Not to make too much of a point about it, but beating of chests by automobile
manufacturers about their fight to save the planet appear to be getting louder. Take
Nissan, for example, with its new X-Trail petrol / electric hybrid SUV.

Badges announcing e-Power and e-4orse, the company’s commitment to
electrification, are plastered prominently all-round the vehicle on top of the restrained
EV initials (for electric vehicle) found on rego plates of similar cars.

Under the skin e-POWER is a 100 per cent electric motor-driven system Nissan
claims gives the owner same high-performance driving experience as an all-electric
car. It uses the EV technology perfected in the Nissan Leaf and adds an efficient,
petrol engine to charge the lightweight, lithium-ion battery pack when needed.

First introduced in Japan in 2016 with the Nissan Note at its core is electric motor-
driven technology used to deliver instant torque, power, efficiency and a high-level
driving experience. In high power demand situations, such as strong acceleration,
the petrol engine and generator are used to keep the battery pack charged and can
directly power the electric motor, but not the wheels directly.

Not satisfied with the improved powertrain alone, Nissan also has upped the ante
with new electric-drive four-wheel-control technology from e-4ORCE, which
optimises the balance between powerful and unprecedented control, with a smooth
ride for all, thanks to superior handling on a wide range of surfaces.

Where does the hybrid sit in the SUV scheme of things? The Mitsubishi Outlander
comes only as a plug-in hybrid, while direct competition comes from Toyota’s RAV4
hybrid AWD and GWM Haval H6 Ultra hybrids. The Tesla Model Y is fully electric
and there’s no hybrid Kia Sportage or Hyundai Tucson as yet.

The X-Trail hybrid comes only in the premium Ti and Ti-L models with a starting
price of $54,190, plus on-road costs, putting the hybrids $4200 above their 2.5-litre
petrol-only siblings. They are both covered by the standard Nissan warranty of five
years unlimited kilometres with capped price servicing and prepaid maintenance

At a tad under 4.7 metres long, a bit over 1.8 metres wide, and 1.7 metres tall, the
fourth-generation X-Trail squarely takes a mid-size SUV spot and follows a distinctly
Nissan angular design direction, sharing several sharp lines with the Pathfinder and
Qashqai, the e-Power hybrids differing from equivalent combustion-engine- only models
with a revised V-Motion grille and badging.

Lighting is up present-day standards with auto LED headlamps, LED tail-lights, daytime
running lights and fog lights. The 19-inch alloy wheels, a floating roofline with panoramic
sunroof, auto rain-sensing wipers put the finishing touches to the newcomers.

Inside, the surroundings are a blend of quality craftsmanship and materials
highlighting comfort and convenience all round. Comfort is covered by 10-way
power-adjustable (and heated) front seats, three-zone climate control, six-speaker audio
(with digital radio), leather-accented trim, a leather-trimmed steering wheel.

Move to the back and the first thing you notice is the rear door opening to 85 degrees,
which makes it easier to get in and out. The rear seats (split 40 / 20 / 40) can slide
forward for more boot space, or back for maximum passenger room.

With all seats upright cargo space is 575 litres, a mere 10 litres less than the combustion-
only X-Trail. Lower the rear seat and that volume increases to around 2000 litres. A
power tailgate eases loading. There’s no spare wheel of any sort, only a puncture kit.

The centre console has a floating design, with room for large items in a rubberised
section underneath. A shift-by-wire gear selector is compact and user-friendly. Also
on hand are buttons for EV and e-Pedal modes, as well as a rotary dial to access drive
and terrain systems.

The all-new X-Trail Ti and Ti-L hybrids continue the debut of three new info displays,
including a 12.3-inch touch-screen, 10.8-inch head-up windscreen display and 12.3-
inch digital instrument cluster, with customisation of information clearly and easily

Smartphone integration has been upgraded with wireless smartphone charging and
wireless Apple CarPlay for seamless connectivity, along with additional USB-A and
USB-C charge ports for keeping smartphones and tablets topped up.

