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Nissan X-Trail hybrid: ePower unveiled in Japan, coming to Australia to rival RAV4


Nissan has announced its X-Trail SUV will receive an ePower hybrid powertrain in Japan and it will soon be on the way to Australia

Nissan has shown off the hybrid version of its new-generation X-Trail midsize SUV in Japan, with the crossover utilising the latest iteration of the brand’s ePower petrol-electric powertrain.

The ePower-equipped X-Trail is expected to launch in Australia in 2023, following Nissan’s launch of the petrol-only 2.5-litre model between October and December this year.

Nissan X-Trail ePower 2022 front 3/4
Nissan has unveiled the ePower-driven X-Trail

Unlike Toyota which uses a traditional series-parallel hybrid system, using one or more electric motors in tandem with a petrol engine, Nissan’s e-Power operates more similar to a fully electric vehicle.

Equipped with this more fuel-efficient drivetrain, the X-Trail will be better equipped to take on the popular Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, Subaru Forester Hybrid and the closely-related Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

ePower to utilise variable compression engine

Nissan’s ePower system functions by using the petrol engine as a generator that recharges the battery to power one or more electric motors. This system is already available on both its Qashqai small SUV and the Note small car.

The ePower-equipped X-Trail is available in Japan in either front- or all-wheel-drive, with the latter version making use of a 150kW/330Nm electric motor on the front axle and 100kW/195Nm motor at the rear.

Keeping these motors topped up with electricity is a 106kW/250Nm turbocharged combustion engine that makes use of Nissan’s Variable Compression technology. This system allows the engine to raise or lower its compression ratio to increase fuel efficiency or access more power respectively.

Nissan X-Trail 2022 engine
The Variable Compression engine is expected to be the 1.5-litre turbo-triple found in the US model

No other details on this engine were provided but it’s likely that this engine is a modified version of the 1.5-litre turbo-petrol three-cylinder which is sold in the US market X-Trail (badged the Rogue) without the assistance of any electric motors. 

Nissan has yet to quote any fuel efficiency figures for the X-Trail ePower but with the smaller Qashqai using just 5.3L/100km in combined conditions, it’s likely that the midsizer will see a consumption figure in the 6L/100km range. 

This would be a noticeable improvement over the 7.9L/100km consumption in the outgoing X-Trail in ST FWD guise when equipped with the 2.5-litre engine.

The hybrid system is also said to be quieter than the outgoing model thanks to tunning of the variable compression engine and the increased use of sound deadening in Japanese-specified models.

X-Trail coming in Q4 2022

Nissan Australia has already confirmed pricing and specification details for the X-Trail which will arrive between October and December in a choice of either five or seven seats.

A total of four grades will be offered at launch, with prices ranging from $36,750 to $52,990 before on-road costs, though top-spec hybrid models will likely cost closer to $60,000. 

Standard features include an 9.0-inch infotainment screen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android, LED headlights, a smattering of USB A and C ports as well as safety features like forwards AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection and even rear AEB.

But if you want an X-Trail with all the fruit, Nissan will add Nappa leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, a larger 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen and wireless connectivity for the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

Nissan X-Trail ePower 2022 front 3/4 driving
Nissan says eForce can assist with better handling and provide a more comfortable ride

eForce explained

Nissan’s eForce technology is used on its ePower-equipped hybrid vehicles and fully-electric cars, such as the Ariya, and essentially functions by using the electric motors to enhance handling and the driving experience.

In AWD-equipped X-Trail models, Nissan says the medium SUV coasts in FWD mode the majority of the time but when entering a corner the outside wheels are given more power while the inside wheels slow down to provide tighter corning. 

By using the rear electric motor, Nissan says the hybrid system is also able to slow down more slowly by gently braking from the rear and avoiding any forwards and backwards rocking movements.