ANOTHER EV is joining the Nissan range as the Japanese auto maker launches its fourth generation X-Trail SUV.
With the choice of seven seats, two or four-wheel-drive and either Nissan e-Power or mild hybrid drive systems the newcomer sets fresh standards.
Prices run from £32,030 in Visia mild hybrid specification to £48,155 in high grade Tekna+ specification with the E-Power 4x4 set up and seven seats, the new X-Trail is the only SUV to offer such practicality for less than £50,000.
The Tekna+ model is the version we have just tried at the X-Trail's European launch and it impresses in every aspect from looks to performance.
Chunkier than before it bears little resemblance to its forebears which have become top sellers for Nissan since the first X-Trail hit the road back in 2001.
The new model is very much a car of our times and like Nissan's other e-Power mode, the Qashqai, offers a stepping-stone for drivers not quite ready to make the leap to fully electric vehicles.
E-Power is basically a clever range extender system that sees a 1.5-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine fitted as a generator to power an electric motor which drives the front wheels.
It is available in all but Visia grade and costs from £36,140 at Acenta Premium level and as is the case with all electric vehicles the transmission is fully automated.
The so-called e-4orce 4x4 set up fitted to the latest X-Trail adds a second electric motor for the rear axle to drive the back wheels and between them the double motor powertrain creates a vehicle with off-road capability that can tow up to 1.8 tonnes.
In seven-seat guise two folding seats - which are stowed in the boot - reduce luggage space from 575 to 485 litres although that remains on the large side.
Maximum cargo space for the seven-seater is 1,298 litres as opposed to 1,396 with five seats and with all seats in use that falls to 120 litres.
The third row is designed mainly for youngsters less than 5ft 3ins tall but with a sliding second row of seats legroom in the back is flexible and user-friendly.
A powered tailgate is standard and can be opened hands-free while automatic parking and a 360- degree camera are other features.
Drive programmes can be accessed via a rotary control in the centre console with five settings for a variety of conditions including off-road and sport while hill descent control is also part of the X-Trail's harsh terrain armoury.
The electrified drive system delivers instant power - 10,000 times faster than a mechanical set up - and that results in performance figures of 0 to 62mph acceleration in 7.2 seconds and a top speed of 111mph.
The combined power output of the two motors is 213ps and the way Nissan has tuned the e-4orce system has helped handling and comfort on and off the road.
Engage the e-Pedal button - a device fitted to all of Nissan's electric vehicles - and it is possible to drive the X-Trail using only the accelerator such is the effect of the brake regeneration while an auto hold function is also fitted to the electronic parking brake.
It all adds up toa very efficient drive system and officially the X-Trail we tried was rated at 43.8mpg and we averaged 35.6 to the gallon on a drive of more than 100 miles.
Emissions are rated at 148g/km.
With the X-Trail driven by electric power it means that the sound of the petrol engine can be slightly unusual at times - the power delivery not being directly linked to the work of the engine.
However it is something you become accustomed to and is realistically is the only quirk of the e-Power system.
If there was a niggle it was with the back-lighting on the gear selector lever which in bright sunlight rendered it impossible to see the gear selected.
Otherwise the performance of the X-Trail is nigh on faultless while the interior design and trim is a huge step forwards compared to its predecessor.
Two 12.25-inch display screens make up the control panel on the dash, a full colour head-up display and a classy ambient light system set off the cabin while a double opening lid for the centre console is another convenient touch as are rear doors which open almost to 90 degrees for easy access.
Every aspect of the new X-Trail has been well thought out - from design, finish and practicality to the powertrain which is as effective as it is efficient.
It is a huge step forward for Nissan in the new world of electrified motoring and one which should be welcomed by those wanting an upmarket SUV which is keen when it comes to eco credentials.