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The Mercury Cars Guide : April 24th 2010
4--- Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au Saturday, April 24, 2010 Nissan in spring offensive PREVIEW: The 2010 Nissan Dualis 2 seven-seater that arrives in Australia in July. INSIDE: The hatch-beating boot and swanky revised interior. YOU can pick the month that circumstances changed for Nissan's Dualis urban crossover. Last September Nissan Aust- ralia slashed prices and intro- duced a two-wheel drive version to help bolster sales. The competent crossover had languished since its 2007 launch and was not striking a chord with buyers who continued to bypass it. But since Nissan's spring offens- ive sales have been on the up. The company is now regularly recording more than 400 sales a month with the prospect of more now the sharply priced Series II version has arrived. Nissan Australia managing di- rector Dan Thompson is confident that with good supply from Euro- pe, Dualis sales can hit 500 a month and possibly go higher. ''Our aspiration is to be over 500 a month,'' he says. ''Getting supply out of Europe is a challenge because the car is so successful there.'' He says the arrival of a two- wheel drive Dualis was helping sales. ''People enjoy the high-up driv- ing position, space and amenity compared to a normal hatch,'' he says. Thompson and his team have continued to refine the Dualis range but even he admits getting it on buyers' radar remains a chal- lenge because of the market domi- nance of the X-Trail and Path- finder. He says the marketing message for Dualis will be better broadcast and targeted at compact crossover buyers. ''We will fix that,'' he says. This time around the ST all- wheel drive has been dropped from the Series II makeover. The front-drive Dualis starts at $24,990 for the ST six-speed man- ual, or $26,990 driveaway. The front-drive luxury Ti man- ual is $29,690. All-paw traction it is now only available in the luxury Ti, which starts at $31,890 for the six-speed manual. Thompson says the Dualis is aimed at two segments, the upper end of the small car segment and the compact off-roader segment. ''The sub-$30,000 pricepoint will bring in many different buyers,'' he says. ''We expect to mix things up in the hatch and crossover seg- ments.'' Visually the mid-life update brings a new grille and tail-lights, revised interior and more equip- ment. Minor aerodynamic im- proves have delivered a small gain in fuel economy from the carry over 102/198Nm 2.0-litre four cylin- der. Likewise, the six-speed man- ual and CVT automatic continue. The entry ST gains new 16-inch alloys, steering wheel audio con- trols and Bluetooth added to the already extensive standard equip- ment list. The luxury Ti gets the bulk of extra gear, from panoramic sun- roof, keyless start, 18-inch alloys and dual-zone climate control. Seven-seater A SEVEN-seater Dualis will join the range in July. Like its five-seater sibling, the Dualis+2 will be available in either front- or all-wheel-drive in ST and Ti models and shares its 2.0-litre four cylinder engine. The seven-seater is 211mm longer and has a 135mm longer wheelbase, which translates into more rear seat room. The third row seats fold flat and are suitable for children. Luggage space has also increased to 550 litres with the seats up and 1520 litres with the third and second row seats folded flat. At $29,990, the seven-seater is $2500 more than the ST five-seater. The front-drive Ti is $34,690 while an all- wheel drive Ti Dualis +2 is $36,890.as never reached the dizzying heights of its European brother, the Qashqai. In Europe it has notched up more than 500,000 sales. Here the Dualis struggled initially when it was launched in 2007 but it's finally gaining traction after a rethink and repositioning by Nissan Australia. It's the right size, it is well built and well packaged and Nissan has finally given it a pricepoint to seriously challenge the compact crossover segment. This time around, with the two- wheel drive gaining momentum, the Dualis is moving out of showrooms in increasing numbers. We drove the top-end Ti AWD model, which won't break the bank even if you spring for the extra luxury. The six-speed manual Ti AWD is $31,480, right at the starter end of some notable rivals like the Subaru Forester, Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. You need to move up a grade or two with its rivals before you get the gear you see on the Ti. The Ti gets all the fruit, including heated leather seats, climate control, panoramic glass roof, keyless start, smart 18-inch alloys and a host of other gear. The ride and handling is what you expect of a well-sorted Euro- compact off-roader. The steering has the right amount of feel and the suspension copes easily with our roads. small torque Nissan's Dualis Price: From $24,990 ST 2WD, $29,690 Ti 2WD On Sale: Now Engine: 2.0-litre four cylinder Output: 102kW at 5200 revs, 198Nm at 4400 revs Transmission: Six-speed manual or CVT automatic Economy, emissions: 8.1 litres/100km (8.2 CVT), 192 g/km (195g/km CVT)
April 17th 2010
May 1st 2010