Nissan’s crucial new medium SUV has gained a hybrid option, claimed to deliver the driving experience of an electric car, without a charging plug.
The 2023 Nissan X-Trail has gained a hybrid variant, as a new rival for the top-selling Toyota RAV4 Hybrid – and it’s coming to Australia.
Debuted in Japan, the X-Trail hybrid uses Nissan’s unique e-Power drivetrain, which uses the petrol engine as a generator to power electric motors – rather than driving the wheels with petrol and/or electric power, as is the case in a Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.
Australian launch timing is yet to be locked in, however Nissan’s local arm says the e-Power will launch sometime after the petrol model arrives in late 2022 – suggesting first showroom arrivals sometime in 2023.
Sitting under the bonnet is a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine – equipped with Nissan’s fuel-saving and performance-boosting VC-Turbo technology – which develops 106kW and 250Nm, used to power a small battery pack.
In front-wheel-drive models, the petrol-fuelled battery powers a single 150kW/330Nm electric motor – with all-wheel-drive (AWD) versions adding a second, 100kW/195Nm motor at the rear.
There’s a few thousand rpm of overlap between the peak power outputs of the two motors – suggesting that, in theory, there’s up to 250kW and 525Nm on tap at any one time.
That would make the X-Trail e-Power AWD the most powerful production Nissan X-Trail ever sold in Australia – though Nissan doesn’t claim a 0-100km/h acceleration time to back up its performance.
All-wheel-drive models employ the e-4orce electric AWD system seen in the electric Ariya, which is claimed to be capable of distributing power faster and more precisely than a normal X-Trail’s AWD system, which features a mechanical connection between the front and rear wheels.
Combined fuel economy according to Japanese WLTC testing is rated at 5.1 litres per 100 kilometres in front-drive trim, or 5.4L/100km with AWD.
On the same test procedure, a RAV4 Hybrid can muster 4.7L/100km with front-wheel drive, or as little as 4.9L/100km with all-wheel drive – though the Toyota offers less powerful electric motors, good for ‘only’ 163kW with AWD, once its petrol engine is accounted for.
The X-Trail e-Power offers the same spread of hybrid-specific features as the smaller Qashqai e-Power SUV, including an ‘e-Pedal Step’ mode offering close to ‘one-pedal driving’, where the car slows down automatically once lifting off the throttle (but not bringing the car to a halt).
There’s also an Active Noise Cancellation system to block out road and engine sounds – while in Japan an AC home power socket features, capable of powering small electrical devices at up to 1500W.
The hybrid is offered with the same spread of luxury and tech features as the standard X-Trail, including adaptive LED headlights, ProPilot semi-autonomous driving technology, automatic parking, nappa leather upholstery, dual 12.3-inch screens, and a 10.8-inch head-up display.
The 2023 Nissan X-Trail e-Power hybrid is due in Australian showrooms sometime after the core petrol range, which arrives in late 2022.
Pricing will be confirmed closer to launch, however the X-Trail may follow the Qashqai in limiting its availability to higher specification grades – suggesting a price for a flagship version of close to $60,000 on the road.
Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020. Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines as a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.