Peak system output is 201bhp. If it’s not too much of an oxymoron, think of it as a petrol-powered electric car, with an ICE providing the electricity, rather than a large battery charged from an external source, and you’re pretty much there. In a first in the X-Trail, the e-Power system is offered with four-wheel drive, an additional electric motor powering the rear axle.
Not done with marketing slogans, Nissan has called this electric four-wheel-drive system e-4orce (and we haven’t even got to the e-Pedal yet). It’s also soon to be found on the four-wheel-drive version of the firm’s new electric SUV, the Ariya (driven, p33). Peak system output is 211bhp in this version of the X-Trail, which we’re testing here. Another engine is offered, too – a 12V mild-hybrid 161bhp 1.5-litre petrol, offered with front-wheel drive only and not expected to sell in any great volume.
There’s no plugin hybrid, because Nissan doesn’t believe in those, claiming that its e-Power set-up instead offers the best stepping stone to full electrification. Underpinning the X-Trail is the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance’s CMF-C platform, now familiar from plenty of mid-size models, including the Qashqai. Multi-link rear suspension features as standard on a car offered in both five-seat and (tested here) seven-seat forms.
Both share a sliding middle row of seats with a 60/40 split, and the latter version gets two small seats that fold flat into the boot floor. They are suitable mainly for children but also for adults on shorter journeys, so long as they are not too tall. At 485 litres, the boot is a good, usable size in this seven-seater with the rearmost seats folded down, but it’s well short of the 571 litres in the Hyundai Santa Fe seven-seater. The rear of the cabin is a bright and airy space, made even more so by the optional panoramic roof that featured on our test car.
The environment for the driver is pleasing, too. There’s a commanding driving position and a comfortable seat, and all the major controls fall easily to hand. The previous generation of Nissans were getting rather bewildering with their arrays of buttons, whereas these new models are more streamlined and easier to navigate. Thankfully, Nissan hasn’t leapt into the regrettable touchscreen-only approach of some misguided ∆car makers, so there’s a nice mix of analogue and digital here, including a brace of 12.3in screens featuring the dials and infotainment system.