Soft-roader buyers are the hardest to please, they demand style, performance, and practicality all in one vehicle. Today we take a look at the most popular soft-roaders in the market. namely The Toyota RAV-4 and The Nissan X-Trail. We delve deep into detail on how they stack up against one another and see which one gives a real value for money proposition.
The RAV-4 is considered as the father of the modern soft-roader formula since its debut in 1994. The past two decades saw it grow up, gained some kilos and eventually become more sophisticated. The current generation RAV-4 is the summary of Toyota’s ability to ‘read the market’ and come up with a vehicle that appeals across the board. Now larger and more capable, the RAV-4 seats seven (5+2) and bears the Toyota design language from head to toe.
Shifting focus to the Nissan X-Trail, it too has evolved into a classy vehicle that offers premium comfort at an economy price. The current generation X-Trail was launched in 2014, and it too had been given an image overhaul. Here was a beautiful beast that bared no resemblance to the boxy box on wheels that preceded it. The X-Trail is also arguably better looking than the RAV-4 inside and out with a higher level of refinement.
Under the RAV-4’s hood lies a132kW/233Nm 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine, paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission which subsequently sends power to all the four wheels. (There’s a front wheel drive option, powered by a 2.0-litre unit). It has a slightly higher fuel consumption than the X-Trail at 8.5L/100km.
The X-trail is also powered by a 2.5-litre four-cylinder unit that pumps 126kW/226Nm but sips less petrol at 8.3L/100km. This X-Trail is all-wheel drive too, but rather than an auto it uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Behind The Wheel
This updated version of the RAV4 has seen major improvements in the ride and also the car’s stability. The revision also included better sound insulation and the cabin is now a much quieter place. These changes make the RAV-4 a good handling soft-roader with a comfortable ride that remains composed on even the dodgiest city roads.
Nissan revised the suspension in the new-generation X-Trail and it’s a major step up in comfort over the previous generation. The steering beefs up quite well at high speeds and is neutral to the feel. There’s still room for improvement though with the ride feeling unsettled at times on uneven surfaces. Road noise intruding into the cabin is also a drawback.
The RAV-4 and X-Trail vehicles received a 5-star safety rating by Euro NCAP, as they have both active and passive safety features including ABS, EBD, stability and traction control. The RAV-4 has 7 airbags while the X-Trail has 6.
The X-trail is well built and loaded with tons of features that would put the RAV-4 to shame, however, the quiet ride, sure-footedness of the RAV-4 makes it a better car to drive than the Nissan. The X-Trail retails at Ksh. 5.5 Million while the RAV-4 goes for Ksh. 6.2 Million. Visit Cheki Kenya to get more details on the Toyota RAV-4 and Nissan X-Trail.