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Nissan X-Trail e-POWER Review: The Most Sophisticated In Its Segment

Nissan takes its unique e-POWER technology up to the next level, and it's staggeringly good.
James Wong
James Wong
11 Aug 2023
There is now a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine, instead of the naturally aspirated engines that have been used in previous e-POWER models.
What we like:
Clever technology that just works so well
Well-judged suspension and serene proceedings
Unique 7-seater configuration paired with a hybrid drivetrain
Well-appointed interior
What we dislike:
Braking feel needs work
Steering can do with more feedback

I’m already a big fan of the e-POWER drivetrain, so much so that I managed to convince my dad to buy the Kicks e-POWER for himself.

But the Nissan X-Trail blows all expectations out of the water again, because it has further refined and developed the e-POWER drivetrain to great effect. It has also upped its build quality considerably and appointed an interior that I could honestly call luxurious and tasteful.

There is now a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine, instead of the naturally aspirated engines that have been used in previous e-POWER models. The world’s first mass produced variable compression ratio engine, it still functions as an on-board charger for a battery that now powers not just the front wheels but all four. Called e-4ORCE, there is now a dual motor setup (one at each axle) to offer all-wheel drive.

On the absolutely torrential day that I collected the X-Trail, the car cut through inundated roads with ease, its AWD system genuinely working to keep all four wheels tight on the road. One feels very secure and stable in the X-Trail. I’d wish for a bit more steering feel though, as it can get a bit too light.

A key improvement is its suspension. I’ve always found previous e-POWER models riding a bit too harsh, but on the X-Trail, it is comfy and well-judged, managing the weight of its batteries very well.

The outputs of the drivetrain are rather staggering. The X-Trail is rated at 201 hp but it is the 525 Nm torque figure that may make you fall off your Secret Lab chair. 0-100 km/h is dispatched in 7.9 seconds but more importantly, the power feels absolutely effortless. At the same time, the X-Trail is rather unique in offering 7 seats while being a fairly efficient hybrid vehicle. I netted around 11-12 km/l, which is acceptable for a car of this size, if not average.

It has the power delivery of an EV somewhat, but the reassuring hum of the ICE engine remains in the background. This is a plus to me, instead of a negative. In fact, it’s so well-insulated now, you wouldn’t even believe it’s a 3-pot engine as it chugs along nonchalantly. Its start-up and switch-off is also virtually imperceptible from the inside.

Speaking of insulation, the X-Trail comes with double glazed windows, something I have recently only seen in the Range Rover Sport among the many cars I have reviewed. So progress is utterly whisper quiet, definitely abreast with luxury cars asking much more.

The interior is logically laid out and feels more European than ever before in its execution. I like the $2,500 nappa leather option, as it covers many visible surfaces in a soft, buttery hide that really uplifts the atmosphere. I’m also a fan of the proprietary Nissan infotainment system, that together with the head-up display and the digital instrument panel is called the Triple Screen Cockpit.

One point that I hope would be improved is the braking feel. While it never really was a problem in previous e-POWER models, the X-Trail seems to suffer from a very numb pedal that needs a fair bit of adjustment if one isn’t used to it. A lot more braking force has to be applied to the pedal before the power is felt. E-Pedal mode is interesting too although it would not come to a complete stop, so it is not truly one pedal drive.

As a whole the X-Trail is a stunning achievement by Nissan. I have a suspicion this drivetrain layout will find its way to the next GT-R… Let’s see!

Photos by New Gen Marketing


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