The Nissan X-Trail features the hybrid powertrains we want in the Rogue

The European version of the Nissan Rogue, the X-Trail, has finally launched. It’s almost identical to the SUV we get, with two exceptions: it offers a third-row seat and it has hybrid powertrains. The latter is what particularly intrigues us, as we have a single (and admittedly good) engine choice in America, a turbo three-cylinder. It’s a very good engine, but with the rapid growth of hybrid offerings in the compact SUV segment, we think Nissan should plan to bring these hybrid options to America.

The ones we are interested in are the “e-POWER” hybrids. These are simply series hybrid drives where the internal combustion engine produces electricity and the electric motors drive the vehicle. The base option is front-wheel drive with a single 201-horsepower front engine and a version of the variable-compression turbo three-cylinder engine found in the American Rogue. An all-wheel-drive version called the e-4ORCE is optional, adding a 126-horsepower engine to the rear, though the combined output is 211 horsepower. This dual-motor configuration allows for four-wheel drive without the need to have any kind of transfer case or rear drive shaft, and also allows for quick and widely adjustable front-to-rear power distribution. There’s a mild hybrid powertrain that relies on a detuned version of the turbo three-cylinder engine, but since it’s less powerful and probably not much more efficient than the powertrain available in the US, we don’t see much reason for Nissan to offer it.

The main reason we think Nissan should plan to bring these powertrains to America is simply that it needs to keep up with the competition. Toyota, Honda, Ford, Hyundai and Kia offer hybrids in the US, and many even offer plug-in hybrid versions. The lack of such an opportunity will be a real obstacle. These e-POWER drive systems also sound quite competitive with good electric power and a proven engine. And since the X-Trail and Rogue are nearly identical and use an engine that’s certified for US emissions, it seems like adding it would be a smart move. The Rogue’s US-market twin, the Mitsubishi Outlander, is also slated to get a plug-in hybrid drivetrain, which we’d imagine is closely related to the X-Trail’s system, so it seems like a no-brainer, especially if it were to launch next year model year. So while Nissan hasn’t said anything, it would be crazy if they didn’t offer a Rogue hybrid here.

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