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Tony O'Kane | Jul 14, 2009

NISSAN HAS RELEASED the high-riding variant of its Skyline sedan, the Skyline Crossover, in Japan this week - the first crossover/sports utility vehicle to bear the Skyline name.

But while the name may be different, the Skyline Crossover is actually based upon the European-market Infiniti EX37, and shares its bodywork and potent VQ37VHR 3.7 litre powertrain with the European car. Intriguingly, it also shares that engine with the rip-snorting Nissan 370Z.

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At 243kW, the power output of the Skyline Crossover's engine is just shy of that of the Z's mill , but with 90 percent of peak torque on tap from between 2400rpm and 7000rpm, it's still a grunty machine.

A seven-speed automatic with column-mounted paddle shifters is the only transmission on offer, and identical to the one available in the 370Z and Skyline 370GT.

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In addition to its luxurious leather-bound interior and numerous mod-cons, the Skyline Crossover also comes packed with a variety of high-tech driving aids. An optional lane-departure prevention system automatically keeps the car between the lines, an intelligent cruise control system automatically maintains the Crossover's distance from traffic in front and an obstacle-sensing radar system alerts the driver if a collision may be imminent.

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The Skyline Crossover also features Nissan's innovative Around View Monitor, which combines images obtained from a number of cameras positioned around the car to present the driver with a bird's eye view of the vehicle's surroundings, thus aiding parking and tight manuevuering greatly.

But, for all its attractive styling, mechanical prowess and high-tech gizmology, the Skyline Crossover won't be coming here. At least not yet anyway.

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Nissan spokesman Jeff Fisher told TMR that the company won't import the Skyline Crossover, but that it may come here wearing its Infiniti badging instead.

"We will not import the Skyline Crossover," Mr Fisher said.

"At some time in the future we will launch the Infiniti brand in Australia and, at that time, offer a comprehensive Infiniti product range."

Precisely when the Infiniti revival will happen is yet to be determined, as the recent global financial crisis put the reins on large car sales and made such a proposition unviable. However, when Nissan finally does bring its premium brand back to our shores, the smart money would be on the EX37 crossover coming with it.

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