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The Nissan X-Trail (Rogue in the US) enters its third generation at the ongoing Frankfurt show. Looking more sophisticated than its largely right-angled predecessor, the new Nissan X-Trail derives its softer lines and urban crossover looks from existing models such as the Qashqai, Juke and Murano, as well as the 2012 Hi-Cross Concept, of which it certainly hasn’t strayed far from in terms of design.

Interesting aesthetic details include C-shaped tail lamps, LED DRLs and a stylish D-pillar kink. LED headlamps are offered on higher trims, and 19-inch alloys lend an imposing look. Underpinning the vehicle is the Common Module Family (CMF) platform.

The new cabin boasts chrome, geometric metallic and piano black finishes. Options include a cloth fabric covering and a full leather offering with contrasting stitch accents, and if five seats aren’t enough, you can specify two more.

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The rear doors open to almost 90 degrees, and a longer wheelbase (Nissan hasn’t yet revealed by how much), plus more sculpted seat backs, give the middle row seats (which slide and recline) more knee room.

A five-inch colour TFT screen sits between the rev counter and speedometer, packing no fewer than 12 graphic displays to jog through. Information displayed includes average and actual speeds, navigation turn-by-turn instructions, audio content, traffic sign recognition, eco driving advice and torque distribution settings in 4WD mode.

Access the boot via a remote power tailgate and you’ll find a double load floor that divides the cargo area into upper and lower areas. This allows it to hold up to 10 kg of luggage in its topmost position and 75 kg in its bottom position.

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On to tech – the new Nissan X-Trail gets the latest-gen NissanConnect seven-inch colour touchscreen in-car navigation and infotainment system, plus the Nissan Safety Shield suite of driving aids. NissanConnect now offers smartphone connectivity, in addition to a range of apps covering music, social networking, entertainment and travel.

Navigation relies on Google to provide information from weather forecasts to the location of fuel stations, hotels, restaurants and the like. The send-to-car function allows drivers to plan a trip at home and send it to their car at the push of a button. Needless to say, there’s Bluetooth audio streaming, USB and AUX compatibility.

The third-gen Nissan X-Trail also gets Active Ride Control, Active Engine Brake and Active Trace Control. Active Ride Control detects extreme road surface undulations and alters the damping to compensate. Active Engine Brake tells the Xtronic CVT to add a degree of engine braking when cornering or coming to a stop. Active Trace Control (previously only found on the Infiniti M) brakes individual wheels during hard cornering to cut understeer.

The electronic four-wheel drive system, Nissan’s ALL MODE 4x4i, offers 2WD, Auto or Lock modes, selectable through a centre console-mounted dial. Uphill Start Support and Advance Hill Descent Control are also on the menu.

Although the new Nissan X-Trail has a larger surface area than the outgoing car, Nissan says weight has been reduced wherever possible. A mostly plastic tailgate saves 7 kg, for instance. Aerodynamics have also benefited from carefully shaped door mirrors as well as a spoiler that covers the exhaust box and rear panel.

Nissan will release powertrain and trim details closer to the start of European sales next July.

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