, taking out all your luggage to get to the spare... eish. I am thinking of getting a proper roof rack, and the spare tire might get moved there.

    Who is this car for?
    Weekend camping warriors who don't need to navigate seriously difficult terrain.

    For something like overlanding where you need serious capabilities, I would go for a more serious offroader, but for general camping and rough-ish terrain, the vehicle is more than capable and will give you plenty of joy.

    Pics attached, note dog-guard not fitted (it was a hot day, no beers nearby, and I was packing for demonstration purposes only)
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