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New 2014 Nissan X-Trail unveiled

It’s been a long time coming but Nissan’s new generation X-Trail is certain to grab an even bigger slice of the compact SUV market. Part of a total overhaul of its SUV range, the new X-Trail follows the lead of the next Pathfinder - here late this year - by being less rugged and less angular.

The X-Trail takes on the Dualis’ clothes to appeal to a broader range of customers and will also replace the Dualis +2 model. Built on Nissan’s common modular platform (CMP) that is shared with Renault, the longer and wider --yet lower-- X-Trail has the option of seven seats with its two occasional third row accommodation.

Nissan Australia is being quiet about this car but expect it in July next year and priced at a premium of about $2500 on the current model. Drivetrains are yet to be announced.

The 2.5-litre petrol four remains though Nissan has refined further the CVT automatic for smoothness and less “flare’’. Nissan claims the big improvement in the new gearbox is low friction - down 40 per cent on the old unit - which has resulted in a 10 per cent improvement in fuel economy.

Nissan has also kept is relatively off-road friendly. It keeps the “All Mode 4X4’’ drivetrain that allows selection on the move between 2WD and AWD and has an auto mode for the undecided. The boot floor can be partitioned into two levels and the wagon gets a bigger and wider rear door. Cargo space is increased as has rear legroom.

Nissan will place the new X-Trail between the small SUV, the Juke that is due here later this year, and the new Pathfinder that is now based on the Maxima-Murano platform.