Nissan’s e-POWER system includes a petrol engine with a power generator,
inverter, battery and an electric motor. The electric motor delivers power directly to
the wheels, using energy stored in the battery pack.

Used for charging the battery pack or powering the electric motor, the petrol engine
eliminates the need for an EV charger. There is no direct link with the wheels.
Towing capacity for e-POWER models is rated at 1650 kg, compared to 2000 kg for
petrol versions.

The X-Trail hybrids earn a five-star ANCAP rating under 2021 test conditions and
added information and testing. Active safety is covered by forward autonomous
emergency braking (pedestrian and cyclist), adaptive cruise control, lane departure
warning and ProPilot lane keeping, traffic sign recognition, rear cross-traffic alert,
driver attention alert, and reverse autonomous emergency braking (pedestrian).

Pedestrians close to the vehicle are alerted by an external audible warning when it is
in almost silent EV mode. Seven airbags include a centre airbag between front seat

With responsive electric motor control in factions of a second and instantaneous
torque on tap, e-Power delivers smooth almost silent acceleration off the mark,
courtesy of noise cancelling measures in the cabin.

When called on for more power, the petrol engine and generator chime in with a non-
too unpleasant hum, keeping the battery pack charged and, if needed, directly
powering the electric motor. There is no direct connection between the engine and
wheels, the power plant acting only as a generator recharging the battery through an

EV or e-Pedal control are instigated by means of buttons on the centre console. EV
is what it says – no petrol engine input here – and can be operated for a short
distance. On test, press of the EV button was answered by a message saying the
battery was not charged enough to sustain electric-only operation. Maybe at a later

The e-Pedal had no such impediment, leaving the accelerator to apply the brakes
automatically when the foot was lifted off, calling on the regenerating capacity to
slow the car almost to a halt.

Nissan claims combined urban / highway fuel consumption of 6.1 litres per 100
kilometres. The test car recorded 7.4 litres per 100 kilometres during a normal
working week in the city and 4.8 kilometres per 100 kilometres on a motorway run.

In its performance the Nissan X-Trail Ti e-POWER with e-4ORCE does lean more to
the full electric vehicle rather than the hybrid SUV. However, there’s the added
running cost of buying petrol. The premium purchase price over petrol-only models is
covered somewhat by the increased Ti / Ti-L equipment

Looks: 7/10
Performance: 8/10
Safety: 8/10
Thirst: 8/10
Practicality: 7/10
Comfort: 7/10
Tech: 7/10
Value: 6/10


Nissan X-Trail ST 2WD 5-seat: $36,750
Nissan X-Trail ST AWD 7-seat: $39,790
Nissan X-Trail ST-L 2WD 5-seat: $43,190
Nissan X-Trail ST-L AWD 7-seat: $46,290
Nissan X-Trail Ti AWD 5-seat: $49,990
Nissan X-Trail Ti-L AWD 5-seat: $52,990
Nissan X-Trail Ti e-Power with e-4orce: $54,190
Nissan X-Trail Ti-L e-Power with e-4orce: $57,190
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact
your local Nissan dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Nissan X-Trail Ti AWD 1.5L 3-cylinder turbocharged petrol,
single-speed automatic, AWD SUV)

Configuration: three cylinders
Electric motors:
Front 150 kW / 330 Nm; Rear 100 kW / 195 Nm
Total power: 157 kW
Fuel Type: Petrol 95 RON
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 6.1 L/100km
CO2 emissions (combined): 139g / 100 km

DRIVELINE: single-speed automatic, all-wheel drive

Length: 4680 mm
Wheelbase: 2705 mm
Width: 2065 mm
Height: 1725 mm
Turning Circle: 11.1 metres
Kerb Mass: 1911 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 55 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc

Five years / unlimited kilometres

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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