Design of third-gen X-Trail remains largely intact with earlier Hi-Cross concept
It looks completely different now...
It is, and that's probably because Nissan was stung by criticism that the second-generation X-Trail (sitting in Thai showrooms today) is too boxy and frumpy in appearance.
The new X-Trail you see here is making its world debut in Frankfurt this month and finally gets the sleek lines that were earlier previewed in the Hi-Cross concept. Note the wavy side profile and slim LED lights.
While this may not concern Thais, the new X-Trail is now called Rogue in the US where it previously was more closely associated in design to the European Qashqai and Japanese Dualis tarmac-biased compact SUVs.
The X-Trail's interior also reveals a classier feel in relation to the prior's utilitarian ambience. Nissan says it is now more comfortable and quiet inside when on the move.
The X-Trail is made on the Nissan/Renault CMF platform that will also be used for many other global applications.
Has interior practicality been traded off by the sleeker looks?
According to Nissan, it hasn't. In fact, the Japanese maker claims that the wheelbase is now longer (by how much it hasn't revealed yet) to help increase knee room for those in the middle row.
The centre chairs can slide, recline and fold flat in three parts. Also, there is now an option of having a third-row bench fitted in the boot, itself said to be very cavernous in five-seat form _ just like in the previous model.
Enhancing the driver's life are the brand's new NissanConnect and all-round exterior-view camera systems, as well as driving aids like blind spot recognition, lane departure warning and anticipatory measures to prevent frontal collision, the ability to adjust suspension to suit the road surface ahead and engine-braking to reduce pedal effort.
Cool. Any new engines?
Nissan says the engine line-up will be announced later, so there's a likelihood that they will be new.
While America's Rogue is confirmed to get a 170hp 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine, Nissan has hinted at a downsized version for Europe, probably in the guise of a 1.6-litre petrol-turbo to match the maker's goals of "refinement and economy".
Today, Thais are being offered a 2.0-litre non-turbo petrolhead that's relatively tax-friendly but no so rich in performance. It remains to be seen whether this block will be upgraded with direct-injection (the Japanese already get this in the second-gen model) to improve both oomph and economy.
What about diesel?
That's another option already available in Europe and Japan. It would be great if Nissan also considered a diesel for Thailand because the Chevrolet Captiva has got one and next month's Mazda CX-5 will have it too.
Nissan is in an even better position than Mazda because its 2.0-litre diesel has a 5% advantage in excise tax over the CX-5's 2.2-litre unit.
What could hamper the X-Trail's chances of going diesel in Thailand is its place of assembly in Indonesia, where the demand is still for petrol power, and Nissan's plan of making a diesel-powered SUV based on the all-new Navara pickup due in 2015.
Expect the new X-Trail to hit Thai showrooms early next year at the latest.
About the author
- Writer: Richard Leu
Position: Motoring news Editor