e-POWER with e-FORCE

The all-new fourth-generation, X-Trail e-POWER with e-4ORCE is Nissan’s most advanced SUV to date. What impressed me was the fact you get the drive experience of an electric vehicle, without needing to plug it in, and then wait around until it’s charged. Nice.

The great advantage of Nissan’s e-POWER technology is the driven wheels are powered exclusively by electric motors, granting plenty of immediate exhilaration behind the wheel, with a steady and silky response typical of an EV. And unlike regular hybrid configurations, the X-Trail ensures a continuous and seamless experience.

Adam Paterson, the Managing Director of Nissan Australia, explains that this is an ideal solution….

,…it provides the fast acceleration of an electric vehicle without the inconvenience and time-consuming process of having to charge it.

It’s worth noting; the X-Trail e-POWER with e-4ORCE is faster and more powerful than its standard 2.5L traditional Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) counterpart. Plus, you keep all the benefits and driving characteristics of an EV without a dependency on a public charging station.

The X-Trail family starts with the Ti e-POWER with e-4ORCE ($58,636 MSRP*). The range-topping X-Trail Ti-L e-POWER with e-4ORCE ($61,786 MSRP*) follows, both of which command a $4200 price tag above their ICE siblings and are available solely as five seaters.

Interestingly, the e-4ORCE twin-motor all-wheel-drive setup is the only option available in Australia, adding to the model’s flagship reputation within the X-Trail line.

Outwardly, the X-Trail Ti-L cuts a rather smart looking exterior design.

Thanks to blacked out A and B pillars, the uniquely shaped body coloured C-pillar enhances and accentuates the modern floating roof design with its panoramic sunroof, bringing further emphasis to the curved LED rear taillights. While heavy, strong horizontal lines cut a deep swathe through the power operated tail gate door from left to right symmetrically accenting the black bumper and emphasising the deep broad rear silver valance.

Wearing Nissan’s unified aesthetic DNA up front, the X-Trail sports the now easily recognisable V-motion grill, with the e-POWER variants gaining a unique finish.

Smart looking adaptive matrix LED headlights are mounted low and recessed into the front bumper, tapering rewards at the outer edges merging into the bold vertical recess for the font air ducts. Below, the lower front fascia has an active grille shutter to regulate air flow into the engine compartment.

There are wheel arch flares, handsome 20-inch alloys, and a chrome garnish that draws your eye to the subtle yet unique tapered inset feature on the base of the doors to round out the X-Trail’s more than passive good looks.

X-Trail e-POWER models boast a choice of eight exterior colour options.

You can choose Scarlet Ember, Diamond Black, Brilliant Silver and Gun Metallic.

For those who prefer to express themselves further; Ivory Pearl, Caspian Blue, Sunset Orange, and Champagne Silver also come with the option of a contrasting black roof at an extra $1200.

Inside, the cabin has a new design with premium materials and smart features. Thoughtful attention has been given to the ergonomics and tactile sensation of the switchgear and buttons, for a more upmarket, quality feel. The Ti-L is overflowing with quality features. You get remote engine start, genuine quilted Nappa leather-accented heated seats front and rear with 10-way power adjustment and memory function for the fronts. There’s a wonderful multi-function heated leather-accented steering wheel, perfect for early cold mornings or late evenings on your way home from the restaurant.

And should the weather turn inclement, no problem, the auto wipers have got you covered.

For driver convenience, the console is racked and stacked. There is a smart-looking gear selection e-shifter, you have multidrive mode selector, and e-park brake, plus holders for a macchiato and mocha. The strong and usable 15w wireless charge pad will not only keep your phone running when nearly flat, it will recharge it.

I’ve always liked the “butterfly” designed console lids. They’re compact and so easy to use. Not having that huge cumbersome lid hinged from the back means your rear seat passengers have access to the storage as well, and another clever usage of wasted space is the floating console providing a convenient space to store smaller items such as a wallet or tablet, good job!

 You’ll appreciate the clear digital around view monitor with its clever moving object detection, as it’s the best reassurance you can have in a cramped, poorly lit busy multi story car park. Plus, you get Nissan’s Smart Rear-View Mirror. This is an often under-rated feature which brings some clever benefits. Ever been carrying stacked boxes, had tall passengers in the back seat, or had your fur kid stand up at that critical moment blocking your view? No matter, the mirror contains a built-in LCD display showing images from a camera mounted on the rear of the vehicle. Here’s the clever bit: you can quickly switch between the rear LCD monitor and the standard mirror, allowing you to see traffic conditions behind or easily check on passengers or pets in the back when that annoying grumbling starts.

And whilst we’re talking about making sure our tiny tots, teens or fur kids are safe and comfortable – the tri-zone climate control works a treat on warmer days allowing everyone to enjoy the trip. Happy passengers and a relaxed driver results in a win-win in my books.

In my opinion, what defines a good vehicle is its ability to execute multiple roles well. Take the busy daily commuter that needs to be great in stop-start traffic for shorter runs to the school pick up, piano lessons, kids sporting events on Saturday or mundane shopping trips.

