Usually the most important launches in Frankfurt are from

the big German manufacturers. This year, though, two of the most interesting

new models were to be found on the more modest stands of visiting


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Take the new Nissan X-Trail. The previous generations have been

popular with caravanners, so I’m looking forward to driving the new model.

Nissan says the new car will be better to drive on the road in order to

convince customers who might otherwise choose a hatchback or saloon to drive

the X-Trail instead. Expect improved refinement, a better interior finish, the

option of seven seats and a choice of two- or four-wheel-drive versions. It

should be in UK showrooms by early 2014.

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The other car to really catch my eye isn’t a production model,

but a concept from Jaguar – the CX-17 SUV. It’s going to be interesting to see

how Jaguar and Land Rover develop over the next few years, with Jag encroaching on

Land Rover’s territory. Surely a production CX-17 and the Range Rover Evoque

will appeal to many of the same buyers.

Given how well the Jaguar XF and XF Sportbrake tow, I look forward

to driving the production version, although officially there’s no confirmation

an SUV like this will be built. However, Jaguar has said its lightweight aluminium construction will be used on a new mid-sized saloon in 2015, with more bodystyles to follow. So I’d be surprised if a Jag SUV wasn’t on sale within two or three years.