Thursday, December 11, 2008

X Trail vs 9-5

The alternate title for this story could have been, “It keeps going, and going…”.

Our long-in-the tooth Nissan X Trail is still in the family continuing to provide extremely solid and reliable duty. It shares the garage with a Saab 9-5. I swear the X Trail goes to sleep each night with a smug grin on its face.

Simply put, the X Trail just goes about its business without complaint. It drives very smoothly (for a non-car). Has decent acceleration for a 4 banger. And actually handles the twisties fairly well. Black with tan interior. Going on 115,000 kilometres.

It sits up high with a good view down the road. Has great all-round visibility. Above average fuel economy.

Versatility not an issue. The rectangular shape combined with flat fold-down rear seats produces very usable interior volume. It comes in handy for transporting materials from Home Depot (too many occasions to remember), furniture from Ikea (we have more Pax units than student housing), plants and gardening supplies. We have moved houses and apartments. We have set up booths at trade fares. We have even moved into and out of a retail store.

And we have not necessarily been kind to it. We remember to change the oil every 6 months or so. We finally replaced the cracked windshield after a year. We wash it every so often. Clean the carpets…actually we have never done that. But we do shake out the rubber floor mats every so often.

It does eat rear brakes though. We found Sheridan, a fantastic repair shop in Oakville that does great service at reasonable prices. Basically, it drives well, handles everything thrown at it and doesn’t complain with the minimal servicing.

With the addition of winter tires, we have plowed through three winters north of Toronto, where it snows every day from December to April. Changeover cost $60 and completed in 45 minutes.

The Saab…

A tad more high-strung unfortunately. Gun Metal gray with gray leather interior. Now slightly over 85,000 kilometres.

2.3 LitreTurbo engine goes like a bat out of hell. Especially in ‘sport’ mode. Fold down rear seats that lie flat allow versatility not expected in a premium sport sedan. Lovely heated leather seats take the pain out of the cold winter mornings.

Needs TLC on the servicing however. Even though the service intervals are around 24k.

Kept clean to within an inch of its life. Sally, my wife openly laughs at that. Dash painfully clean; carpets spotless; seats ‘fed’ each month to keep supple.

Moved houses and kids apartments a couple of times. Handles skiis and snowboards easily.

Long highway drives to Ottawa and Montreal a real pleasure. The 9-5 gobbles up the highway with ease while drinking Sunoco Premiun at a relatively thrifty rate. Unless in ‘Sport’ mode.

To sum it up: needs lots of love, complains a bit, takes a while to warm up. But rewards with a great driving experience.

And the winner is…X Trail!

Actually the Saab was ahead down the stretch. Winter tire changeover did it in: $180, 2 1/2 hours.

X trail grin keeps getting wider.

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