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Nissan Dualis gets a makeover

Although almost 500,000 Dualises — called Qashqai in the UK — have been sold in Europe the crossover has been overshadowed locally by the X-Trail, Navara and Murano. However, the refresh, which should arrive locally early next year, gives the baby off-roader some much-needed visual clout.  Among the changes are a new, more aggressive front-end, revised tail-lights and upgraded interior.

Nissan has also focused attention on the suspension to improve the car's ride, as well as lowering cabin noise.  The biggest change is ahead of the A-pillar, where a new grille, headlights, bonnet and mudguards give the car a dramatic lift. At the back, the overall shape of the lights carries over but they now include an aerodynamic feature to reduce drag.  The brake and tail lights also use LED lights and there is a more transparent lens design.

Visually, two new five-spoke alloy wheel designs have been introduced for Europe.  Inside, the Dualis gets new up-market dials and more storage space. A redesigned trip computer is now positioned between the speedo and tachometer.  Its white LCD screen shows instantaneous and average fuel consumption, mileage, time, cruise control and speed limiter settings.

Low-level lighting has been added around the front footwells.  More insulation around the front bulkhead has reduced the transmission of engine noise to the cabin.

The Dualis also gets an acoustic windscreen, which helps reduce wind noise. There is also better window sealing on the front doors.  In Europe a new model has been added called the 1.5-litre dCi Pure Drive, a model than emits just 129g/km of CO2. Pure Drive gets aerodynamic wheel covers, blank out foglights, low rolling resistance tyres and the higher final drive ratio for better economy.  The Dualis is built in the UK at Nissan's Sunderland plant.

Nissan Australia spokesman, Jeff Fisher, says the new wagon will arrive around June. “We’re also looking at a seven-seater version,” he says.  However, Fisher says the company is still working through pricing and whether it will be available in ST or Ti form.