As its new proportions are the X-Trail’s main selling point, let’s dive straight into the details. Under the car you’ll find the Common Module Family (CMF) platform, the latest Renault-Nissan architecture which underpins a range of new models, including the Qashqai.

Using a larger variation of the shared hardware, the X-Trail is 76mm longer in the wheelbase than its predecessor yet manages to be only 17mm longer in total thanks to reductions in the overhangs. The car also has a 60mm advantage between the wheels when compared with the Qashqai – the kind of length required to make room for the option of an additional two seats in the boot.

The X-Trail's CMF platform uses a higher proportion of high-tensile steel, which is a major contributor to the Nissan's weight loss

The latest X-Trail is claimed to be 90kg lighter than its forebear owing to a greater use of high-tensile steel in the CMF’s construction, allied to other weight-saving measures such as an all-plastic tailgate. And while it may be more firmly aimed at on-road duties, Nissan has preserved the previous car’s 210mm ground clearance (in spite of the car being 5mm lower overall).

When Nissan talks of fully integrating the X-Trail into its crossover range, it is in part referring to its adoption of the current design language already seen on the Qashqai and the Juke. Familiarity with its basic elements minimises claims of boldness, yet it remains a fetching (if familiar) big crossover.

The mechanical set-up is no more complicated. The entire engine range is made up of two 1.6-litre engines - a 128bhp diesel and a 160bhp petrol, and a 2.0-litre diesel - offered with a six-speed manual. A CVT gearbox is available but only with the diesel engine.

The previous X-Trail was no exception, but this new model takes a different route, ditching its predecessor’s 2.0-litre engine in favour of the R9M 1.6 dCi already introduced in the Qashqai. The 1.6 dCi is, in fact, a comprehensive evolution of the F9Q 1.9 dCi previously used elsewhere by Nissan and Renault, its 1598cc capacity achieved by shortening its stroke.

As well as running a higher boost pressure, the engineers employed a much more sophisticated form of thermal management and reduced emissions with the introduction of a cold-loop exhaust recirculation system. Along with redesigned ancillaries and friction reductions, the smaller motor delivers improved CO2 emissions of 129g/km in two-wheel-drive form and 139g/km when taken with four-wheel drive.

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Nissan’s electronically modulated all-wheel drive system is available – but not standard – while Active Ride Control (adaptive dampers) and Active Trace Control (to combat understeer) complement a conventional chassis sprung, whether you take two or four-wheel drive, on MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension.

 

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