NISSAN has revealed its crucial fourth-generation X-Trail medium SUV, which ushers in a comprehensive redesign inside and out, enhanced technology and connectivity, and likely new alternative powertrains for Australia.
Unveiled in the United States this week, where it is known as the Rogue, the all-new X-Trail is not expected to arrive in Australia until late next year or early 2022.
However, in an interview with GoAuto, Nissan Australia managing director Stephen Lester said he was excited about the prospects of the new-generation X-Trail, which he said clearly addressed the need for modernisation and would stimulate sales for what is the Japanese brand’s top-selling nameplate in this market.
Mr Lester also said he was confident the design of the new X-Trail, and all forthcoming new-generation models from the company, would maintain its distinctive ‘Nissan-ness’ and not simply be repeated by partner brands – Mitsubishi (with Outlander, for example) and Renault (with Koleos) – under the global auto alliance’s latest corporate plan which will see them sharing not only platforms and various mechanical components but upper bodies as well.
“I think it (X-Trail) really looks exceptional and it clearly addresses some of the modernity and design features customers are looking for in that mid-sized SUV range,” Mr Lester said.
“So I’m really excited about it, I think the lines look great, it looks very masculine and sporty and we’ll be really excited when we can get it to Australia.”
Although sales of almost every SUV in this category have taken a beating this year due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, X-Trail remains the third-biggest-selling model in class behind the Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5.
Last year, X-Trail racked up 19,726 sales, down slightly on the record 21,192 posted a year earlier.
“I think nothing spurs sales and attention like brand-new product, especially when it comes in such an appealing package and in a segment that is so very strong even globally, one of the most important segments in the world, so it will fit in perfectly for us here in Australia,” Mr Lester said.
Asked how Nissan would retain its brand identity with key new models such as X-Trail under the alliance’s new ‘leader-follower’ strategy, Mr Lester also emphasised that “you can certainly see within our exterior design of vehicles, the consistency and very specific notations of design elements … that will most certainly be maintained”.
“We can also see that in some of the interior and some of the tech features and packages we’ve brought to light,” he added. “We see it in powertrains and our views on electrification and how we’ll bring that technology through more and more vehicles.
“So those are all areas that will help us protect that Nissan DNA.”
Along with the all-new second-generation Juke that arrives in showrooms this week, the X-Trail is one of multiple Nissan models to be updated or overhauled in the next 12 to 18 months.
Other models due for a generational changeover include the Pathfinder seven-seat large SUV and Qashqai compact SUV.
While the US Rogue was revealed with only a carryover 2.5-litre normally aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine producing 135kW/245Nm, the success of X-Trail’s main local competitors – namely the RAV4 hybrid – will spur the introduction of alternative-powertrain variants for the Australian market.
“There’s no question that some of the other brands have been successful as of late with alternative powertrains to just ICE (internal combustion engines), and we will definitely be in that same planning space whereby we will provide alternative powertrains to simply ICE as we go forward,” Mr Lester said.
It is not yet known what shape the alternative powertrain will take – be it a conventional self-charging hybrid, a plug-in hybrid or Nissan’s e-Power electric motor-drive hybrid – but Mr Lester said the company would go into detail about its low-emissions options in the near future.
The fourth-generation X-Trail is based on an all-new version of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance’s CMF-CD architecture, and measures 42mm shorter in length and 41mm lower in height, while standing 19mm wider with an identical wheelbase length.
From the outside, the redesigned model features a heavily revised front fascia, with a look that is starting to become a theme on new Nissans with sharply styled two-part LED headlights that flow into the central V-Motion grille.
Character lines run from above the front wheelarches to the rear of the vehicle, while the back end carries slimmer tail-lights and a chrome-plated underbody guard.
Two-tone body paint with a black roof will also be made available for the first time.
Inside, X-Trail has been fully updated with the addition of a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster on higher grades (lower grades will have a 7.0-inch unit), which combines with a 10.8-inch full-colour head-up display to give the driver a new level of available information.
The 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system has been upgraded to a 9.0-inch screen with Nissan’s latest multimedia interface which allows for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility (wireless for the former), Google Assistant and hands-free text messaging assistant.
Wireless phone charging, a Bose premium audio system, three-zone climate control, heated steering wheel, front and rear seats and quilted semi-aniline leather seats with different colour options are all available depending on the variant, while Nissan has designed the interior to be more family-friendly with wider-opening rear doors, a more convenient locking/unlocking system and a rear-opening centre console.
On the safety front, Nissan has added to its ProPilot active safety suite with the addition of the new Navi-Link feature which combines with the sat-nav to allow autonomous features like slowing down for planned freeway exits or junctions.
The ProPilot system has also been tweaked for better steering assist feel, smoother braking and better radar detection abilities.
Power steering now features a quicker gear ratio, while the revised Vehicle Motion Control system is said to improve driving dynamics and smoothness.
As mentioned, a 135kW/245Nm 2.5-litre petrol engine will be available (up 9kW/19Nm), driving either the front or all four wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
It is not yet known if Australian versions will continue on with the option of a 130kW/380Nm 2.0-litre turbo-diesel unit, or the smaller 106kW/200Nm petrol and five-speed manual in the entry-level ST.
More local details on the all-new X-Trail are expected to emerge in the near future.