All-new Nissan X-Trail breaks cover
It boasts enhanced looks, convenience features and improved driveability
The Nissan X-Trail (or the Rogue as it's know in the US) is popular here in SA and has been a successful model for the Japanese brand thanks to laudable practicality and uncomplicated and reliable mechanicals.
This week the company unveiled the latest Rogue in the US, as the third generation of the model that debuted back in the year 2000.
Much of the outgoing version’s appeal lay in the parameters of its being on par or cheaper than segment rivals while offering space for five or seven passengers. This makes it attractive above a raft of rivals that include five-seaters from Hyundai, Kia, Mazda and Volkswagen. However the 2020 version has been shown in five-seat guise.
This latest model, though designed on a completely new and better refined platform, remains the same size as the outgoing mode with a wheel base of 2,705mm. But it’s 3.8cm shorter with a half a centimetre lower roofline. It’s a sign of times in the middleweight SUV population which are growing stockier and sportier.
It arrives wearing a fresher exterior design than its predecessor did. The prominent V-motion grille corporate look as found on other current Nissan products like the Micra is successfully implemented for a distinct, rugged yet premium crossover look.
The body features aerodynamic enhancements in the form of “3D” tyre deflectors in the lower front fascia, an active grille shutter to control air flow into the engine compartment, and underbody covering to manage air flow.
Overall it’s a more exciting and sharper look than ever before and should be more striking with a wide range of colour combinations, including — for the first time — five two-tone combinations.
The betterment continues inside a modern cabin with premium amenities. There are heated front and rear leather-clad seats while the top model Platinum grade gets quilted semi-aniline leather covering. There are three interior colour schemes on offer — charcoal, grey and tan.
The rear bench is a split one-touch fold-down operation with a motion activated tailgate offering access to the cargo area with a nifty Divide-n-Hide packing system that provides hidden and secure storage.
Sophisticated luxury and convenience items include wireless connectivity to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, voice-activated Google Maps and Waze, wireless smartphone charging located on the centre console and varied USB type ports.
Standard fitments extend to Bluetooth, hands-free text messaging, streaming of audio, a Google Assistant and SiriusXM Radio subscription can be had optionally.
A full-colour 27.4cm head-up display, 31.2cm digital dashboard, gauge cluster and a 22.8cm floating, central touch screen display. The latter screen provides imagery for navigation, audio and rear view monitor with 360 degree views.
One of Nissan’s pioneering technologies is ProPILOT Assist. This system offers a hands-on, driver- assist technology of steering assist, intelligent cruise control, self-brake and accelerate feature in both heavy and light traffic volume scenarios.
For 2020, ProPILOT Assist is said to be improved using next-generation radar and camera technology to provide smoother braking, better steering assist feel and improved obstacle detection, especially when other vehicles cut into the lane.
Powering the new X-Trail is a 2.5l four cylinder engine with Nissan’s Direct Injection Gasoline (DIGTM) system. It produces 135kW, up from 126kW, and 245Nm which is increased from 233Nm of the old motor. It’s said to have lower fuel consumption totals and an all-new Vehicle Motion Control system.
“This is technology that does what a human can’t,” said Chris Reed, senior vice-president, research & development, Nissan Technical Center North America. “The all-new Vehicle Motion Control predicts what the driver is trying to do to do by monitoring steering, acceleration and braking. It can then step in and help to smooth things out.”
Vehicle Motion Control works in conjunction with the available enhanced Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system with a drive mode selector.
A chassis control module monitors and adjusts engine, transmission, Vehicle Dynamic Control, all-wheel drive and steering functions while front-wheel drive models get three drive modes: Sport, Standard and Eco. AWD models add Off-road and Snow modes.
The new SUV also features a new electric power steering with quicker ratios.
In the US, where the car was launched, the entry level models sell for $26,000 (R447,572) while the range topping models are said to approach $40,000 (R689,140.)
The local introduction date is not yet confirmed but according to Nissan SA product communications officer Veralda Schmidt the popularity of this model makes it a certainty for SA. More details will be communicated closer to its availability.