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Nissan confirms frugal diesel for Dualis

Good combination: The new diesel engine for Nissan’s Dualis crossover is sourced from alliance partner Renault, which claims it to be the world’s most powerful 1.6-litre turbo-diesel.

Around View camera and fuel-sipping diesel for Oz-bound 2012 Nissan Dualis

Nissan logo5 Sep 2011

AUSTRALIAN buyers of Nissan’s popular Dualis crossover will get the option of a frugal yet powerful new 1.6-litre diesel engine in the second half of next year, plus an ‘Around View Monitor’ camera system usually exclusive to high-end European vehicles.

As GoAuto predicted last month when Nissan Australia managing director Dan Thompson revealed a plan to introduce a diesel-powered Dualis, the Japanese brand’s UK division has now confirmed the impending arrival of a 97kW/320Nm diesel unit matching the specifications of the high-tech Energy dCi 130 from alliance partner Renault.

Nissan claims the new engine offers a 31 per cent reduction in fuel consumption over the outgoing European market 2.0-litre dCi unit while producing comparable power.

The new diesel uses just 4.5 litres of diesel per 100 kilometres on the European combined cycle and emits 129 grams of CO2 per kilometre, with the CO2 figure dropping to 119g/km if optional idle-stop technology is fitted.

In addition to offering improved levels of noise and refinement, the new engine reaches maximum torque 250rpm sooner than the unit it replaces at 1750rpm, enabling quicker in-gear acceleration.

12 center imageAlthough peak power is 13kW down on its larger predecessor, the Energy dCi 130 was billed as the world’s most powerful 1.6-litre diesel engine when it was launched in May this year.

Nissan has yet to provide 0-100km/h acceleration times, but the old 2.0-litre diesel is the quickest offering in the European line-up, completing the sprint in 9.5 seconds.

It is too early for Nissan Australia to announce local pricing and specification for the diesel Dualis, but in the UK – where the car is built and sold as the Qashqai – the 2.0-litre diesel costs about £1500 ($A2293) more model-for-model than the equivalent 2.0-litre petrol.

Nissan Australia head of corporate communications Jeff Fisher confirmed that locally-delivered diesels will similarly carry a price premium.

“Diesel engines are still more expensive than petrol, so we have to take that into account when setting a price point,” he said.

In Australia, the Dualis range is priced from $24,990 – for the five-seat, manual 2WD in base ST spec – to $36,890, which buys the seven-seat, automatic AWD variant in Ti trim, meaning a top-spec diesel Dualis could nudge $40,000 plus on-road costs.

The technology-packed engine employs fuel- and emission-saving measures such as low- and high-pressure exhaust gas recirculation, thermal management for faster warm-up times and a variable displacement oil pump that minimises energy consumption by managing the amount of oil pumped according to demand.

Nissan’s larger X-Trail SUV will not get the new engine, retaining the current 127kW/360Nm (manual) or 110kW/320Nm (automatic) 2.0-litre diesel.

Australia should also benefit from trickle-down technology if the Dualis gets Around View Monitor, which made its world debut on the EX crossover from Nissan’s premium brand Infiniti before similar systems emerged from German luxury brands.

The system uses wide-angle cameras located in the bonnet, tailgate and door mirrors to generate a bird’s-eye view of the car on the central colour screen to help with parking or off-road manoeuvres.

Mr Fisher said Nissan is hopeful that it can bring the technology to Australia and make it available at “a more affordable price level”.

Latest VFACTS figures show Dualis sales to be up 40.1 per cent so far this year, with 5761 leaving showrooms.

Nissan as a whole is up 6.1 per cent with 44,767 sales in a market that is down 4.4 per cent to the end of August.

The Dualis is among Nissan Australia’s four core models on which it relies to achieve volume growth as part of its GT2012 business plan. Slow sales of the Tiida mean the brand pushes the Dualis – which currently holds a 7.3 per cent share of the compact SUV market – as its main small car offering.

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