This latest incarnation of the Nissan X-Trail SUV has a very dynamic and curvy exterior. X-Trail buyers currently have four trims to choose from, starting with the entry-level Visia and moving up to Acenta, n-tec and Tekna.

Although the seven-seat version is an option, it won’t cost you anything extra (except for a little bit of boot space). However, a panoramic roof makes even the five-seater feel a bit more spacious. This is complemented by flexible second-row seats, which can be individually adjusted forwards and backwards, and also fully recline.

Available with both two and four-wheel drive, the X-Trail is good on and off the road. The advanced 4×4 system actually switches between two and four-wheel drive as needed, so it’s not as heavy on fuel as you might expect. The X-Trial also features driving aids like Active Trace Control, which can apply the brakes to individual wheels when cornering for greater stability.

The X-Trail shares many of the virtues that make the smaller Qashqai such a big hit with buyers. It looks good and has a stylish, well-equipped interior. In fact, given its extra space and additional seating, a basic seven-seater X-Trail looks better value than a similarly priced five-seat Qashqai.

This X-Trail’s build quality and specification both feel up there with some of the class best. All versions feature cruise control, Bluetooth phone connectivity and air-conditioning as standard. The new X–Trail rides and handles better than its predecessor, too, although it leans quite heavily in corners and the steering is a little light.

There is currently a limited choice of engines available in the X-Trail: either a 1.6-litre DIG-T 163 petrol that’s only available as a two-wheel-drive manual or a 1.6-litre dCi 130 diesel. While the latter is available with both two and four-wheel drive with a manual gearbox, if you want Xtronic automatic transmission, you’re limited to the higher-spec two-wheel-drive models.

It’s available with a choice of six-speed manual and CVT automatic transmissions. Both are reasonably efficient, although unless you really need it, we’d recommend avoiding the automatic. You can specify your X-Trail with two or four-wheel drive as well. However, although the car has enough ground clearance to tackle light off-roading, it’s designed primarily for the road, where two-wheel drive is sufficient – and cheaper to run.

The X-Trail scored the full five stars in its Euro NCAP crash tests and comes with a good package of safety kit. We expect it’s going to be pretty reliable, too.

Looking for a Nissan X-Trail? Find it here www.carfromjapan.com