New Nissan X-Trail: a tough guy and a smoothie

The new Nissan X-Trail (Handout)
The new Nissan X-Trail (Handout)

Nissan has unveiled the fourth generation of its large X-Trail SUV, which provides excellent refinement for such a rugged-looking go-anywhere vehicle.

This is largely thanks to its optional e-Power system, which uses a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine to generate the electricity which actually propels the car. So, in effect, it is an EV powered by petrol.

This system, which is an extra £2,435 on the X-Trail, first appeared on the Nissan Note in Japan in 2016 and was so successful it sent that model to the top of the sales charts.

The likely best-selling version also features optional e-4orce, a £2,200 four-wheel-drive system which uses electric motors front and rear to drive both sets of wheels and together produces 211bhp.

Better fit

We have seen these systems in other Nissan vehicles but they seem a better fit in the X-Trail. The engine has variable compression ratio technology which ensures the motor runs with maximum efficiency, and develops more power when tackling, say, a hill, and greater economy when noodling along on level ground.

The engine is pretty unobtrusive except when tackling really steep hills, and the premium-looking cabin feels classy and serene, thanks in part to noise cancelling technology which seems to work extremely well.

There is deep padding on dashboard panels and the immaculate stitching on the seats is done by laser-guided stitching machines. It all adds up to a genuinely premium feel.


This is a tall, imposing-looking seven-seater, with a generous amount of room between the wheels and the plastic-clad wheel-arches, giving the X-Trail a real go-anywhere appearance. There are plenty of typical Nissan styling cues at the front, including a deep, Ariya-like grill and wide but shallow headlamps, although the rear styling, as with so many SUVs, is more anonymous.

The new Nissan X-Trail (Handout)
The new Nissan X-Trail (Handout)

Having no gearbox or prop shaft provides a useful weight saving and extra interior space because of the flat floor.

On the road it drives like a typical EV, with just a slight whirr from the engine. Most of its power regeneration is done by the rear motor, which reduces pitch when you step off the throttle, and helps eliminate motion sickness.

The rear doors open to 90 degrees to ease loading young passengers into child seats, and the second row of seats can slide 220mm backwards for extra room. The optional third row is only suitable for passengers up to about five foot two – so best for occasional use for children.


Not being a full hybrid, and having a smaller 2.1kWh battery under the floor, means you don’t lose as much boot depth as in many hybrids, so there is still a useful 575 litres of cargo space – not the best in its class but still pretty good.

At the car’s launch in Slovenia we tested its offroad ability on a specially-built course. The X-Trail’s hill descent control was impressive and for when you crest a steep hill and can only see the sky through the windscreen there is a low-slung camera so you can see where the road goes.

The new Nissan X-Trail (Handout)
The new Nissan X-Trail (Handout)

As well as driving modes for Normal, Sport and “B” regeneration there is a e-Pedal button for extra regen and one-pedal driving. This system works well and you really only need the brake pedal in an emergency.

The X-Trail range starts with a £32,030 mild hybrid with front wheel drive, but most sales are expected to be the full-fat version with e-Power and e-4orce, which at £39,430 still undercuts a Hyundai Santa Fe by about £7,000.

The new X-Trail offers a good combination of performance and value, and a level of refinement which will come as a surprise to many.

The Facts

Nissan X-Trail e-Power e-4orce Acenta Premium 7-seater

Price: £39,430

Top Speed: 112 mph

0-62mph: 7.2 secs

Economy: 44 mpg