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First look: Nissan renews Dualis

Smoother: Nissan's facelifted Dualis will offer more features and less aerodynamic drag.

Nissan’s compact Dualis to score more style, refinement and features in mid-2010

7 Dec 2009

NISSAN has revealed a midlife makeover for its popular compact crossover, the Dualis, ahead of its Australian release in mid-2010.

Biggest change is a redesigned front-end involving a new bumper, grille, bonnet, headlights and quarter panels, which Nissan says combine to deliver a greater sense of quality and presence.

Exterior changes extend to the rear, where 12 LED elements form the tail and brake lights behind a slipperier clear lens. Together, the cosmetic revisions are said to lift the Dualis’ aerodynamic drag coefficient from 0.34 to 0.33Cd.

The changes will apply to both the Dualis AWD, which went on sale in Australia in January 2008, and the Dualis 2WD, which lowered the model’s entry price to $24,990 here in August – as well as the long-wheelbase Dualis+2 seven-seater, which could join the Australian range here next year.

All 2010 Dualis models will also come with new instrument dials, which Nissan says offer improved clarity and legibility, and which are separated by a redesigned trip computer display.

12 center imageThe new white LCD panel will continue to reveal instantaneous and average fuel consumption, mileage, time and cruise control functions, while further interior updates include the fitment of footwell lighting and an additional storage compartment at the base of the centre stack.

Chassis-wise, Nissan says “small but significant” changes to suspension tuning combine to improve ride, comfort and handling responsiveness.

Rounding out the changes for 2010 are an ‘acoustic’ windscreen, revised window sealing and the application of new multi-layer insulation material around the front bulkhead, which together are said to reduce the vehicle’s overall noise, vibration and harshness levels.

Known as the Qashqai in Europe, where it went on sale in March 2007, the Dualis has exceeded Nissan’s own sales ambitions, with the 500,000th customer delivery scheduled to take place later this month.

Nissan says that more than 80 per cent of buyers of the Dualis, which is positioned both here and in Europe as an alternative to the traditional small family hatchback, are new to the Japanese brand.

Sales of the road-going mini-SUV are down 24.3 per cent so far in 2009, however, with sales of Nissan’s closely related X-Trail down by a similar amount.

The once-dominant X-Trail now commands a 9.2 per cent share of the compact SUV segment (down from 14.5 per cent in 2008), while the Dualis’ share has increased from 1.5 to 2.5 per cent in the same timeframe.

While the Dualis is available in Australia exclusively with a 2.0-litre petrol engine, in the UK it can also be had with 1.6-litre petrol and 1.5 and 2.0-litre dCi diesel power.

The 2010 Qashqai goes on sale in the UK – Nissan’s biggest market in Europe – early next year, when two new colours (Magnetic Red and Mineral Grey) and new 16 and 17-inch alloy wheel designs will also become available.

A ‘Visia Pure Drive’ 2WD manual version of the Qashqai (featuring aerodynamic aids, less weight and a 1.5 dCi engine that emits 129 grams of CO2 per kilometre compared to the standard model’s 137g/km) is also available in the UK, where one in every six cars built last year was a Qashqai.

According to Nissan, Britain’s biggest new car manufacturer, more than 26 per cent of all cars produced there in 2008 came out of its Sunderland plant, which produces the Qashqai, Note and Micra. More than 80 per cent of Sunderland’s production is exported to 45 markets worldwide.

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