2nd December, 2013

Hi ARB, 

Firstly, let me say I was never one for the 4×4 lifestyle. That was until a friend dragged me to one of your factory tours and I was amazed and impressed by all the hard work you all do. Since that tour, I thought I would get into the 4×4 action. I have purchased a 2012 Nissan X-Trail and according to friends that particular vehicle is not 4×4 capable. 

My question is can ARB do anything to help me with this predicament in regards to advice, accessories or modifications I can make so I can make my debut into the 4×4 world? I have already purchased an ARB recovery kit and a CB radio to help me on my way. I don’t have anyone who is being positive about my new purchase. All I keep getting told is to sell my car and get something else. 

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

– Adam

Hi Adam

Thanks for contacting us. Rest assured, the Nissan X-trail is more than capable of getting you to some of the best campsites around, and I would rate it near the top of its class for 4WD ability. Being lighter than most full-sized 4WDs, it’s a great performer on sand and will hold its own on a lot of bush tracks. I actually had a similar introduction to 4WDing, with my first vehicle being a Mazda Tribute, which is of the same ilk as your X-Trail. I was constantly surprised where it took us and at the time it fitted very well with my level of experience.

The main limiting factors when comparing the X-Trail to the larger 4WDs on the market is its lack of low range gearing and ground clearance. Low range gearing allows vehicles to climb steep tracks more easily and provides greater control when descending.

With this in mind, one of the best things you can do to increase the off road ability of your X-Trail is to purchase some good quality all terrain tyres. These will give you better traction off road and provide greater protection against punctures whilst retaining good on road performance.

A mild increase in ride height would also be beneficial. This can be achieved by installing some slightly higher springs in your suspension. ARB sell replacement Old Man Emu springs for the X-Trail (up to 2011 models) which would give you an estimated 25mm increase over the factory ride height without negatively affecting other important driveline components.

Don’t let your mates put you off hitting the tracks and getting the X-Trail dirty. It’ll provide you with plenty of fun and is a great starting point in the world of 4WDing. Once your experience grows and you become interested in exploring some of the more challenging tracks, you can look at upgrading to a vehicle with low range.

Until then, get out there and enjoy it.

– Sam Boden, Marketing