Nissan's next X-Trail looks to have been given an unscheduled unveiling this week, thanks to a handful of images purported to form part of a new patent filing.
If accurate, the images, appearing on Chinese website Auto.Sohu.com, also confirm earlier suspicions that last year's Hi-Cross concept offered a glimpse of the new family SUV.
As with the next-generation Pathfinder, also revealed last year, the 2014 X-Trail will move away from the boxy utilitarian look in favour of a road-going family-focused style.
In concept form - and likely in eventual production - the Hi-Cross is larger than the current X-Trail in almost every direction, measuring 30mm longer, 55mm wider and riding on a 151mm longer wheelbase.
Only in height does the X-Trail have the Hi-Cross beat, measuring 30mm taller.
Power for the concept is provided by a hybrid powertrain, pairing a 2.0 litre direct-injected petrol engine with the latest generation of Nissan's electric motor technology and a lithium-ion battery pack.
The new hybrid tech has been developed for front-wheel-drive cars, but in the case of the Hi-Cross, power can be sent to all four wheels in a part-time all-wheel-drive arrangement.
The hybrid sytem is mated to Nissan's new XTronic CVT automatic transmission, and Nissan says that the powertrain's overall performance is comparable with a 2.5 litre petrol engine (exact figures have not been offered).
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