However, at the other end of the scale is spending several hours behind the wheel of a fully laden vehicle, complete with luggage and demanding passengers who want regular snacks or comfort breaks.  Add in the extra hassle of trying to follow directions over unfamiliar roads of variable conditions and the inevitable requirement to overtake slower moving traffic and it can all become very stressful. Meaning you’ll spend the first day of your holiday at that secluded little beach cottage in Esperance, recovering from the drive.

The X-Trail acquits itself with consummate ease in either scenario.

It clearly has a design focused on providing smarter functionality to better meet the needs of active families, busy couples or retirees who want a comfortable, safe vehicle that’s easy to live with, and don’t want to sacrifice flexibility and practicality to deal with life’s little challenges.

The Ti-L boasts an impressive array of technologies, including a 12.3-inch TFT Advanced Drive Assist instrument cluster. Its larger size and high resolution offer a choice of configurable layouts to display navigation, entertainment, traffic, or vehicle information, all controlled from a new tactile dial switch on the steering wheel.

In X-Trail e-POWER models, drivers can also choose the “Energy Flow” screen, which delivers a visual representation of the e-POWER system at work.

Plus, there’s a central 12.3-inch touch screen display for navigation, entertainment and vehicle settings, which is compatible with both Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay.

With driver convenience in mind, you’ll value the benefits of the 10.8-inch Head-Up display projecting key navigation, driver assistance and road information onto the windscreen for easy viewing.

And what’s a road trip without quality entertainment? While it’s not quite best in class, the Bose 10-speaker sound system will place a smile on your face as you tap out a Phil Collins drum solo with your fingertips on the steering wheel as you head south on Friday thinking I love what’s “In The Air Tonight”.

And I loved the simple practicality of straightforward heating/air-conditioning controls, as well as buttons to control audio and navigation.

The X-Trail’s e-POWER with e-4ORCE system, is motivated by a high-powered 2.1kWh battery with an integrated turbo-petrol engine, a power generator, an inverter and two electric motors (150kW front axle, 100kW rear axle).

This adds up to a reasonable combined output of 157kW. This revolutionary power train setup produces direct power to the wheels through the electric motors, providing responsive acceleration.

The supplementary yet highly sophisticated 1.5 Litre 12-valve direct injection and variable compression turbocharged 3-cylinder petrol engine is designed for optimised output, providing high torque from low RPMs in a compact and lightweight form. 

This allows for the engine to stay in its ideal working mode, resulting in optimum fuel consumption in a city environment with Nissan indicating a combined cycle of only 6.1L/100. It’s responsible purely for generating the electricity to power the battery and electric motors. An inverter transmits this electrical supply to the motors, all of which run quietly in the background.

In designing the e-POWER installation, the linear tune plays an integral part, guaranteeing that the petrol engine is turning at the correct speed relative to the velocity of the car and so avoiding the rev-up characteristic of regular hybrids when speeding up. The upshot of this design means the engine only works at the rate required for wherever you are, typically at lower speed in cities and towns. And under strong acceleration, if the battery is depleted, the petrol engine coupled to a 55L fuel tank, will not only charge the battery but also power the electric motors, guaranteeing a smooth ride no matter how much energy is left or what kind of demands the driver is placing on the system, making the little turbo-petrol engine the ideal generator.

From a driveability standpoint, the e-POWER dual electric motor system pumps out 157kW delivering impressive levels of torque and swift acceleration from the get-go, covering the essential 0-100km/h test in just 7.0 seconds. With a near instantaneous response to throttle movement, its void of the typical lag experienced in a normal ICE or older hybrid system, resulting in effortless overtaking and freeway merging capability. And you can pull a small van up to a braked tow capacity of 1,650kg.

Nissan designed the X-Trail with urban driving in mind. The X-Trail is fitted with e-Pedal Step, which can be activated by the switch on the centre console. Once engaged — at speeds above 10km/h — the accelerator will provide acceleration in the usual way. When you let go of the accelerator, it will continually reduce speed to a near walking rate rather than stopping completely, making low-speed parking manoeuvres effortless.

The boffins at Nissan fine-tuned the precision control technology and twin electric motors so the regenerative braking function would provide a smoother vehicle control, and reduce vehicle pitch whilst slowing down, to further improve comfort levels. And there’s a noticeable difference in cabin ambience at lower speeds around the city, as its much quieter than its ICE-powered equivalent. That said, X-Trail e-POWER models are equipped with an Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System, enabling pedestrians and other drivers to hear the vehicle’s presence when in near-silent EV Mode.

On the open road, the X-Trail’s EV Mode offers a tranquil journey at speeds of up to 100 km/h. It has five driving modes, which can be accessed through the twist-dial Drive Mode Selector, are Auto, Eco, Sport, Off-road and Snow. I enjoyed the functionality of activating Sport mode with e-Pedal activated, allowing me to accelerate or slow using one pedal and without touching the brake.

And when it comes to getting on those gravel trails, to explore the magnificent southwest wine region, the e-4ORCE system provides excellent traction and power to the vehicle in any situation. Thanks to its ability for torque redistribution the traction management system operates all the time, by carefully regulating the power and braking functions for every wheel, providing stability and grip on any surface, be it loose gravel, muddy surfaces, or even wet slippery bitumen roads.

