It serves a Dualis pur­pose

Seems you can never have too many SUVs in the show­room

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News - NEIL DOWL­ING neil.dowl­ing@cars­

NIS­SAN’S out to claw back lost SUV mar­ket share with two fresh mod­els.

The “all-new” X-Trail is here in May fol­lowed in Au­gust by the Dualis re­place­ment, which wears the Qashqai badge.

Nis­san launched its com­pact SUV, the Juke, in Oc­to­ber into a new sub-seg­ment, then the seven-seat Pathfinder — which for­sakes off-road rugged­ness for ur­ban fam­ily com­fort.

Size and pricewise the Qashqai sits above the Juke and un­der the X-Trail and like these is ei­ther a front- or all-wheeldrive with limited abil­ity off the tar­mac.

In Bri­tain, where the Qashqui is built, the front-drive petrol ver­sion is the best-sell­ing of its range.

We’ll get the five-seater wagon — which is al­most 200mm longer than the Juke, 47mm longer than the Dualis and 260mm shorter than the cur­rent X-Trail — as a 1.6-litre petrol or 1.6-litre turbo diesel.

Bri­tish ex­am­ples have the op­tion of Nis­san’s Safety Shield tech­nol­ogy, which in­cludes au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing with for­ward cam­eras, driver at­ten­tion alert, traf­fic sign recog­ni­tion and auto park as­sist.

Nis­san boss Peter Jones says the Qashqai picks up where the Dualis left off.

“The Qashqai has typ­i­cally at­tracted small-car buy­ers seek­ing all of the ben­e­fits of a com­pact car but with var­i­ous SUV-re­lated fea­tures, such as a higher seat­ing po­si­tion and lug­gage space, but without the size-re­lated is­sues of a larger car,’’ he says.

The seven-seater Dualis +2 will be dropped. That role is filled by the new X-Trail.

“Where the Qashqai will ap­peal to cou­ples, the new X-Trail will be more for fam­i­lies,’’ Jones says.

Aus­tralian X-Trails con­tinue to be built in Ja­pan.

The 2014 X-Trail is the same length as the cur­rent model at 4630mm but is wider (by 50mm), higher (by 15mm) and sits on a 2705mm wheel­base that is 75mm longer.

The wheel­base is not shared with the Qashqai — that is trimmed by 60mm.

There are sim­i­lar­i­ties in the de­sign of the X-Trail and Qashqai and view­ers only have to look at the lat­est Pathfinder to see the styling ori­gins.

In­stead of the squared lines of the cur­rent X-Trail, the new wagon is fluid and al­most car­like in its de­sign.

Prac­ti­cal fea­tures in­clude the three rows of the­atre-tiered seats to give rear pas­sen­gers a bet­ter view, rear doors that open to al­most 80 de­grees and se­cond-row seats that re­cline and slide.

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