The ‘dual’ in Nissan Dualis signifies its dual-purpose nature, a crossover between a family hatchback and a compact 4WD. It has Nissan’s All-mode transmission so has decent traction on bush tracks, as well as on slippery sealed surfaces. It has higher than average ground clearance for a hatchback, but it isn’t as high as a ‘real’ 4WD.
Nissan gave the Dualis a major makeover in April 2010. Every visible body component forward of the windscreen was new, with the revised bonnet giving it a bolder look and improved aerodynamics. Inside, the visual changes are minor, but the instruments and trip computer are easier to see.
Late in 2010 an extended wheelbase seven-seat version, called Dualis +2 was introduced. Children will be more comfortable than adults in the rearmost seats, seven full-size folks can be carted in emergencies.
The second-row seats can be moved forward to make access to the back reasonably easy. This sliding function also lets you juggle legroom in all three rows.
Comfort of the Dualis is good and even poor-quality Aussie backroads don’t knock it about overmuch. Handling is nothing out of the ordinary. It will look after you unless you do something really silly. Just don’t expect a sporty Euro SUV at a Japanese price.
With the introduction of the second generation in Australia in 2014 the Dualis was given the name of Qashqai which had been used in other countries for many years.
Qashqai got a mild facelift late in 2018, an increased range of driver-assistance technologies, and autonomous emergency braking in all model. Lane-departure warning assisted drivers who aren’t paying attention.
Nissan Dualis was originally powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine by way of a six-speed manual gearbox, or a CVT auto with pre-selected ratios that can be operated manually if you’re not happy with the computer’s decisions. Try for yourself during your private test drive as some will find performance is marginal.
Qashqai also has a 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated engine, but with added power and torque than the Dualis.
A 1.6-litre turbo-diesel was introduced in April 2013, but only has a six-speed manual gearbox. It wasn’t a sales success but is an honest unit and it may be worth hunting one down if you’re planning long trips in remote areas where the extra range of a diesel can be important.
Nissan (nee Datsun) has been operating in Australia since the mid-1960s. It built cars here for many years and is well and truly an established part of the downunder scene.
There are plenty of Nissan dealers Australian wide, with stronger than average representation in the country areas due to the longtime importation of tough 4WDs in the Patrols and Navaras.
Getting unusual parts for the Dualis may take a few days if you have trouble in the outback, but shouldn’t normally take more than two or three business days. Prices for Dualis parts are about average for this class.
Dualis has a reasonably simple makeup and amateur gals and guys with a mechanical bent can do a fair bit of their own work. Don’t touch the safety bits, though.
Having originally shunned the name Qashqai that was used on other markets, Nissan Australia surprised us by choosing to use the Qashqai tag when the new generation ‘Dualis’ was introduced here in July 2014. Or perhaps the company’s head office was still smarting over the failed Pulsar / Tiida / Pulsar experiment…
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Signs of off-road use are generally considered a no-no in a light-duty SUV. Scratches on the guards or doors; scuffs on the bumper corners; dings under the bumpers; and in particular damage to the sump may mean you should back off the purchase. Then again, if the price is right and you’re a mechanic it might be worth going for one.
Feel for any roughness in a CVT, if it’s not smooth as silk have an experienced transmission specialist check it out.
Manuals should be smooth and easy in their gearchanges. Any hanging up or noise during changes may mean problems, either in the gearbox or the clutch.
Check the interior and the boot for signs of hard usage. Kids can wreak havoc on the backs of the seats in front of them if they get crabby.
Expect to pay from $4000 to $7000 for a 2008 Nissan Dualis ST; $6000 to $10,000 for a 2009 Dualis Ti or a 2011 ST; $10,000 to $15,000 for a 2013 Dualis +2 Ti-L; $11,000 to $16,000 for a 2015 Dualis +2 Ti-L or a 2015 Qashqai TS; $13,000 to $19,000 for a 2015 Qashqai TL; $15,000 to $22,000 for a 2017 ST-L; and $18,000 to $26,000 for a 2018 Qashqai N-TEC.
CAR BUYING TIP
Drive several examples of the type of car you’re considering to get a feel of how they should handle. You should soon learn to spot any duds.
RECALLS: To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at: www.productsafety.gov.au/products/transport/cars/