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Nissan X-Trail marks the spot

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The all new Nissan X-Trail is available with a fancy new power train, a clever four-wheel drive system and seven seats.

I headed to Slovenia for the international launch of the new car. First impressions were very good indeed. The previous generation X-Trail was a handsome enough vehicle but the new model is extremely well executed and looks great from any angle.

Diesel has been ditched. Instead, entry level cars get a 1.5 litre petrol engine. Above those are e-POWER and e-4ORCE models. These also use a 1.5 litre petrol engine but this time paired with either one or two electric motors.

Seven seat upgrade option

Unlike most hybrids, there’s no direct link between the engine and the wheels. Instead the engine generates power to drive the electric motors. The result is a car that markets itself as a stepping stone between a petrol car and a pure EV.

Prices start at £32,030 for the entry level Visia model. Acenta Premium versions cost £33,705, N-Connect are £36,530. At the top of the X-Trail tree are Tekna and Tekna + models, at £39,850 and £42,520 respectively.

Going for e-POWER versions costs and extra £2,435 and e-4ORCE is an additional £2,200 over that. Finally, upgrading from five to seven seats costs £1,000.

A luxurious interior finish

I drove the top spec Tekna + car with e-4ORCE and seven seats – so basically the most expensive X-Trail you can buy. It cost just over £48,000.

That throws it into Land Rover Discovery territory, but for the price of an entry level Disco you get a fantastically well-equipped X-Trail.

It proved amazingly capable, tackling steep slopes, descents and angles, and crawling over a row of logs without any complaints

From the quilted leather seats to the soft-touch dash and panoramic sunroof everything felt more luxurious than a car bearing the Nissan badge is supposed to be.

The X-Trail is aimed at people who used to enjoy sports cars and hot hatches but are now in their 40s with a family. They still want something that’s stylish and youthful but with plenty of practicality as well.

A surprsingly fun drive

To that end there’s a spacious cabin, the option of seven seats, and a large 585 litre boot.

Room in the front and rear is excellent. If you go for a seven seat option it’s worth noting the third row of seats are meant for occasional use only. They’re fine if you need to drive five kids half an hour to football practice, but even children wouldn’t want to spend six or seven hours in them.

I was surprised by how much fun to drive the Nissan X-Trail is. On some of Slovenia’s gorgeous mountain roads it displayed excellent ride comfort and strong refinement. It even gripped much better than expected through bends.

Petrol-electric delivers fuel economy

My e-4ORCE car had 210bhp, which is enough to get it from 0-62mph in a speedy 7.2 seconds. Power delivery is instantaneous, which makes it feel even quicker.

The only snag is the petrol engine makes a bit of a noise as it works to generate electricity to turn those wheels quickly.

Once you’ve got up to cruising speed the engine fades back to a muted hum, however. The petrol-electric combo delivers fuel economy of around 44mpg.

A youthful vibe

An electric motor on both axles gives the X-Trail four-wheel drive. This uses a clever system that keeps the car in two-wheel drive mode for better economy, only pushing power through the rear wheels when grip is needed. If the weather is bad or you are off road you can switch to different modes for extra traction.

Nissan set up an off road course for the X-Trail to try. It proved amazingly capable, tackling steep slopes, descents and angles, and crawling over a row of logs without any complaints.

I liked the new Nissan X-Trail. It’s smart looking with a youthful vibe. Refinement, technology and comfort have all been improved. It drives nicely on road and – in four-wheel drive versions at least – has everything you could need to handle Scotland’s winter weather.

The Facts

Model: Nissan X-Trail

Price: £48,155

0-62mph: 7.2 seconds

Top speed: 111mph

Economy: 43.8mpg

CO2 emissions: 146g/km

Land Rover Discovery: a magnificent multi-tasker

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