'Trail blazer | 

The 4th-gen Nissan X-Trail is about to arrive and it is their best one yet

Nissan’s 7-seater got a fancy make over with an ePower engine...and we travelled to Slovenia to get a ‘first drive’.

Daragh with the new X-Trail

Daragh had a go of the new X-Trail on a specialised track in Slovenia

The interior of the Nissan X Trail

Daragh with the new X-Trail

Daragh KeanySunday World

Full confession. I’ve had an irrational detestation for the Nissan X-Trail for over a decade since a lady I know bought one. It was the hearse-like second-generation version and I hated it.

When she was upgrading to a new seven-seater a few years ago I urged her to opt for the Skoda Kodiaq, but by the time I had fully enquired about waiting lists and range specs on her behalf, she had already stubbornly sashayed into the dealer and swapped the Mk2 for the Mk3 X-Trail.

Even though the newer version was better looking, it annoyed me far more than it should.

Now it’s October of 2022 and I am in Slovenia with Nissan for the unveiling of the fourth generation! A far cry from the funeral car of a decade ago, the Japanese designers have given this softer corners, stylish detailing and a whole host of impressive features.

Daragh had a go of the new X-Trail on a specialised track in Slovenia

Don’t think that ‘softer corners’ means big long curves. There is still no denying that this is a big powerful and strong 7-seater SUV, but it is certainly more pleasing on the eye. Dare I say it is even ‘great looking’.

As part of the international launch the lucky few motor journalists got to take the family car on an adventure through the Slovenian mountains and around the world-famous Lake Bled. We also got a chance to test out of loads of the X-Trail’s e-Power safety and comfort features on a specialised track.

As much fun as it was to drive around 30-degree chicanes and over rough terrain perfectly demonstrating its full capabilities, the fact is that no one who buys one of these cars will ever have to worry about the contrived driving conditions of Nissan’s makeshift driving school in the shadow of Ljubljiana Airport.

The interior of the Nissan X Trail

The real test, however, was the two days of driving we did that traversed mountains and forests and motorways and myriad minuscule towns with streets barely just wide enough to fit a 2,065mm car through.

The company’s main objective with their e-Power badging is to deliver a simulated EV driving experience. It is a hugely positive step forward for the company, but its efficiency isn’t on a par with a full EV.

The ride quality is very good though and the comfort levels and storage amounts available to you give you an altogether superior option over the more popular Qashqai.

The refinement is mostly on a par with a similarly sized EV, but it fails to replicate the performance and efficiency benefits of a pure-electric powertrain. The ride quality and practicality on offer do help it stand out from the Qashqai, however.

The Qashqai has been the company’s flagship for a long time here in Ireland, even reaching the dizzy heights of the number 2 selling car a few years in a row, but since then the likes of the Micra, Leaf and Juke have given it a good run for its money.

Well now the X-Trail is back and this version is by far the best yet. Known as the Nissan Rogue in the US, it finally lands here in dealerships and has the potential to do really well.

The only stumbling block may be the asking price. While you can buy one for a smidge under €46k you are only getting the entry level spec and it only comes with five seats.

The addition of row 3 into any spec of the new X-Trail will cost you an extra €9k which means the cheapest 7-seater they sell is €55k and that is the SV line. If you want to opt for the far more appealing and highly recommended SV Premium trim you will need to bring another €3k to the table. That’s the bad news. And really, it’s the only major negative because in truth, this is a great car and I would be thrilled to have it sitting in my driveway.

Daragh with the new X-Trail

Their e-POWER system is comprised of a high-output battery and powertrain integrated with a variable compression ratio petrol engine, power generator, inverter and 150kW front electric motor. Basically, this means that power to the wheels comes only from an electric motor, which results in instant, linear response to the accelerator.

To system has been upgraded to a 1.5-litre Variable Compression Ratio turbo petrol engine, with a final system power output of 150kW (204PS).

There is also a new ‘one pedal’ driving experience called e-Pedal Step which will come in very handy for school runs and suburban commutes.

I plan to get a full test week later in the year when I will delve deeper into the efficiency and driveability. But as ‘first drives’ and early impressions go, the X-Trail is something to keep a close eye on if you are in the market for a fun, good looking, comfortable and safe family car with a 7-seat option and hybrid tech on board.

Put it this way – if my pal wants to go again on her third X-Trail back to back I will struggle to talk her out of it this time!


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