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Used Nissan Dualis review: 2007-2013

EXPERT RATING
6
If you can come to terms with the quirky CVT, this may be the car to move your people. New When car companies quizzed SUV fans about the importance of four-wheel drive the response was: not important at all. Potential buyers wanted a high-riding wagon with the space to carry kids and their kit. Nissan had an each-way

If you can come to terms with the quirky CVT, this may be the car to move your people.

New

When car companies quizzed SUV fans about the importance of four-wheel drive the response was: not important at all. Potential buyers wanted a high-riding wagon with the space to carry kids and their kit.

Nissan had an each-way punt with the compact Dualis by releasing front and all-wheel drive versions of what in reality was a small hatch with a wagon body and high driving position.

Initially it was sold as a five-seater wagon, later to be joined by a seven-seater, cutely called the +2. Entry to the Dualis club was via the ST, above which was the more highly specified Ti. The same designations carried over to the +2.

The CVT concept is brilliant; however, they require the driver to understand how they operate and what idiosyncrasies to expect

At launch, there was one engine only, a 2.0L four-cylinder with 102kW and 198Nm — nothing special, which showed on the road. Added eventually, the punchy 1.6L turbo diesel markedly improved the appeal of the Dualis.

There were manual and constantly variable transmissions. Pitched as an automatic, the latter wasn't in the conventional sense and drove quite differently. Very few bought the six-speed manual.

If the driving experience was nothing to write home about, the Dualis ticked boxes for practicality. There was plenty of space for families and the rear luggage area was quite generous, even more so once you laid the seats down flat.

On the road the Dualis's performance was unremarkable, somewhat dulled by the CVT, but it was easy to drive and park, the cabin was roomy and outward vision good.

Now

Road testers had their reservations, but Dualis owners in the main are content with their choice.

Reliability issues are few, although one owner we talked to experienced several fairly minor glitches that clouded his view of the car.

Another owner suggested that his Dualis wasn't tough enough to withstand the punishment dished out on unsealed country roads.

Perhaps the most concerning is the report of shuddering with the CVT from one owner. Driving the CVT is definitely a different experience; it's like no other transmission. The CVT concept is brilliant and such transmissions have been around since the 1970s. However, they require the driver to understand how they operate and what idiosyncrasies to expect.

Rather than the cogs and hydraulics in a conventional automatic, a CVT has a belt and pulleys. The alignment changes continuously to maintain a constant, or near constant, engine speed for the greatest fuel efficiency.

The most common problem with a CVT is shuddering when you're taking off or accelerating. Walk away if you observe any shuddering while test-driving a car.

There have been a couple of recalls for the Dualis. One in 2012 was for the steering wheel boss, which was prone to failure and could come away from the column, leaving the driver without steering. Another in 2010 was for a cover screw connecting the steering gear pinion shaft to the housing — if it became loose, the steering could become noisy.

Pricing

Year Price From Price To
2013 $9,680 $18,370
2012 $8,470 $17,710
2011 $7,920 $16,390
2010 $6,710 $15,180
2009 $6,160 $12,320
2008 $6,490 $10,230
2007 $5,830 $9,020

View all Nissan Dualis pricing and specifications

Pricing Guides

$7,425
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$5,830
Highest Price
$9,020

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
ST (4x4) 2.0L, ULP, 6 SP MAN $5,830 – 8,140 2007 Nissan Dualis 2007 ST (4x4) Pricing and Specs
Ti (4x4) 2.0L, ULP, CVT AUTO $6,380 – 9,020 2007 Nissan Dualis 2007 Ti (4x4) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
6
Graham Smith
Contributing Journalist

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