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AUSTRALIAS NO1 AUTOOTIVE INDUSTR JOURNAL EDITION 1026 ... · PDF file Commercial Vehicles, our sights with the Amarok successor are on our main markets, above all in the EMEA economic

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    Rogue element Aussie hopes high for strong sales, unique ‘Nissan DNA’ with

    hi-tech all-new X-Trail SUV previewed by US-market Rogue

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    NISSAN has revealed its crucial fourth-generation X-Trail medium SUV, which ushers in a comprehensive redesign inside and out, enhanced technology and connectivity, and likely new alternative powertrains for Australia.

    Unveiled in the United States this week, where it is known as the Rogue, the all-new X-Trail is not expected to arrive in Australia until late next year or early 2022.

    However, in an interview with GoAuto, Nissan Australia managing director Stephen Lester said he was excited about the prospects of the new-generation X-Trail, which he said clearly addressed the need for modernisation and would stimulate sales for what is the Japanese brand’s top-selling nameplate in this market.

    Mr Lester also said he was confident the design of the new X-Trail, and all forthcoming new-generation models from the company, would maintain its

    distinctive ‘Nissan-ness’ and not simply be repeated by partner brands – Mitsubishi (with Outlander, for example) and Renault (with Koleos) – under the global auto alliance’s latest corporate plan which will see them sharing not only platforms and various mechanical components but upper bodies as well.

    “I think it (X-Trail) really looks exceptional and it clearly addresses some of the modernity and design features customers are looking for in that mid-sized SUV range,” Mr Lester said.

    “So I’m really excited about it, I think the lines look great, it looks very masculine and sporty and we’ll be really excited when we can get it to Australia.”

    Although sales of almost every SUV in this category have taken a beating this year due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, X-Trail remains the third-biggest-selling model in class behind the Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5.

    Continued next page

  • EDITION 1026 - JUN 17, 2020GoAutoNews


    Continued from previous page

    Last year, X-Trail racked up 19,726 sales, down slightly on the record 21,192 posted a year earlier.

    “I think nothing spurs sales and attention like brand-new product, especially when it comes in such an appealing package and in a segment that is so very strong even globally, one of the most important segments in the world, so it will fit in perfectly for us here in Australia,” Mr Lester said.

    Asked how Nissan would retain its brand identity with key new models such as X-Trail under the alliance’s new ‘leader-follower’ strategy, Mr Lester also emphasised that “you can certainly see within our exterior design of vehicles, the consistency and very specific notations of design elements … that will most certainly be maintained”.

    “We can also see that in some of the interior and some of the tech features and packages we’ve brought to light,” he added. “We see it in powertrains

    and our views on electrification and how we’ll bring that technology through more and more vehicles.

    “So those are all areas that will help us protect that Nissan DNA.”

    Along with the all-new second-generation Juke that arrives in showrooms this week, the X-Trail is one of multiple Nissan models to be

    updated or overhauled in the next 12 to 18 months.

    Other models due for a generational changeover include the Pathfinder seven-seat large SUV and Qashqai compact SUV.

    While the US Rogue was revealed with only a carryover 2.5-litre normally aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine producing 135kW/245Nm, the success of X-Trail’s main local competitors – namely the RAV4 hybrid – will spur the introduction of alternative-powertrain variants for the Australian market.

    “There’s no question that some of the other brands have been successful as of late with alternative powertrains

    to just ICE (internal combustion engines), and we will definitely be in that same planning space whereby we will provide alternative powertrains to simply ICE as we go forward,” Mr Lester said.

    It is not yet known what shape the alternative powertrain will take

    – be it a conventional self-charging hybrid, a plug-in hybrid or Nissan’s e-Power electric motor-drive hybrid – but Mr Lester said the company would go into detail about its low- emissions options in the near future.

    The fourth-generation X-Trail is based on an all-new version of the

    Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance’s CMF-CD architecture, and measures 42mm shorter in length and 41mm lower in height, while standing 19mm wider with an identical wheelbase length.


    PUBLISHER: John Mellor EDITOR: Terry Martin JOURNALISTS: Robbie Wallis, Callum Hunter, Byron Mathioudakis, Haitham Razagui, Neil Dowling, Nathan Ponchard PRODUCTION: Luc Britten

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  • EDITION 1026 - JUN 17, 2020GoAutoNews



    LEXUS has torn the covers off its fourth-generation IS mid-sized sedan, a model the Japanese luxury brand says debuts a number of state- of-the-art technologies, improved dynamics and dramatic styling.

    The aggressive new design is immediately apparent, with the premium rear-wheel-drive sedan sitting lower and wider than its predecessor and featuring pumped- up and reinterpreted signature styling cues.

    At the front there is a fresh take on Lexus’ familiar gaping grille design, now wider and more curved as it makes it way down toward the front bumper.

    Slimmer headlights add a focused, squinting expression to the entire arrangement, which is enhanced by

    the broader stance courtesy of wider wheel tracks – +45mm and the front and +50mm at the rear.

    From almost every angle the model is recognisably an IS, even with a more steeply curving roofline as Lexus takes its mid-sizer down the four-door coupe-style path.

    The designers have made the currently subtle upsweeping side sculpting far more prominent, feeding it neatly into the flared rear wheelarches rather than tracking upwards to meet the redesigned tail- lights.

    And it is here, at the rear, where the biggest styling changes have been made.

    The rear diffuser/bumper is now much bigger in every aspect and the previously split tail-light arrangement has been replaced by a

    new “single-blade rear combination” stretching across the boot lid, with the red brake light strip flicking up in an L-shape at either end.

    The boot line is now much higher than before and features an integrated lip spoiler for added visual flair.

    Not only is the new body stylish and more aggressive than before, but according to Lexus stiffer as well thanks to the wider

    tracks, increased number of front side-member weld points and “optimising structures from the rear-quarter pillars to the sides of the roof, among other areas”.

    The car-maker says the increased track width and extra stiffness also combine with a lower centre of gravity to boost the model’s agility, with a particular emphasis on steering response and feel.

    Engineers have given the

    suspension a rework, too, with the new generation featuring new swing-valve shock absorbers to enhance the ride quality.

    Powertrain options include the familiar 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, 2.5-litre petrol-electric hybrid and 3.5-litre V6, all carried over from the current series with a few unique mapping tweaks to increase responsiveness.

    The 2.0-litre turbo in the IS300 now features “enhanced adaptive control”, resulting in quicker and more decisive gear selection through the carryover eight-speed automatic transmission.


    Dramatic new styling, improved dy