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First drive: Nissan X-Trail

Date: 21 November 2022   |   Author: Martyn Collins

The fourth-generation X-Trail follows Nissan's move to electrification, debuting clever technology - but is it an EV alternative?
Standard equipment:
20in alloy wheels, premium Bose sound system, black quilted leather trim, glass roof and roof rails, power tailgate, 10.8in head up display, 12.3in Nissan Connect infotainment system.
Mild hybrid: 163hp 1.5
e-POWER hybrid: 204hp 1.5, 213hp 1.5
Equipment grades:
Visia, Acenta Premium, N-Connecta, Tekna, Tekna+
Xtronic stepped continuously variable transmission.

The Qashqai might get all the attention, but the X-Trail is also a key model for Nissan with 138,599 cars finding UK homes - some to fleet buyers - over four generations. 

It is also Nissan's best-selling car globally and has already been on sale in the US for the past two years as the Rogue. The reason for the delay is that Europe had to wait for this X-Trail's new drivetrain called e-4ORCE. 

Built on the CMF-D platform, this is largely the same as the smaller Qashqai, as such its the same e-POWER series hybrid, to which e-4ORCE is added. The way the e-POWER system works means that the wheels are driven by an electric motor, with the variable compression 1.5-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine used to charge them. Variable compression allows this engine to change the position of the pistons for economy or performance. 

The petrol engine, charged by the 2.1kWh battery, then in turn powers a front axle-mounted electric motor - the same as the Qashqai. However, on e-4ORCE versions there's another rear axle-mounted electric motor, equalling four-wheel drive. Total power with electric motors is 213hp, with a 0-62 acceleration time of 7.2 seconds - but it never felt that quick to us. In fact, the e-POWER feels more like a (slower) EV on the road, which Nissan believes is one of the benefits. So, this X-Trail starts of in near silence - the only noise being an audible hum from the electric motor from which it is powered. However, even the lightest tickle from the throttle is enough for the engine to join in, with its three-cylinder soundtrack. 

Driving modes are supposed to vary the driving experience, although there is not much difference in terms of how they feel. Apart from the Sport mode changing the steering weighting and making the engine feel a little bit more eager and a lot more vocal. 

The other notable change of driving mode is in off-road mode. Where power from the extra rear electric motor is metered via torque-vectoring - equalling impressive grip in the rough stuff. It's certainly more capable than any X-Trail owner is rationally going to need. There are also hill ascent and descent controls, which work well. However, at over £2,000 extra, we wonder if many will stick with 2WD.

If e-POWER isn't up your street, there's also a mild hybrid version using the same 1.5-litre engine and 12V technology boasting 163hp.

On the road, the X-Trail impresses with its comfortable, composed ride - even on the 20in wheels of our test car. Elsewhere, the steering feels reasonably precise and while there is some body roll, the X-Trail is a tidy handler. 

On top of its unusual drivetrain, the X-Trail's other USP is the fact that it can be specified with seven-seats. Although, the rear rwo are small and only for children or small adults, on short journeys. Elsewhere, this Nissan's interior feels spacious, well finished and like the Qashqai, the rear doors have 85-degree opening for easy access. With the third-row seats folded, there's a practical 575 litre boot, too. Five-seat versions of the N-Connecta and Tekna grades are expected to be fleet favourites.

Outside, the X-Trail's styling is more evolution than revolution, but it looks attractive and distinctive enough against the Qashqai. 

So, with the new X-Trail e-POWER, you've got a car that drives like an EV, with excellent off-road performance and decent practicality. The only downside is this Nissan's performance and 42.2mpg and 34% BIK figure can't match the EV running costs - it's still a decent stepping stone to an EV, however. 

Nissan X-Trail Tekna+ e-POWER e-4ORCE 

P11D: £47,880

Residual value: 41.0%

Depreciation: £28,220

Fuel: £10,532

Service, maintenance and repair: £3,205

Cost per mile: 69.92p

Fuel consumption: 42.2 mpg

CO2 (BIK %): 152g/km (35%) 

BIK 20/40% a month: £279/£558

Luggage capacity: 575 litres

Engine size/power: 1.5-litre+2.1kWh battery/213hp


  • Attractive styling
  • Practical and spacious interior
  • Refined ride
  • Refinement suffers if worked hard
  • Small boot with extra seats in place
  • Not as efficient as you might expect