The all-conquering Qashqai is the first Nissan to spring to mind when you think SUV, but its bigger brother is growing in popularity. Already the world’s biggest selling SUV, X-Trail sales were up a massive 76 per cent here in the UK last year, with more than 16,000 examples finding homes on British driveways. Nissan hopes that with a host of changes to the five- and sevenseater, that this will grow further thanks to bolder exterior styling, a better-quality cabin, greater refinement and additional technology. And while it’s still a way off yet, Nissan’s ProPilot autonomous drive technology will feature on the SUV towards the end of next year.

On the outside, the new X-Trail boasts the latest interpretation of Nissan’s V-motion grille, which is wider than before. We’re not so keen on the tacky flat sensor that features the Nissan logo and houses the technology for the autonomous emergency braking and active cruise control, but understand that it’s necessary for the technology to work properly. The headlights are also new, with adaptive functionality and full LEDs on our topspecification Tekna version, and feature boomerang-shaped LED daytime running lights. The fog lights are now rectangular and the parking sensors are flush, rather than protruding on the outgoing car. At the rear there’s a revised bumper with additional chrome detailing, together with an updated rear light cluster design. Fresh colours and new 18-inch alloy wheel designs complete the new exterior look for the 2017 X-Trail.

Step inside and there’s a new flatbottomed steering wheel with optional heating that makes it easier to get in and out, as well as appearing more stylish. An upgrade in materials leaves a better impression than before, with nice quality soft-touch plastics for the dashboard top and decent fit and finish. Nissan says that the graphics on the Connect infotainment system have been upgraded, but it’s a shame that the unit itself looks so dated and is so clunky. The seats have additional quilting which delivers a noticeable uplift in quality, while heated rear seats are offered for the first time. There’s generous adjustment for the steering wheel and chairs, and it is easy to get a comfortable driving position that is command-like with decent all-round vision. Oddment space is well provided for, with a useful tray in front of the gear lever, a cubby hole underneath the armrest, a large glovebox and bottle holders and storage within the front doors. Head and legroom is plentiful even with the panoramic roof fitted, with rear seat passengers well catered for in particular, with generous knee, leg and head space, and easy access thanks to the wide-opening doors. In the third row, the space is best suited to smaller adults and children due to the restricted legroom. With all of the chairs in use, there’s 135 litres of space, which is sufficient space for a few shopping bags and similar in size to other rivals like the Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe. Fold the third row down and the luggage room extends to 445 litres, and using the vehicle in two-seat mode opens the space up to a generous 1,996 litres, up 14 litres on its predecessor. The 174bhp 2.0-litre dCi engine is a relative newcomer to the X-Trail line-up and so this powerplant hasn’t come in for any changes. It offers considerably perkier performance than the 129bhp 1.6-litre unit, and has an equally quiet and refined demeanour. The six-speed manual gearbox is mainly smooth, though there was some evidence of notchiness when changing from second to third. The steering has good weighting, with a more precise feel than before, and while it can feel wallowy and there’s some lean when cornering, the excellent grip from the four-wheeldrive system keeps everything neatly in check. The suspension is tuned for comfort rather than dynamism, with potholes and imperfections soaked up nicely and only the deepest ruts transferred into the cabin. Final prices have yet to be announced, but it is expected that there will only be a modest increase over the outgoing model. That means that the entry-level Visia versions will cost around £25,000, with the plushest Tekna editions costing as much as £38k in seven-seat, fourwheel- drive automatic guise.

On sale | September 2017
In showrooms | September 2017
Prices | £25,000 to £38,000 (approximately)
Bodystyles | 5-door SUV
Engines | 1.6 (129bhp), 2.0 (174bhp)
Trim levels | Visia, Acenta, N-Connecta, Tekna
Also consider | Hyundai Santa Fe, Skoda Kodiaq
Model tested | Tekna 2.0 dCi 4WD 7-seat
Price | £36,000 (approximately)
Made in | Fukuoka, Japan
Bodystyle | 5-door SUV, 7-seats
Layout | Four-wheel-drive
Engine | 1995cc, 4-cylinder, 16-valve, turbo diesel
Stop-start | Yes
Selective catalyst reduction | No
Transmission | 6-speed manual
Maximum power | 174bhp @ 3,750rpm
Maximum torque | 280lb ft @ 2,000rpm
Top speed | 127mph
0-62mph | 9.4secs
CO2 emissions | 153g/km
Economy (urban/extra urban/combined) | 42.8/53.3/48.7mpg
Fuel tank size | 60 litres
Range | 643 miles Insurance group | 21
Company car BIK rate | 32%
Size (length/width with mirrors) | 4,690/1,830mm
Boot space (min/max) | 135/445/1,996 litres
Kerb/maximum towing weight | 1,625/2,000kg
Euro NCAP rating | (pre-facelift)