The new-generation 2021 Nissan X-Trail has been unveiled this week, in the form of the American-market Rogue SUV.
As with the current model, the global X-Trail SUV is sold in the US as the Rogue, but the two vehicles are largely identical beyond market-specific equipment and trim.
In its new form, the X-Trail adopts a bulkier, "commanding" design, with a wider and more upright appearance in place of the outgoing model's (comparatively) more athletic look.
But, despite its seemingly larger shape, the new X-Trail is 38mm shorter than the outgoing third-generation model, which measured 4641mm in overall length.
The new model's full list of dimensions is still to be revealed, however, so it remains unclear for now what improvements have been made to cabin space and storage capacity.
Nissan claims the new X-Trail is built on an "all-new platform", but that, too, is still to be detailed. It had previously been believed Nissan would use a development of the Renault Nissan Alliance 'CMF-C/D' architecture that underpins the current model.
(Describing an evolved technology as 'all-new' is not new to the automotive world – indeed, most 'all-new' models have any number of upgraded but essentially carry-over components, including platforms, engines and transmissions.)
A carry-over 2.5-litre non-turbo petrol engine appears to be what we'll see in the new X-Trail, too, although the US-market 'Rogue' will pick up a small boost in power and torque.
In its American form, the new SUV will offer 135kW and 245Nm, which is up on the 126kW and 237Nm that market's existing 2019 model offered.
In its current form, Australia's 2.5-litre petrol X-Trail offers 126kW and 226Nm of torque.
Specifics for the Australian release are still to be revealed, but it seems reports of an upgrade to Nissan's variable-compression 200kW 2.0-litre turbo-four from the Infiniti QX50 were unfounded – although a future addition may be in the company's plans.
A diesel option will likely again appear in Australia, but this too is still to be confirmed.
Likewise, a hybrid X-Trail could launch to rival Toyota's RAV4 petrol-electric model. A hybrid variant exists in the current Rogue range, but has not been made available in Australia; neither have the smaller turbocharged petrol and diesel engines offered in Europe.
A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is also confirmed.
The new X-Trail, in Rogue form, is equipped with Vehicle Motion Control, matched with its Intelligent All-wheel Drive system and drive modes to "predict what the driver is trying to do" by monitoring steering, acceleration and braking.
"It can then step in to help smooth things out," the company says, suggesting an amount of autonomous driving intelligence is featured to improve not only safety – as usual with lane-keep technologies – but also comfort, in assisting the driver to more smoothly control the vehicle's bulk and momentum.
That tech joins the ProPilot autonomous driver assist system, combining stop-and-go highway driving through Intelligent Cruise Control with steering assist for lane-keeping control. In its 2020 iteration, ProPilot utilises both radar and camera technology.
Nissan's Navi-link is also bundled with the ProPilot system, allowing for map-guided speed control in advance of known freeway turns, exits, and upcoming junctions.
The new X-Trail's Intelligent All-wheel Drive system also benefits from the addition of a new electro-hydraulic clutch to better monitor and more quickly respond to front wheel slip.
Other mechanical upgrades announced today include a new rack electric power steering system, along with a six-point rigid-mount suspension system and a multi-link arrangement at the rear.
Front-wheel-drive models will feature Sport, Standard and Eco driving models, while all-wheel-drive variants will add Off-road and Snow to that list.
Inside, the new X-Trail – again, in Rogue form, with Australian equipment still to be confirmed – features a 7.0-inch main dash display and a 10.8-inch head-up display projecting onto the windscreen.
The 7.0-inch main display can be replaced with an optional 9.0-inch 'floating' option.
Behind the steering wheel, lower-grade models get standard analog meters flanking a 7.0-inch display, with a 12.3-inch full-digital display featured in high-spec variants.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both standard, with CarPlay available in wireless form as an option. Although Android Auto is now rolling out slowly in wireless form, its availability in the X-Trail is still to be confirmed.
Other features include a 'butterfly'-opening centre console for easier access from the second row, along with standard dual-zone climate control and optional tri-zone climate.
The rear doors now open wider, to "nearly" 90 degrees for easier access. The current model's rear doors open to 77 degrees.
Nissan suggests second-row passengers aren't second-class in the X-Trail, with seating comfort delivered by "NASA-inspired" Zero Gravity low-fatigue spinal support. These seats now feature in a number of overseas Nissan models, but, if equipped here, the X-Trail will be the first to offer them in the rear. (The now departed Altima featured the design in its front seats.)
Safety tech, in addition to the driver-assist technologies described, includes the Nissan Safety Shield 360 suite that adds Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, High Beam Assist and Rear Automatic Braking.
In the US market, the Rogue will be offered with 10 airbags as standard, and extended crumple zones to help protect occupants.
When will the 2021 Nissan X-Trail come to Australia?
The new X-Trail will go on sale in the US as the Rogue from September/October 2020. Australian timing is unclear, with local specifications not yet announced, but a debut in the next 12 to 18 months is expected.
The current model has been in production since 2013, having been given a key facelift in 2017.
According to global data company JATO, the X-Trail (combined with the Rogue) was the best-selling SUV in the world in 2017, but had been overtaken by the RAV4 in 2018 – a title it held onto in 2019.
The X-Trail remains a strong seller in Australia – COVID-19 impact aside – although its 2019 total of 19,726 sales marked a 6.9 per cent drop on the previous year.
Despite that slide, 2019 was the current X-Trail's second-best year in Australia after its 21,192 performance in 2018, with previous years recording around 17-19,000 registrations.
As with many other models in the market, the X-Trail's 5466 year-to-date registrations for 2020 is behind on 2019's 7544 registrations for the same period – although COVID-19, and the FCAI's now more rigorously checked data processes, will have been a factor in the drop-off.