Nissan’s X-Trail boasts more torque than a GU Patrol and 6L/100km thanks to new smart tech. Keep reading to learn more…
No matter which way you slice the pie, technology is changing the way we see this country. From the online booking systems to lock in your campsite, to the space-age composite materials our vans are made of, it’s all designed to make things run a little bit smoother.
Of course, like all technology, it doesn’t always go to plan. Technology to prevent you from careening off the side of the road after a micro-sleep can also inadvertently punt you into someone trying to merge into your lane. But I digress; not all technology should be feared. Some of it, like Nissan’s new e-POWER and E-4ORCE tech in their newly released X-Trail, promises to not only make our lives simpler, but smoother too.
So what are we actually on about? And why should you care? We’re glad you asked, dear reader.
Modern engines make far more power than their earlier counterparts. For comparison, a petrol-powered 2023 Nissan Patrol makes 560Nm and 298kW with a combined fuel consumption of 14.4L/100km. A petrol powered 1993 Patrol only made 320Nm and 129kW, despite having similar fuel consumption figures (on paper and in reality). That’s a stark contrast. The reason is simple, technology and engineering. Nissan’s new e-POWER aims to add simplicity to the mix as well.
Hybrid systems are becoming increasingly common these days, the boost of torque from an electric motor helping power figures climb and fuel consumption lower. But they’re typically very complicated, an electric motor and classic internal combustion motor running through a power divider to both send drive to the wheels. The system chops and changes back and forth between the two adding huge complexity for the gains it provides.
Nissan’s e-POWER in the new X-Trail by comparison, essentially runs like a standard simple electric car. An electric motor on each axle sends drive to the wheels, and a battery keeps it running. Then a small onboard motor keeps the battery charged. The end result is the e-POWER equipped X-Trail has 157kW off idle, compared to the petrol-only versions 135kW @ 6000rpm. It also has instant acceleration, a far simpler drivetrain, and a quieter ride. The promise is the driving experience of an EV but with the simplicity of re-fuelling a petrol car But wait, there’s more!
Look, we’ll admit, with just 1,650kg maximum braked towing capacity, the new X-Trail isn’t exactly going to be your go-to option for hauling a 5th-wheel camper up the Peninsula Development Road. But if you’re towing a lighter pop-top or soft floor on the weekend and need a family run around for the weekdays, the e-POWER system does offer a few pretty interesting benefits.
The good old-fashioned petrol-only offering boasts 244Nm and needs to be spinning at 3,600rpm to make it happen. The e-POWER version, by comparison, has 330Nm from the front axle, and 195Nm from the rear. Again, right off idle. While it doesn’t hold a candle to the current Patrol, it’d easily outmuscle a 2013 turbo-diesel version.
Underneath the bonnet, there’s a three-cylinder 1.5L engine keeping the battery charged. With variable compression ratios and regenerative braking, the e-POWER X-Trail gives fuel economy of 6.1L/100km, 20% better than the petrol-only version despite having more power and torque. For context, if the current Patrol had the same tech it’d bump the fuel range out by another 242km. That’s some serious additional range paired with additional torque. Both are huge wins for RVers.
We’re not going to sugarcoat things here; the hybrid X-Trail is far from perfect, and so is the e-POWER system powering it. But they’re operating in an imperfect world. Sure, we all love the romantic ideas of fixing our tow-tugs ourselves with nothing more than a spanner and a little know how, but that’s just not the way things work anymore.
Forget emissions for a second. You can’t get the power figures we expect today, with the fuel consumption we demand, without incredibly complex engineering. The e-POWER is still somewhat complicated, but it’s a massive step in the right direction. When you consider the power it delivers, for the fuel it uses, it’s actually amazing.
EV enthusiasts could argue that it doesn’t go far enough. You could simplify things further again by just going full EV, but then you wouldn’t be able to duck into a servo for another 900km of range in just a few minutes. If there’s a future in Australia for RV travelling with decent fuel consumption, power (and yes, low emissions), it looks an awful lot like the X-Trail and its e-POWER system. Now we’ve just gotta hope they offer something similar in the next generation Patrol.