It will be a few more years before Nissan has completely converted its model range to purely electric drive. Until then, the "e-Power" should fix it as a bridging technology - with the crossover X-Trail in combination with "e-4orce" even with all-wheel drive.
When it comes to electric mobility, Nissan can certainly be counted among the pioneers. They have been offering a pure Stromer for over a decade. Yes, the Leaf was even the world's best-selling electric car until 2019. With the aim of only wanting to sell electric vehicles (EV) in 2030, the Japanese have launched a second EV model with the Ariya, but they also have to trim those types to electric that are still on combustion platforms.
Such as the mid-range SUV X-Trail, the fourth generation of which is just going on sale and therefore wants to remain competitive for a few more years with a petrol engine on board. This should be possible with a self-developed "e-Power" system, which is also used in the Qashqai, but is combined with the X-Trail for the first time with an all-wheel drive called "e-4force" in the most beautiful marketing German - at prices from 44,400 Euro. With front-wheel drive, the price range starts at 37,000 euros.
What is so special about "e-Power"? "This technology enables our customers to enter the world of electric mobility without having to deal with charging problems or fear of range," explains product manager Allegra Fistek. Specifically, this means: The e-power system in the X-Trail is a serial hybrid with a 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbo and 116 kW/158 hp and a 150 kW/204 hp electric motor on the front axle. However, since the combustion engine acts exclusively as a generator, the electric power plant alone is responsible for driving the wheels.
The Nissan SUV therefore runs permanently electrically with a petrol engine as the power generator, which, depending on the driving situation, forwards the energy flow via the inverter to the 2.1 kWh high-performance battery, the electric motor or, in the case of high performance, to both. For an additional price of 3,500 euros, the X-Trail e-Power can be upgraded to an all-wheel drive vehicle with an additional 100 kW/136 hp electric motor on the rear axle. The system then has a total output of 157 kW/214 hp.
In fact, this leads to a driving experience almost like that of a purely electric car. The X-Trail always starts whisper-quiet in electric mode. At best, the capacity of the small battery would be enough for just under two kilometers of pure electricity. As a rule, the generator switches on much more quickly, but the occupants only hear this in the form of a very restrained, slight rumbling in the background. If high power is demanded when accelerating uphill, the engine noise also increases, of course, but there is no annoying howling, as is familiar from dealing with continuously variable transmissions, nor is there a growling three-cylinder sound.
Another important aspect of the combustion engine: the variable compression ratio from 8:1 to 14:1 to achieve optimal performance and economy depending on the engine load. This is achieved by changing the piston stroke and correspondingly larger or smaller combustion chamber. When the power requirement is low, the compression ratio is in the upper range, which reduces fuel consumption and emissions. The compression ratio is reduced in order to charge the battery or to supply electricity directly to the engine when power is required.
Don't worry, the driver may be informed about the constantly changing flow of energy and the permanently varying state of charge of the battery via the display, but you won't notice anything behind the wheel. No jerking, no jerking. Especially since in the absence of a gearbox there are no switching operations. The well-balanced suspension and clean chassis tuning, which conveys sufficient contact with the road and is still comfortable, also go well with the relaxed gliding. All attention!
When it comes to recuperation, the X-Trail e-Power is on par with electric cars. Energy is noticeably recovered even in driving position B. In extreme cases, when the e-Pedal switch is actuated, the vehicle decelerates so much that the brake lights even come on.
The efficiency measures of the e-Power system are having an effect. The standard consumption of 6.3 to 6.7 l/100 km Super for the e-force model is almost a full liter below the value for the X-Trail mild hybrid, which as a basic model (from 35,500 euros) makes the SUV series into a trio added. On an extensive test lap through the Rhine-Main area on country roads and in the hustle and bustle of the city, a test consumption of 7.1 l/100 km for the 4.86 meter long 2.4 ton truck is also quite acceptable. Driving values such as a 100 km/h sprint in 7.0 seconds and a top speed of 180 km/h show that the Nissan crossover appreciates even faster paces.
However, the all-wheel drive SUV feels most comfortable on asphalt and is recommended as a touring and family car. In contrast to the e-power version with front-wheel drive, the all-wheel drive is also available with two additional seats in the third row for a surcharge of 800 euros. That might be enough for young footballers up to the C youth level, but people over 1.60 meters tall should refrain from taking a ride there. If the last row is lowered into the floor due to lack of occupancy, the loading volume in the trunk is 485 liters, 90 liters less than in the front-wheel drive version.
The cheapest X-Trail e-4orce is offered with the Acenta equipment from 44,400 euros. In the top equipment Tekna, which is comprehensively equipped including all assistance systems, sports seats with quilted leather and Bose sound system, 55,730 euros are called.
1.5 VC-T e-Power e-4ORCE
1.5 VC-T e-Power