Just when you’ve got your head around mild hybrids, full hybrids and plug-in hybrid tow cars, along comes Nissan with another option.

Two of the new X-Trail’s powertrains use range-extender technology, which Nissan calls E-Power. Such technology isn’t unique to Nissan, but it is still quite unusual. Just like a full hybrid, the X-Trail uses electric power and an internal combustion engine. But with E-Power, the engine never drives the wheels directly: instead, it’s there to act as a generator for the motor.

Or motors, in the case of the Nissan X-Trail E-4orce model we’ve been driving. This adds an extra electric motor at the rear of the vehicle to make the X-Trail four-wheel drive.

Something we consider when we’re looking for the best tow car will be how it handles different surfaces, and in the case of the Nissan X-Trail E-4orce, it’s a capable machine. It handles tricky off-road terrain, yet is smooth, comfortable and quiet on Tarmac.

You can specify the X-Trail with seven seats, but the third row is all but useless unless you slide the middle row forward on its runners. We’d save £1000 and stick with the roomy five-seater.

Fuel economy of 44.8mpg is worse than you would expect of a modern hybrid, which makes you wonder whether Nissan is right to follow its own path. But the new X-Trail will certainly make an intriguing addition to the family SUV class.

  • Price: From £38,340
  • Kerbweight: From 1842kg
  • 85% match: 1566kg
  • Max towing weight: 1800kg (5st model)/1650kg (7st)*

*Max tow is reduced to 1500kg if car is loaded to the gross vehicle weight

  • Take a look at our caravan towing tips guide for help and advice to stay comfortable on the road

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