Nissan’s mid-sized SUV could be getting turbocharged three-cylinder power.

Though it hasn’t been confirmed for Australia when the X-Trail arrives next year, CarNewsChina reports the Chinese X-Trail will be offered with a turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine.

Car & Driver reports Nissan will also offer the engine in the X-Trail’s identical twin in North America, the Rogue, as part of a “pilot program”.

The engine produces 152kW of power and 300Nm of torque.

In contrast, the upcoming X-Trail’s naturally-aspirated 2.5-litre four-cylinder produces 134kW of power and 239Nm of torque.

The three-cylinder powertrain will come standard with a continuously-variable transmission and will be offered with either front- or all-wheel drive.

The US Department of Energy has published fuel economy figures for the new engine.

It achieves a combined fuel economy rating of 33mpg (7.12L/100km) in front-wheel drive models and 32mpg (7.35L/100km) in all-wheel drive models.

In contrast, the 2.5-litre is rated at between 28-30mpg (7.8-8.4L/100km) depending on spec.

Overseas reports have indicated the X-Trail, at least in the Japanese market, will offer a choice of three electrified powertrains but may no longer offer a diesel.

These comprise the 2.4-litre four-cylinder plug-in hybrid system from the Outlander PHEV, as well as a 2.0-litre hybrid four-cylinder that’s offered in the outgoing model in markets like Japan.

This will also be the first generation of X-Trail to use Nissan’s e-Power system, where a small petrol engine is used as a generator to charge the battery and an electric motor delivers power directly to the wheels.

We expect at least one of those powertrains to be available here, with Nissan Australia managing director Stephen Lester previously indicating his desire to have a third of the brand’s electrified by 2022. He’s also told CarExpert the “market is ready” for more electrified vehicles.

Nissan has already trimmed the number of diesel models in the mildly revised 2021 X-Trail range, eliminating the top-spec TL diesel.

The X-Trail isn’t the first mid-sized SUV to get a three-cylinder engine.

The Ford Escape and related Bronco Sport offer the Focus’ turbocharged 1.5-litre three-pot in overseas markets, while the Peugeot 3008 and Citroen C5 Aircross are also sold with three-cylinder engines elsewhere.

Nissan has offered small turbocharged powertrains in the European-market Qashqai for several years, albeit with four cylinders.

The redesigned Qashqai will also feature a pair of turbocharged 1.3-litre four-cylinder engines shared with Mercedes-Benz, producing either 102kW or 117kW of power depending on tune.

MORE: Nissan X-Trail news and reviews

William Stopford

William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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