WITH threatening legislation to curb diesel cars in the growing emissions row it's hardly surprising that some motorists are already turning back to petrol engines.
So it's perhaps quite timely that Nissan has introduced a 1.6-litre 163bhp petrol engine as an option into the diesel dominated X-Trail off-roader line-up.
And as a further fuel saving measure, the new engine is available only with conventional front-wheel-drive rather than the traditional 4x4 for mud-pluggers.
The X-Trail, the bigger sister to Nissan's big selling Qashqai, has been around since 2001 and competes in what is called the mid-sized Sports Utility Vehicle/Crossover sector where diesels have, and currently still do, dominate.
But this move to offer a petrol with 2WD is a canny one by Nissan which realises two crucial things - not every X-Trail owners drives a huge number of miles each year where diesel would be more economical and there are owners out there who don't want to have 4WD on board as most of their daily routine is urban motoring, far away from venturing over fields and down muddy farm tracks.
The 1.6-litre DIG-T petrol engine in the X-Trail is one taken from the Nissan/Renault engine ‘warehouse' so it's already well proven in other models and with its 163bhp delivered through a smooth and precise feeling six-speed manual gearbox it fits the bill.
Potential worries from some motorists that it would not have enough pulling power for such a sizeable five-seater family car are unfounded having driven it with a full house of adults and two small children.
Yes, it lacks some of that low-end torque you always find on tap with any diesel engine but it was still remarkably responsive and with sensible use of the gears it more than proved satisfactory out on the open road.
Once up to speed on A roads and motorways it was certainly quiet, extremely refined as a cruiser and then came really into its own driving through more congested town and city traffic with plenty of hold-ups.
There's no an automatic transmission offered with the petrol engines but there are four levels of trim, starting with the Visia (Â£22,856), followed by the Acenta (Â£24,945), the N-Vision - as driven here costing Â£27,595 -and the range-topping Tekna priced from Â£29,595.
All four are comparatively priced against a growing band of SUV rivals and the latest X-Trail sits well on the road, handles okay with little body roll in corners and the suspension copes well with our often rutted and potholed roads, certainly in the countryside.
Inside, the latest X-Trail has a much nicer and better laid out dashboard plus softer finishes on the surfaces.
It remains extremely spacious with plenty of cubby holes and has an option of two extra rear seats which reduces boot space to a still-decent 450 litres.
Without the extra seats there's more than 550 litres of room and while the interior is perhaps not as plushly finished off as some German-made rivals, the plastic surrounds, door handles and the like have a much more softer feel to them than in the previous edition.
The N-Vision X-Trail comes with a seven-inch touch screen complete with an easy-to-use sat nav, Bluetooth connections, auto emergency braking and a 360-degree parking camera among its standard features.
One of the biggest advantages of the X-Trail is a good amount of head and leg room for all main seat passengers.
In terms of fuel economy the 1.6 petrol engine returned a steady 41mpg, not quite up to the official combined figure of 44.1mpg but pleasing enough bearing in mind its size and it was carry five adults most of the time.