WITH its specious, comfortable and smooth characteristics, the Nissan X-Trail is a large SUV for families who need a little extra room.

It’s a vehicle that’s evolved from fairly basic origins into the refined and polished X-Trail we see today.

The fourth-generation model comes in a variety of flavours - and we tested the e-Power e-4orce 213 Tekna version, which deploys four-wheel drive and a clever hybrid system to provide a super-smooth driving experience.

It feels controlled, well-balanced and sufficiently powerful, but it might not set the pulse racing in terms of performance - although a 0-62mph time of 7 seconds means it’s certainly no slouch.

The e-Power system uses an electric motor to drive the car, but the vehicle also carries a 1.5-litre petrol engine that isn’t connected to the wheels and acts purely as a generator.

Denbighshire Free Press: The Nissan X-Trail 1.5 E-Power E-4orce 213 Tekna on test

Essentially, the petrol engine converts petrol into electricity, which is then sent to a small battery or directly to the electric motor.

In terms of how this system feels when you’re behind the wheel, you get a smoother, pure-electric driving experience as opposed to the transitions you notice on a conventional hybrid vehicle when it changes between the petrol engine and electric motor.

Instead, the petrol engine just works away in the background, which is arguably a more sensible way of merging petrol and electric power.

Buyers can opt for two-wheel drive, while the all-wheel drive e-4orce version - tested here - has an extra electric motor at the back to drive the rear wheels when you need more grip.

In some of the recent slippery conditions caused by a succession of named storms across the UK, the system was very useful in giving the X-Trail a sure-footed feel and helping to maintain traction on some treacherous surfaces.

Denbighshire Free Press: The Nissan X-Trail 1.5 E-Power E-4orce 213 Tekna on test

The X-Trail feels quite nimble for a bigger vehicle and the handling is trustworthy, even if the steering is a little lacking in feel.

Plenty of driving modes are on offer, namely Standard, Eco, Sport, Snow and Off-Road. Drivers also have the choice of switching on the e-Pedal, which gives you the option to accelerate and decelerate effectively with just the accelerator pedal at speeds above 6 mph.

From the front, the car has a confident-looking face, with the grille and sleek LED lights combining well to create strong, well integrated lines.

From the side, silver strips across the bottom and top of the doors draw the eye, while roofrails, black trim around the wheels and bodyside mouldings add a robust element to the overall image. From the rear, the vehicle is notable for its roof spoiler and rear styling plate.

As soon as you step inside the X-Trail, you’re greeted by a cabin that feels like it’s designed around the driver, with all the controls within easy reach and sight. An armrest jutting out from the door provides a perfect place to rest your elbow while, to the left, the leather lid on the deep stowage well adds further comfort for the driver.

Denbighshire Free Press: The Nissan X-Trail 1.5 E-Power E-4orce 213 Tekna on test

Two cup holders and a phone charging bay can also be found on the floating central platform, which hovers above another storage area beneath where you might put things like keys, a book or your wallet. The doors also contain huge storage spaces.

The large infotainment screen is crystal clear and offers access to satnav, DAB radio, phone connectivity, NissanConnect services and a ‘Where am I’ function in case you get hopelessly lost. A button also allows you to dim the light on the screen if its brightness is distracting you at night.

There are plenty of soft-touch materials, while the dash incorporates some smart stitching and a silver strip beneath a section of wood-effect detailing.

You have to look much lower down to find any scratchy plastics.

The synthetic leather seats are comfortable and supportive, also providing full electric adjustment to allow you to find the perfect driving position.

There a plenty of creature comforts, including a heated leather steering wheel, heated seats and a camera providing a great all-round view when manoeuvring.

As a back seat passenger in the X-Trail, you could hardly ask for more. Legroom and headroom is immense, to the point where three sizeable adults could sit alongside each other in some degree of comfort, while two could really spread out on a longer journey.

Rear seat occupant are also treated to heated seats, their own climate control and USB charging ports.

Nissan X-Trail 1.5 E-Power E-4orce 213 Tekna

ENGINE: Hybrid, with 1.5-litre petrol and electric motor producing 213bhp

PERFORMANCE: 0-62mph in 7 seconds and top speed of 111mph

ECONOMY: 44mpg and 146g/km emissions

TRANSMISSION: Semi-auto, all-wheel drive

PRICE: £45,935