The Japanese company was one of the first to nail the crossover sector when it first launched the X-Trail back in 2000, and it used to emphasise how good the car was off-road. But the sector has since changed, buyers no longer need a car with the potential to head up the Himalayas, so now Nissan is concentrating on offering better on-road performance and improved economy.
The Nissan X-Trail is back
Nissan unveils all-new crossover, more at home on the road...
Exactly how much better the latter will be is not being disclosed at the moment. No specific technical details are available because the car is a long way off being finalised (it won't land in the UK until summer 2014). But expect about a 20 per cent improvement from the current X-Trail's best of 44.1mpg and 168g/km. Both these figures will also be helped by the option of a two-wheel drive model, and an efficient new CVT gearbox.
A seven-seat version is also coming, which we've been to have a look at. The rearmost seats are for toddlers only, but unlike other crossovers the boot is still a decent size with all seven seats raised. This extra family-focus will have a knock-on effect for the new Qashqai, due in early 2014, because it means that car will no longer be offered with a third row of seats. The X-Trail will be the crossover for bigger broods.
But there's more to the story here. The X-Trail is on Renault-Nissan's newest platform, so this X-Trail will be a one-size fits-all for a global market. If you're reading this in the US, that means you should pay attention - the Rogue is about to change significantly. No more Qashqai-based car for you guys, now it'll be a Rogue-badged X-Trail, admittedly with US-focused trim levels.
We're way too early to talk specific prices, but a rough guess would put it starting at about £27,000, a small premium over the current car.