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Nissan Qashqai 'might' come

The Qashqai will be released in Europe in February and Nissan is considering bringing the small SUV to Australia.

Nissan spokeswoman Lenore Fletcher says the company is looking very closely at the Qashqai, but if it does go ahead, it won't arrive until about 2008.

"If the vehicle does make sense for the Australian market and we can get the sums right, I think we would be really keen to have it here as soon as we can," Fletcher says.

The Qashqai will be available in Europe in four engine sizes: 1.6-litre and 2.9-litre petrol and 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre diesels. It will also be available with several gearbox options, depending on the model.

"It's a car that has created a new segment almost in that it sort of sits between C segment hatches and compact four-wheel drives," Fletcher says.

"It's a very funky-looking car and it should appeal to a lot of people."

Although it may have similarities to the Murano, Fletcher says it has its own character. For a start, it is much smaller in size and in engine capacity, putting it in a totally different class.

For this reason, if the Qashqai comes to Australia, it is likely to carry a lower price tag than the Murano, which starts at $49,990.

The Qashqai, pronounced 'cash-kai', is also the name of a race of Turkish-speaking nomadic people who live mainly in southern Iran.

Fletcher says that although the production model is less radical, the strong lines from the concept car are still in evidence.