This is the new face of X-Trail. Not quite a wow moment but a big step forward on what has gone before.
Some would say it’s about time Nissan gave its largest SUV a bit of TLC. It was a trailblazer when it first appeared on our roads 22 years ago, a bruising 4×4 that was not afraid to get its tyres muddy on the most challenging of surfaces.
Then Nissan had a lightbulb moment and came up with a new style of car, a smaller SUV that drove like a family hatchback. Enter Qashqai and we all know what happened next.
The dust has settled on that chapter and Nissan’s focus is very much on the new electric age. Remember it got in early with the Leaf and is pushing hard with Ariya, the latest electric model.
And that is where this new X-Trail comes in. As well as picking up some styling cues from its very elegant sister, the big SUV shares a lot of electric technology but still has a petrol engine. By the way, there is no diesel option.
Topping the range is e-4ORCE. In case you don’t get it straightaway, that is Nissan’s novel name for electric four wheel drive. How does it work? There are two electric motors, one on each axle, powered by batteries which are charged by a 3-cylinder 1.5 litre engine.
Acceleration is swift, similar to an electric car, but because there is a powerful turbo charged engine emissions are still pretty high at 152g/km.
Regenerative braking is on hand with the e-pedal the most aggressive, bringing the car to a virtual stop. It slows to a creep but why the car cannot came to a dead stop, like a Volvo, is a missed opportunity.
Once you get the hang of it the car can be slowed sufficiently without using the brake pedal, harnessing power for the batteries and saving on brake wear, so a few tweaks will make this a fully beneficial system.
Apart from an electrical spark what else has happened to X-Trail? Quite a lot, in fact it is new from the ground up, sitting on a bang up to date Qashqai platform and eye catching design, particularly head on where the stylists have gone to town on the swooping grille and headlights.
The new chassis has done good things for handling which has come on leaps and bounds with a big reduction in body roll, in fact it has almost been eliminated, and a more comfortable ride from the new suspension.
Inside is a tale of two X-Trails. It is a five model range but the first two are sort of the poor relations and do not get all the high tech so it might be worth starting at N-Connecta which has a central 12.3in touchscreen and the excellent digital binnacle with its plethora of easy to find information. A driver’s head-up display is a bonus and is one of the best I have come across.
My Tekna model is another step up the ladder and has quality fixtures and fittings and is knocking on the door of the premium boys but the improvements do not match Mazda’s new CX-60 which is also better on economy.
X-Trail is a big car and everything in it is big. The door bins are big and take a two litre bottle although the cup holders in the centre console are too big and need the pop out inner holders found on many rivals
This is a roomy five seater with a good sized boot, but not class leading. The rear seat slides fore and aft but is mainly to gain access to the optional third row. I wanted to stow the boot cover under the floor but it is pretty crammed down there so no luck with that.
Tekna is just one off the top rung and is packed with equipment and all the toys we love, and has just about every safety aid available.
X-Trail has been living in the show of Qashqai for well over a decade but has come in from the cold with this substantial update. It won’t be first choice for a lot of buyers because there is a lot of good opposition to contend with but now stands a much better chance.
X-Trail Tekna e-Power, e-4ORCE
£46.075 (range starts £32,890)
1.5 litre turbo; 211bhp
0-62mph 7.2secs; 111mph
152g/km. 1st tax £635
Boot: 485-1298 litres
Towing capacity 1650kg
Insurance group 31