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Geneva show: Nissan teases next X-Trail

Nissan Hi-Cross concept points to smoother, sleeker new-gen 2013 X-Trail compact SUV

28 Feb 2012

NISSAN has provided the first evidence that its new-generation X-Trail compact SUV due for release in 2013 will be a much smoother and sleeker vehicle than the current squared-off, slightly utilitarian model that has become one of Australia’s most popular vehicles in its class.

Fresh from showing a softer, monocoque-chassis near-production Pathfinder in Detroit, the Japanese manufacturer is now, as GoAuto revealed earlier this month, preparing to preview its third-generation X-Trail in Geneva on March 6 with a new concept that casts off its more aggressive, off-road-oriented styling for a design more fitting with typically paved-road and suburban duties.

A teaser video and stills released overnight show the silhouette and fundamental design of the new crossover concept, dubbed the Hi-Cross, which borrows cues from other Nissan crossovers such as the smaller Qashqai/Dualis and the tiny Juke.

More details will emerge at the Swiss show next week, such as the extent to which Nissan is planning to appeal to the US market, which currently does not offer the X-Trail – although it has proven popular in Canada.

The promotional activity of the Hi-Cross in the US this week indicates Nissan is planning an assault on the American market with the next X-Trail, going head-to-head with Ford’s market-leading Escape (Kuga in Australia/Europe), which is likewise about to enter a new generation.

As a result, the new model could increase in size, offering both five- and seven-seat configurations across a range of petrol and diesel powertrains and 4x2 and 4x4 drivelines.

Significantly, Mazda Australia’s product planners were successful in their quest to ensure the new-generation CX-5 launched here this week hit the ‘sweet spot’ in its class against the current X-Trail and other volume-selling models like the Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4, making it smaller than the previous CX-7 – which is still available in some markets overseas.

Last year, Nissan sold more than 12,000 X-Trails for a 10 per cent share to be third in class behind the Forester and RAV. It also racked up more than 9200 Dualis sales.

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