The torque vectoring will distribute power to the outer wheels while cornering, which facilitates agility and composure when cornering, allowing the X-Trail to follow its intended path with minimal steering corrections.

Drive to the conditions, and what you’ll notice based on steering response and stability is a greater sense of confidence from behind the wheel allowing your shoulders to rest easy against the backrest, as you can enjoy the drive and not have to over think it.

Supported by Nissan’s advanced CMF-C platform architecture, the X-Trail features Macpherson struts at the front and an advanced multi-link set-up at its rear.

The power-steering system has been improved, providing greater responsiveness to driver directional changes. While the body employs lightweight materials, advanced stamping, and welding procedures to increase increasing strength and accident protection. The front and back entrances, fenders, and hood are all made of aluminium, with the rear door constructed from composite materials, helping reduce the vehicle’s overall weight and improve efficiency.

It’s now even easier to load items, install a children’s seat or simply get in and out of the rear, thanks to the rear passenger doors opening to an 85-degree angle and the ability to slide the rear seats fore and aft.

Passengers in the second row will be assured of comfort thanks to plenty of space, convenience with dedicated air-conditioning/heating controls and access to USB Type-A and USB Type-C ports to power all manner of devices and the comfort of the integrated sunblinds on the Ti-L’s rear door, offering protection from the sun with a simple one-handed movement.

There are 575 litres of luggage capacity thanks to its best-in-class floor length and width between wheel arches, making it easier to load items as well as creating extra room for versatility allowing for 16 different arrangements provided by the two layered cargo boards.

When it comes to safety features, the Ti-L e-POWER with e-4ORCE isn’t backward in coming forward. Standard inclusions are Predictive Forward Collision Warning, intelligent front and rear braking, intelligent cruise control with Traffic Sign Recognition, Lane Departure Prevention and Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Rear Auto Emergency Braking (with pedestrian and cyclist detection), Junction Assist and Driver Attention Alert.

X-Trail e-POWER with e-4ORCE come equipped with the new ProPILOT driver assistance system, designed to increase driver confidence and ease stress while out on the road. With its intuitive operation, ProPILOT offers drivers a convenient way to navigate dense highway traffic, with the system able to accelerate and brake the car on its own. It can maintain a constant speed for cruising and bring the car to a full halt if necessary. What’s more, ProPILOT is equipped with a resume feature that will kick in after three seconds of idling, giving drivers even greater control on the road.

Factor in seven air bags, with Nissan also including a central air bag installed between the front seat passengers, to protect against occupant impact during an accident. It’s easy to see why the X-Trail e-POWER with e-4ORCE has achieved a 5-star rating from ANCAP.

The Nissan X-Trail e-POWER with e-4ORCE embodies improved levels of quality in every aspect of its design and performance. From its sleek exterior to its meticulously crafted interior, this SUV radiates a sense of refinement and craftsmanship. The attention to detail is evident in the choice of premium materials that adorn the cabin, providing a luxurious and comfortable environment for both driver and passengers. But it’s not just about aesthetics; the quality extends beyond appearances. Underneath the hood lies an advanced electric powertrain that seamlessly combines electric motor technology with a petrol engine, delivering exceptional fuel efficiency without compromising on power or performance.

This innovative system ensures smooth acceleration, effortless handling, and reduced emissions, all while maintaining comfortable driving dynamics.

With its cutting-edge safety features and intelligent technologies at your fingertips, you can confidently embark on any trip knowing that you are protected by Nissan’s warranty commitment of 5 years and unlimited kilometres with full roadside assist. If you’re thinking about a hybrid option, then the X-Trail elevates both functionality and the driving enjoyment to new levels.

Model as tested: Nissan X-Trail Ti-L e-Power e-Force

  • Price: $61,786
  • Engine: 1.5-litre 3-cylinder turbo-petrol with dual electric motors
  • Output: Combined 157kW/330Nm front and 195 rear.
  • Transmission: Direct drive
  • Fuel: Combined 6.1L/100km
  • Warranty: 5-year unlimited kilometres
  • Safety rating ANCAP 5 Stars

Note: Nissan state that e-POWER torque figures are quoted independently for front and rear electric motors respectively, and cannot be added together.

Drive Editor - Ray Cully

Drive Editor – Ray Cully

About our Motoring Editor: Ray has been passionate about all things automotive since he first started collecting Matchbox and Hot Wheels models when he was five. Since leaving his executive role at General Motors (GM), he’s been sharing his driving experiences with Australian audiences for nearly 20 years, commencing his automotive journalist career with a popular WA-based magazine and was writing his own column in The West Australian for 8 years.

Ray’s strong love of automotive engineering and clever design has seen his articles and photography featured in prominent national magazines in Australia and the UK. He loves sharing his passion with other drivers, including via a long running stint as Senior Instructor for Land Rover Experience, providing training and education for new vehicle owners.

Recently Ray has been presenting on TV shows including Ready for Adventure and the very popular Caravan and Camping WA, to showcase some of the great products, vehicles and companies that make getting out and exploring Western Australia that much more enjoyable.