Nissan Motor Philippines, Inc. (NMPI) recently unveiled the 2005 Nissan X-TRAIL, which is available in all authorized Nissan dealerships since March 31, 2005.

Already a winner in many aspects including being selected as the Best Compact SUV in the prestigious 2004 Car of the Year Awards and C! Magazine's Best Compact SUV Choice in its 10 Best Cars Search, the Nissan X-TRAIL just got a major upgrade in the looks department.

Added features include the Nissan-exclusive Hyper Roof Rail, Engine cover in ABS plastic and rugged 5-spoke alloy rims for the 250X. Standard features for all variants are the redesigned Euro-version chrome V-grille, Glittering Side lamps, rear European running lamps, and Baby Fender Mirrors. The 200X and the 4 x 2 get a sporty roof spoiler as standard.

The X-TRAILs still retain the efficient and lively QR series engines with "All-Mode Four Wheel Drive" system for applicable models. Used in the 4 x 4 variants, the system in Auto Mode features a "no-slip on start-ups" technology, which gives the X-TRAIL power on all four wheels when the accelerator pedal is depressed. The X-TRAIL's computer system does the disengaging of 4 x 4 when it is not needed. The advanced selectable all-wheel drive system was derived from the popular race-ready Skyline GTR, and gives the X-TRAIL its excellent onroad handling attributes.

"The X-TRAIL's platform is one of the most up-to-date among compact SUVs in the market anywhere. The changes we introduced to the X-TRAIL are designed to increase its visual desirability. But they are also functional, aside from making it look extremely good," explained Raymond Tribdino, NMPI Market and Product Planning Manager.

One example of the functional innovation is the Hyper Roof Rail, available only in the X-TRAIL 250X. It is a great driving aid in heavy fog or while cruising dark provincial roads. Providing as much 30% more forward illumination, the lamps have also been angled in such a way that drivers of vehicles from the opposing lane are not blinded nor distracted by glare.

"Our X-TRAIL market is very knowledgeable and many of these features we added actually came from suggestions of X-TRAIL buyers and owners," Mr. Tribdino said.

New to the X-TRAIL 250X are the five-spoke alloy rims with thicker sections, which gives it a very distinctive look from the X-TRAIL 200X and 200. "We opted for these robust looking wheels to complement the car's tall, full stance and the Hyper Roof Rail," Mr. Tribdino explained.

One of the most requested add-ons is the Baby Fender Mirror. This device is very valuable for tough offroad conditions, because it gives its driver a good view of the lower blind side (right side in left hand drive cars). In more urban settings, the Baby Fender Mirror helps in parking in tight spaces, traversing very narrow streets and reversing between obstacles.

The rear bumper-mounted Euro fog lamps increase the alertness of drivers from the rear.

Following the athletic and robust looks of the X-TRAIL's European cousins, the chrome V-grille gives it the look of the new "Nissan-ness", which is a unique and identifiable look similar to most Nissans worldwide.

"The X-TRAIL is a strong contender in its segment," clarifies Mr. Tribdino, "and is keeping the competition on its toes. Last year, we have a small 182-unit difference in total annual sales compared to its closest competitor. Considering the time the X-TRAIL has existed in the Philippine market, that already means a lot."

Aside from its handling and acceleration, the X-TRAIL made its claim to fame in the Philippine market with its comfortable ride, which comes from its aluminum front transverse links along with trapezoidal rear struts and long stroking shock absorbers, which work in unison to stabilize ride and smoothen the bumps.