Nissan Dualis hatch ST 2009
It will be one of your biggest secrets. The car looks like an SUV – even suggesting a 4WD – but beneath its boxy, vertical façade it has the ability to off-road skates. The Nissan Dualis hatch looks exactly like the dirtier friend-drive sister, the Dualis AWD, but just a front-wheel drive.
It shares the 2.0-liter engine and transmission specifications, has the same dimensions including 188mm ground clearance and will save you $ 4,000 on purchase, a little extra fuel cost and a 73kg weight. The idea that something missing underneath the seats is impossible for the driver and, considering about 90 percent of SUVs never touch the dirt, will never be missed.
Dualis, based on the X-Trail, has a front-wheel drive version to compete with similar exercises including the Hyundai Tuscon City and Kia Sportage LX. It seems to be a no-brainer until you realize that in creating a 2WD SUV, you will confront conventional hatchbacks and wagons. It even exposed an opponent in the Skoda Roomster who was smart, but a bit awkward.
The dualis hatch has the ST (as tested) and the more advanced Ti and is appealing to those who want a small car footprint with flexible cargo space. The ST is a very simple hatchback fitted modestly and shows its starting price in handling all-black plastic bricks. The CD player takes a disc, there are only two airbags and although the air conditioner is led into the glove box, it is not a climate control system.
It will accommodate up to five adults – although if you’re five, your smile will be short – with reasonable rear leg room. Although the rear seats are relatively comfortable, the front seats are really comfortable – like an armchair or one of those cushioned seats that make buyers prefer French cars.
Ride also up there with some bigger cars. There has been great work in suppressing outside sound and road noise and, together with the tall sixth ratio of the six-speed manual transmission, makes this a comfortable machine on the open road. A 2-liter engine is rarely inspiring although it has a wide power / torque range that fits the Dualis’s main role as a suburban family wagon.
It can be adjusted to 6500 rpm at four lower gears but that is a waste of time and money. The smooth gearbox is better used to exchange around 3000 rpm, where the engine is comfortable, quiet and fuel efficient.
Handling is reasonable. Remember this is a tall car with most of its weight in the nose. It will tend to lack steering when rushed and that will combine with the bodyroll – mainly due to the height of the car – to show some interesting dynamics. The all-wheel drive is a little better because the drive for all wheels can be provocative.
That said, the Dualis hatch comes standard with electronic stability control and electronic brake force distribution, so get help from the car holder if needed. It’s a neat and attractive package for buyers who may prefer the high seating position and, more importantly, the owners prefer the higher hip points of the seats for easy access.
People who are buying this just because they like the look of an SUV might be joking. For comparison, a Ford Focus LX hatch costs $ 700 less than the Dualis hatch and adds alloy wheels, six airbags and at 7.1 liters / 100km, which is far more fuel efficient than 8.2 l / 100km of Dualis.