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Nissan has defended the fuel savings on offer in its electrified X-Trail e-Power, suggesting Toyota exaggerates the fuel-use claims in its popular hybrid models, including the RAV4 Hybrid.
Unlike Toyota – which uses a conventional hybrid system in models like the Kluger, the Corolla Cross and the Yaris Cross – Nissan's e-Power uses a petrol motor to recharge the onboard lithium-ion battery, with only the electric motors used to power the driving wheels.
For perspective, the conventional hybrid system in the Toyota RAV4 delivers a claimed 4.7L/100km on the combined cycle. The Nissan X-Trail e-Power, on the other hand, claims 6.1L/100km, which is an increase of almost 30 per cent.
But that, says Nissan, is only the beginning, with the brand saying that customer satisfaction is much higher than it is in a traditional hybrid, and then doubling down by suggesting Toyota is over-selling its fuel figures.
"This drives more like an EV, and we know from our experience with EVs that customers love it," says Adam Robertson, deputy director at the Nissan Technical Center Europe.
"EVs have the highest level of satisfaction for acceleration, and that's not just the outright performance for a car like the Porsche Taycan, that's all EVs.
"We also know that traditional hybrids have the lowest satisfaction. We wanted to capture the customer experience that they really like and bring that in wth e-Power.
"It's not just the 'rubber band' sound (of a conventional hybrid), it's the pregnant pauses, the delays, you put your foot down and you have to wait for the revs to build, the torque to transfer through the transmission and the vehicle to accelerate.
"With an EV you put your foot down and it's there and away you go."
Another Nissan executive went on to suggest the fuel savings between the two models might be closer in the real-world than the paper specifications suggest, issuing a stunning take-down of Toyota's mega-popular hybrid solution.
"I think with the fuel economy, it's a tricky one. We'll leave it in your hands to do the real-world testing, but from a lot of the articles I've seen for RAV4 Hybrid, you can't get anywhere near 4.8 (litres per hundred kilometres)," says Aleksandar Pecanac, Nissan Australia's product manager for X-Trail.
"And from a lot of the articles I've seen from Qashqai, they're getting very close to the quoted e-Power figures, and we expect a similar result with X-Trail."
Asked whether that meant he thought Toyota was over-selling their hybrid fuel savings, Mr Pecanac replied:
"Based off the media reports, and the real-world testing, I think so."