THE all-new, fourth generation Nissan X-Trail is about to land in UK dealerships marking the next stage of the Japanese brand's electrified product offensive.
But, while it boasts plenty of clever hybrid tech, this latest model doesn't quite go the full electrified monty - which will doubtless delight the many drivers who aren't yet willing to go the full EV route thanks to the soaring cost of both fully electrified models and the electricity needed to power them.
And, as if to emphasise the point, Nissan has adopted an interesting pricing strategy, quoting starting prices for mild hybrid versions with ‘add-on' option pricing for both the full hybrid versions and four-wheel-drive models.
So, while the entry-level, front wheel drive Visia model powered by a 1.5 litre petrol turbo engine with 12v mild hybrid system starts at Â£32,030, opting for the more technically advanced and efficient full hybrid e-POWER power train will cost an additional Â£2,435 while four-wheel-drive - which Nissan calls e-4ORCE - adds an extra Â£2,200.
It's clever marketing for a very clever full hybrid system and Nissan believes that most buyers will go for this option which the company says offers the EV-drive feeling without the need to recharge.
The system combines a 1.5 litre turbocharged variable compression ratio petrol engine with a high-output battery and 150kW front electric motor - two of them in the case of the four-wheel-drive version.
The defining feature of the powertrain is that the petrol engine is used solely to generate electricity, whilst the wheels are completely driven by the electric motor. This means the engine can always run within its optimal range, leading to superior fuel efficiency in urban settings. The company quotes officially tested fuel consumption figures of up to 48.6mpg for the front-wheel-drive model and 44.7 with all-wheel-drive.
Another clever feature is Nissan's so-called e-Pedal Step which allows drivers to accelerate and brake using only the accelerator. Once activated by a dashboard control, the system automatically brakes the car to a "creeping" speed, not a complete stop, when the driver takes his or her foot off the throttle.
Like its sibling, the Qashqai, the all-new X-Trail is based on the Renault-Nissan Alliance's CMF-C platform and comes with an updated Macpherson strut set-up at the front with an advanced rear multi-link set-up. The power-steering set-up has been upgraded to provide improved response and better feeling.
In terms of styling, the latest X-Trail is rugged, but relatively conservative compared with some recent rivals while the cabin features new premium materials, smart features and plenty of tech including an advanced infotainment system with a portfolio of connected services, in-car Wi-Fi for up to seven devices, NissanConnect Services and a dedicated app which owners can use to interact with and monitor the vehicle.
There's a larger, higher resolution 12.3-inch display screen combining navigation, entertainment and vehicle settings plus a new 10.8-inch Head-Up Display (HUD) projecting key navigation, driver assistance and road information onto the windscreen.
The new X-Trail's comprehensive suite of advanced safety features includes Intelligent Forward Emergency Braking with predictive function which uses advanced radar technology to read the road beyond the car in front to detect if a vehicle suddenly brakes. If that happens, the system will apply the car's own brakes to reduce the likelihood of a collision.
The latest X-Trail is available with a choice of five or seven-seater configurations, the latter a £1,000 extra-cost option. When the two rear seats are not in use, Nissan claims that the resulting boot space puts the X-Trail among the leaders in its category for luggage space, with a total capacity of 585 litres, an increase of 20 litres on the outgoing model.
Five trim levels are available - Visia, Accenta Premium, N-Connecta, Tekna and Tekna Plus - with first deliveries slated for next month.
Says Nissan GB managing director Andrew Humberstone: "We're excited that this icon which is synonymous with family adventures will be joining the Nissan range soon. We are confident that customers will love its unique combination of electrified performance, steady handling and robust practicality. As one would expect from a Nissan, it will offer unique customer appeal and we can't wait to see it in our showrooms."