Reliable and durable
A step up from a small sedan or hatch, this allrounder suits a family
NEW The Dualis was a compact SUV aimed at the small-car buyer wanting a higher seating position and a bit more luggage space than a conventional small sedan or hatch.
It struggled when launched in 2007 but the Series II update in 2010 realigned it closer to its target market with price shifts that brought it tantalisingly close to the hard-charging segment leaders.
The main models were frontwheel drive wagons that gave buyers a wagon with the main benefits of an SUV, ie, high driving position and cabin space for luggage. Some variants were quite highly equipped models and for those who had a bigger tribe there was a seven-seater.
All came with a 2.0-litre fourcylinder petrol engine with peak outputs of 102kW/198Nm. It ran on regular unleaded and had plenty of zip when required. The transmission options were a slick six-speed manual and a CVT auto that could be shifted manually thanks to predetermined gear settings that made it seem like a manual.
Final drive was predominantly frontdrive but for those who wanted the additional safety and feel, there was on-demand allwheel drive that fed power to the front wheels when needed.
All models were well equipped. Even the base ST got alloy wheels, cruise control, airconditioning, power windows and mirrors and tilt and reach adjustable steering column. Outlay more cash and the Ti gave you leather, six-stack CD sound, auto headlamps and wipers and Bluetooth connectivity.
NOW Owners are generally content with their choice of the Dualis but there are a few complaints that are worth noting when checking a car before purchase.
Some owners complain about the performance from the 2.0-litre engine, reporting that it struggles when loaded, and with 102kW that’s not surprising. If you are likely to be regularly driving with a load of kids or cargo, get some weight into the car when testdriving so you can get a feel for the performance and make up your own mind.
Others are wary about the CVT. Such transmissions have been around for decades and they have never been as widely used as they are today. This means we’re seeing more problems with them than ever before as car makers sort of the glitches that arise. It’s absolutely crucial to test-drive your car and put it through its paces under as many driving conditions as you can imagine, from parking speed to high speed, acceleration from rest and at speed, overtaking etc, so you can get a good feel for the way the CVT operates.
Some drivers have been concerned about the way the CVT drives. The idea of the CVT is to keep the engine operating in its most efficient range, and sometimes
SMITHY SAYS Decent all-rounder for the family seeking more than a small car can deliver. that feels as if it over-revs when it seems like it should be selecting a higher gear. This flaring is just something you have to get used to.
Brake wear is often raised as an issue and Dualis owners report that they get about 50,000km from a set of rotors and some believe that’s not enough.
The British build quality isn’t as good as the Japanese build, and there are also reports of quality issues with interior trim and plastic interior bits and pieces falling off due to wear and tear.
The trade gives the Dualis a guarded tick of approval, saying that it’s reliable and durable, but it’s let down a little by build quality and the relatively high cost of replacement parts from Britain compared to Japan.