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New Nissan Qashqai (Dualis to us) launched

The bizarrely named Qashqai – better known as the Dualis in Australia – is Nissan’s latest move in the booming SUV market and it’s headed Down-Under next year.

The new Nissan Qashqai – just unveiled in the UK and on sale in European markets from January – is on Nissan Australia’s wishlist, given the continuing strength of the SUV market here.

Nissan followers will be more familiar with the moniker Dualis, the badge the vehicle wears here. Details for the new Australian-bound models are still sketchy and so far there is no confirmation on the name or when it will arrive here, but the smart money has the Dualis badge remaining on the bonnet.

The Qashqai is 49mm longer than the current Dualis and fractionally lower and wider. Distinctive features include a clamshell-style bonnet.

As you’d expect, the new Nissan is packed with technology. What the company calls Safety Shield includes Front Collision Avoidance (this includes a radar to give three escalating levels of warning and avoidance), Driver Attention Support and Traffic Sign Recognition. Intelligent Park Assist is also there for those who like their car to try and park itself. There’s also Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Warning, Moving Object Detection, and High Beam Assist.

Every engine in the range – both petrol and diesel – use a turbocharger and Nissan has been on a rigourous weight-watching program, shaving as much as 40kg off some models, despite adding more equipment.

The company reckons front-wheel-drive variants will account for the majority of sales in most markets. Four-wheel drive ALL-MODE 4×4-i versions will be matched to six-speed manual or all-new Xtronic transmissions.

Interior space has also been improved, with larger luggage capacity underpinned by a variable floor system. Apparently, there’s even space to store the parcel shelf when it’s not being used.

The Qashqai is 20mm wider, 49mm longer and 15mm lower than the current car. Despite the reduced height, front and rear headroom levels have actually increased by 10mm and the raised driving position remains.

All models feature LED daytime running lights, and more expensive versions are equipped with full LED power for both dip and main beam, Nissan believing the light LED produces is better than Xenon lamps.

“The Qashqai’s LED headlamps produce a whiter, crisper light, not only using 50% less power than Xenon bulbs, but also producing light closer in colour to sunlight, resulting in better visibility at night,” says Nissan.

The Qashqai has a drag co-efficient of 0.32, helping to lower CO2 emissions, improve fuel consumption and, the company claims, offering greater stability at speed.

Interestingly, the diesel Qashqai features what Nissan calls Active Grille Shutter system which means the front grille automatically shuts at speeds over 30km/h and only opens if sensors detect that the engine needs cooling. The system will be fitted as standard on diesel-engined models with manual transmissions.

Nissan Qashqai rear

The boot has a claimed 430 litres capacity with the rear seats in place – a 20 litre increase over the previous model.

There’s improved head and leg room, greater shoulder room, and load space flexibility has also been improved thanks to a tailgate that opens 150mm higher than before. A dual-floor system with two reversible floor panels can be raised or lowered, providing 16 possible configurations to maximise luggage volume or provide a full flat floor with rear seats folded.

The luggage boards feature a wipe-clean surface on one side and soft carpet on the other, so muddy boots – for example – can be transported without damaging the textile surfaces.

Globally there will be four engines: two petrol and two diesel, with the option of two- or four-wheel- drive, with the choice of six-speed manual or all-new Xtronic automatic transmissions.

It’s not clear yet which engines will come to Australia but it’s odds on the smallest – a 1.2-litre petrol unit – will not make the trip over the ocean. Still, at 85kW of power, the smallest engine is not too shabby.

Driving through the six-speed manual transmission, this advanced turbocharged engine generates a pretty handy 190Nm of torque. Nissan says the 1.2-litre offers sharper acceleration and greater flexibility than the outgoing 1.6-litre naturally aspirated engine.

Nissan says this base model engine has a fuel consumption figure of 5.6L/100km (0.6L/100 improvement over the outgoing 1.6-litre).

The most powerful petrol engine on offer will be the 1.6 DIG-T, again featuring a turbocharger and producing 240Nm of torque, and, it seems, offering identical fuel economy to the 1.2-litre unit.

The direct injection diesel engine is a 1.5-litre and it promises a very impressive 3.8L/100km.combined fuel figure.

Top of the range is a 1.6 dCi diesel unit seen in current Dualis models but with some modifications aimed at making it much quieter. In the Qashqai this diesel can be specified with either two or four-wheel-drive.

In two-wheel-drive manual form, the 1.6 dCi has CO2 emissions of 115g/km and a combined fuel consumption figure of 4.4 l/100km. The Xtronic automatic version emits 119g/km and returns 4.6l/100km, while the four-wheel-drive manual version’s figures come in at 129g/km and 4.9l/100km.

Model specifications and features for Australian variants – as well as a release date – are still to be confirmed by Nissan Australia, but we hope to have some firm news on that for readers very soon.

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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober