Fancy an adventure and like the look of the X-Trail? Then you are not alone, as this sports utility vehicle is both Nissan’s most popular vehicle worldwide and the best-selling SUV in the world.

Since the first X-Trail appeared 18 years ago, more than 3.7 million have been sold – half a million of them in Europe.

Its appeal is pretty clear even before you get behind the wheel, as this is a solid, capable, capacious load-carrier, designed to handle anything that a family can throw at it.

Priced from just over £23,000, the X-Trail comes in a five-seat version and, like the car driven here, an ultra-versatile, seven-seat set-up, which costs an extra £660, chosen by half of all UK buyers.

The latest model has had an external makeover, along with a higher-quality interior to make the cabin more refined and even more technology.

But it is the sheer practicality of the X-Trail that is its biggest selling point and here the space on offer is key to its success. The second row of seats have loads of knee room and they also slide and recline for extra comfort.

On the seven-seat version, access to the third row of seats that fold flat into the boot floor, is simple and convenient.

Even the powered tailgate has had a tweak and can now be opened hands-free. So if you carrying shopping bags or holding on to young children, you can simply kick your foot under the centre of the rear bumper to automatically activate the opening mechanism.

Every X-Trail boot comes with a clever collection of shelves and dividers that can be adjusted in any one of nine configurations and includes a hidden compartment to keep valuables out of sight.

Diesel fuel may be being demonised at the moment, but the newly-introduced engine on the test car combines a tempting combination of a high-performing 177 horsepower with the real-world prospect of returning more than 40mpg, even when fully loaded.

On the move, the X-Trail is surprisingly quiet, smooth and refined, which all helps make journeys stress-free.

Every new Nissan X-Trail comes with six airbags as standard, along with anti-lock brakes and stability control. Other standard equipment includes cruise control with speed limiter, Bluetooth connectivity, manual air-conditioning, electric folding and heated door mirrors and alloy wheels.

The top-grade Tekna specification list of standard equipment is extensive and includes, for example, a panoramic glass roof with a one-touch powered shade, an automatic parking system, an eight-speaker Bose sound system and even heaters in the second row of seats.

It also delivers everything from full LED follow-the-road headlights, to a mass of electronic safety systems covering everything from blind spot monitoring and an alert for traffic crossing when reversing, to Nissan’s ‘around view’ camera system that gives a bird’s eye view of the car, which is a boon when parking.

But those electronics are about to be joined by an even more sophisticated step into motoring’s future. Coming soon to the X-Trail will be the ProPILOT system, which Nissan says will be the first stage in the company’s move to autonomous driving. It will control the car’s steering, acceleration and braking in a single lane in both traffic jams and high-speed cruising.

So the adventure continues.

Auto facts

Model: Nissan X-Trail Tekna X-TRONIC dCi 177 4WD

Price: £38,815

Insurance group: 23 (1-50)

Fuel consumption (combined): 46.3mpg

Top speed: 121mph

Length: 469cm/184.6in

Width: 183cm/72in

Luggage capacity: 15.7 cu ft (with five seats in place)

Fuel tank capacity: 13.2 gallons/60 litres

CO2 emissions: 162g/km

Warranty: Three years/ 60,000 miles