Nissan introduced a hybrid version of its SUV, the X-Trail. One of their reasons for the development of the X-Trail was that they wanted to add a hybrid tax reduction specification. Nevertheless, they conducted a thorough development that seriously considered uniformity, as it is a series vehicle.
The test drive was limited to a closed place this time but I saw that its overall finish and settlement was excellent.
First thing to note is that the system is basically conducted through the motor when starting the car. If, for example, the system judges that there is a need for engine power because the driver aims to accelerate, the engine will start. Then, if the driver goes back to cruising, the engine will stop when the system judges that there is no more need for engine support.
This system will appropriately combine the two power sources, the motor and engines, and use them, but the transition is smooth. In the actual situation, one wouldn’t be able to know clearly whether the engine is turning or not if one does not look at the monitor.
Similarly, I was almost unaware that the car operates through a new hybrid system. It has a powerful maneuverability due to the heavy torque which has a motor assistance.
Through the equipment of this hybrid system, its weight has increased by approximately 130kg compared to standard cars. Although it is natural that the feel of its maneuverability would be different from the standard cars if its weight increases, it didn’t feel that way with this car.
How is it similar to other series models? This is the theme for its development, and even if it is a hybrid version, they wanted to make its maneuverability uniform to all the X-Trail units. They conducted development with this aim in mind.
Also, the parts added to this hybrid are distributed and equipped in the front and rear parts. Its front side weighs 50kg, while the under part of its rear side weighs 80kg. The hybrid specification has made its diameter thick due to the stabilizer equipped in the front side as well as the rear side. They also applied the strategy of using springs and dampers, which deviate from standard vehicles, aside from increasing its weight.
Originally, the response of this X-Trail when steering is alert, agile and direct, as it is an SUV that has a high balance. Also, if you put the gear in, the car does not move at the top and bottom parts (rolling direction), but it has a feature in which the car nose would detect and point out the direction where there is a person.
Also, while in that tight pace, it has a smooth and mild riding feel when you drive at a low or middle speed in town areas. In that sense, even if the X-Trail series is labeled as a “passenger car”, it has a great balance, enough to make you say it is satisfactory; I think that kind of characteristic is also embodied similarly in the hybrid system.
This X-Trail was simply labeled by the manufacturer as an SUV, and it was not named as a Crossover. In terms of its styling, it may be because it has no non-SUV parts. However, its smooth riding feel and handling balance fairly exists in standard passenger vehicles.
Its outer appearance is similar that of an SUV, but its leg is the same as the sedan. With its contents, I personally think of it as a Crossover car.
Furthermore, if we compare this hybrid system to a car equipped with 2L engine, its torque output when starting the car is surprising, but the hybrid system (motor operated) is more gentle and tender.
Therefore, the developers commented that it might be easy for many drivers to control it using the hybrid system, if they want to break free from snowy roads and quagmire.
Basically, as it is a car that starts with the motor, it is substantially attached with an idling step function. Aside from the fuel consumption conservation in the motor running system, it also has a new component that is run by the hybrid system. However, there still lies the fact that its market price is more expensive compared to that of a standard car.
â– 5 Star Rating
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Hiroaki Iemura | Writer & Automotive Journalist
Born in 1947 in Nagasaki. With his profound theory that vehicles are “the mirror that reflects the generation”, his interests are in history, new vehicles, and motor sports is all around. He has put a lot of attention on the change of “packaging” in recent years for vehicles put on market. In regards to the vehicles made for daily use by Japanese automakers, he is proposing a new way for the world to understand their shape, the connection between humans and vehicles, and the “setting for contact.” His published works include “Vehicle Column Encyclopedia 1984~1989”, “Saisoku GT-R Monogatari”, “Prius to iu Yume” (Futabasha) “Les Mans e” and more.
(Translated by Claire Marie Sausora)