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Nissan Dualis diesel is go

Good oil: Nissan will finally release a diesel version of its Dualis crossover in Australia around the middle of the year. (European Qashqai dCi pictured)

Premium diesel engine back on track to join Nissan Dualis range in mid-2013

28 Jan 2013

THE diesel-powered Nissan Dualis is back on track for Australia, with first examples expected to arrive in showrooms around the middle of 2013.

The diesel version is unlikely to be a substantial volume player in Australia, and will instead be pitched as a premium variant with performance and economy advantages over its petrol sibling.

The oil-burner had been scheduled to arrive here as a premium alternative to the existing 102kW/198Nm 2.0-litre petrol version in 2012, but was promptly put on the back-burner due to heavy demand in its European heartland.

Documents viewed by GoAuto confirm power will come from the Renault-sourced flagship direct-injection 1.6-litre turbo unit that produces 96kW of power and 320Nm of torque while consuming a meagre 4.5 litres of diesel per 100 kilometres.

This figure is almost half that of the existing petrol, which uses between 8.2L/100km and 8.5L/100km depending on variant.

Other diesel engines available on the Dualis/Qashqai in Europe are 91kW/240Nm 1.5-litre and 110kW/320Nm 2.0-litre units. The bigger engine, which is only slightly more powerful than the newer 1.6-litre unit, is far less efficient at 7.0L/100km.

However, the 1.6 engine is matched exclusively to a six-speed manual gearbox, with no automatic option. The lack of an automatic will prove a disadvantage in Australia, which is traditionally less keen on manual self-shifters than most of Europe.

The dCi engine is available overseas in both front- and all-wheel-drive configurations, as well as both five-seat Dualis and seven-seat Dualis +2 body styles, although it is unclear at this stage what will comprise the Australian line-up.

Previous Nissan Australia managing director and CEO Dan Thompson told GoAuto in 2011, before the diesel version was postponed, that an oil-burning version of the Dualis +2 would not be offered.

Sales of the Dualis (or Qashqai, as it is known elsewhere) were up again last year in Europe – bucking the trend as the market as a whole contracted – and made up more than one-third of Nissan’s total volume in that part of the world.

Despite continued strong for the model, Nissan Australia has secured supply from the manufacturing plant in Sunderland, UK.

Strong exchange rates mean an increasing number of car-makers are selling their European wares in Australia at less of a premium previously expected.

The Euro sales trend was reflected in Australia, with the Dualis petrol powering to 42.6 per cent sales growth in 2012 (13,141 total sales), making it the Japanese company’s third-most-popular model here behind the Navara ute and X-Trail SUV.

Dualis sales have been bolstered by Nissan marketing the crossover as an alternative to traditional small hatchbacks, since its Tiida small-car has failed to strike a chord with buyers.

Nissan Australia will commence a staggered launch of its re-born Pulsar this week, which the company expects will prove more popular with buyers than the Tiida.

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