Nissan X-Trail’s four-star safetyNew family 4x4 isn’t as safe as some rivals

28 November 2007

X-Trail crash

New X-Trail scored 56% in frontal crash test

Nissan’s latest X-Trail off-roader has scored an ‘unremarkable’ four stars in its Euro NCAP crash test, announced today.

Euro NCAP, the car safety body co-founded by Which?, described the four-star rating for adult occupant protection as disappointing. The previous version of the X-Trail also scored four stars in 2002, while many new cars now achieve the full five stars in this test.

Indeed, Nissan’s own Qashqai hatchback-cum-4x4 scored five stars in May - its total points tally saw it scoop NCAP’s crown for the ‘best-ever adult occupant score’.

Weak points

Of the X-Trail, Euro NCAP inspectors said: ‘Protection of the driver’s neck was rated as “weak” because of the extent to which it was bent backwards in the test.’ This kind of neck movement is often responsible for whiplash injuries.

They also commented that: ‘Structures in the dashboard presented a risk of injury to the knees and femurs of the driver and passenger.’ This is a relatively common problem - even in modern cars - but one which has prompted other carmakers to introduce knee airbags.

Good for children

The new X-Trail fared better in the other NCAP ratings, though - collecting four stars out of a possible five for child occupant protection, and two stars for pedestrian protection (the same as the old X-Trail). Its child safety score is one of the highest in its small 4x4 category.

Commenting on the results, Richard Headland, Which? motoring editor, said: ‘The new X-Trail looks similar to the old one, yet Nissan says it’s an all-new car. It’s a shame the safety design fails to live up to the high standards set by many new cars, including Nissan’s own Qahsqai.’

‘That said, there are only two five-star cars in the small off-roader class at present - the Land Rover Freelander 2 and the VW Tiguan, which arrives here in February. If safety is your top priority, the new Tiguan offers the best all-round protection.’