THE Nissan X-Trail has been around for almost 20 years now and has appealed to the masses with its five or seven-seat versatility.
The beefy five-door SUV was given a mild make-over a couple of years back, but more recently Nissan upgraded the vehicle's engine range.
Customers can now opt for a 1.7-litre dCi 150PS diesel unit that is mated to a six-speed manual or CVT automatic gearbox, and available in 2WD or 4WD.
Or for petrol fans there is a new 1.3-litre DIG-T 160PS petrol engine in 2WD and with a Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT).
We tried the petrol-driven X-Trail in range-topping Tekna trim with five seats priced at £31,190. This car, with its 270Nm of torque, could reach 62mph from a standstill in 11.5 seconds and maxed out at 123mph.
According to official figures, it can deliver combined fuel economy of 33.6-34.9mpg (WLTP) with carbon emissions of 149g/km.
Also new to the latest X-Trail is the seven-speed DCT which delivered very smooth gear changes as the car cruised effortlessly along motorways and B roads. The acceleration was constant and there was always plenty of power on tap to overtake slower moving vehicles.
The road holding impressed provided tight bends were given a degree of respect and there was minimal body sway despite the vehicle sitting on large 19-inch alloy wheels.
The latest X-Trail is kitted out with lots of clever systems such as Intelligent Ride Control, Intelligent Trace Control and Intelligent Engine Brake - these set-ups work together to make day-to-day driving more enjoyable by smoothing out the bumps and dips and helping deliver improved handling through bends.
The X-Trail certainly looks the business with its bold, upright stance and eye-catching features including a V-Motion grille that sweeps into the headlight clusters, satin roof rails, rear privacy glass, a black honeycomb front grille, chrome window surrounds and 19-inch machine cut alloy wheels.
The interior is smart, clutter-free and very upmarket in its design and layout with plenty of techno treats to explore.
The high-end Tekna has the Nissan Connect touchscreen navigation and entertainment system, an upgraded eight-speaker Bose sound system, DAB radio, a USB port and Bluetooth connectivity. However on the downside, there is no smartphone link-up via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
The driver benefits from excellent all-round visibility thanks to the elevated seating position and all dials, readouts and controls are ideally positioned for ease of use. It's also nice to see a separate panel to control all the heating systems so you don't have to navigate an over-complicated touchscreen menu simply to lower the temperature in the car.
Comfort levels are high too with powered leather front seats, heated front and rear seats, plus a heated steering wheel. And refinement levels within the car are impressive too thanks to the introduction of some new aerodynamic panels around the pillars which, along with a low aerodynamic underbody, make for a quieter ride as well as helping to save on fuel.
Obviously, the X-Trail needs to have all the practicality bases covered and it does with a boot capacity that ranges from 565 litres to 1,196 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. And there are plenty of handy storage compartments throughout the car too, including a glovebox, sunglasses holder, front and rear cup holders, a deep central cubby box, door bins and a couple of trays.
There is ample room in the back for three adults to sit comfortably although the addition of the panoramic sunroof does eat slightly into head space.
All in all, the latest Nissan X-Trail is the complete package offering high levels of comfort, a wealth of on-board technology, impressive driving dynamics and good economy. And when you factor in the maximum five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, it's clear to see why the vehicle has proven so popular throughout the years.
£31,190, plus £745 extras
160ps, 1,332cc, 4-cylinder, petrol-engine driving front wheels via 7-speed DCT automatic transmission
3 yrs/60,000 miles