Nissan's new five-seater Qashqai SUV has made its global debut today, following a handful of spy photos and teaser images released over recent months.
What's the Qashqai? You know it here as the Dualis, but from the second half of 2014, you'll wave goodbye to that popular small SUV as Nissan brings this 'new' badge to the Australian market.
On the styling front, you'd be forgiven for seeing a little Santa Fe in the profile and a little of Ford's Focus in the rear lamps, but the new Qashqai is also clearly a part of Nissan's overhauled SUV family.
There are four engine options in the new Qashqai range, including two petrol and two diesel units. All are turbocharged four-cylinder mills, and all feature start/stop ignition as standard.
At the entry level is Renault-Nissan's 1.2 litre DIG-T petrol engine, offering 85kW and 190Nm of torque. This model is offered with two-wheel-drive and a manual transmission.
Replacing the non-turbo 85kW 1.6 litre engine of the outgoing model, the 1.2 litre turbo petrol engine lists fuel use at 5.6 l/100km - marking an improvement of around 0.6 l/100km.
Next in the petrol line is Nissan's 1.6 litre DIG-T engine, offering 110kW and 240Nm. Fuel use for this mill is also listed at just 5.6 l/100km.
Opening the diesel end is the direct-injected 1.5 dCi, producing 81kW and 260Nm of torque. Nissan says this unit is the most efficient engine ever offered with the Qashqai, with fuel use listed at 3.8 l/100km.
The most powerful diesel option is the 1.6 dCi, producing 96kW and 320Nm. Fuel use for this model is listed at 4.4 l/100km in two-wheel-drive manual form and 4.6 l/100km in CVT auto form. The four-wheel-drive manual lists fuel use at 4.9 l/100km.
Nissan believes that front-wheel-drive variants will account for the majority of sales in most markets, although four-wheel-drive ALL-MODE 4x4-i versions will also be available to match a choice of six-speed manual or Xtronic CVT auto transmissions.
The 2014 Qashqai rides on Renault-Nissan's new modular platform, with suspension managed by MacPherson struts up front and one of two arrangements at the rear.
In two-wheel-drive form there's a twist beam design, while all-wheel-drive models get a multi-link setup.
The new Qashqai also gets an electric power assisted steering system across the range, benefiting from a lengthened caster trail in the front suspension for improved centring and feedback through the wheel.
As a replacement for both the Dualis and seven-seat Dualis+2, the new Qashqai is 50mm longer than its predecessor, and "fractionally" longer and wider.
Despite its increased size however, Nissan says the new Qashqai is up to 40kg lighter than the previous model.
That extra length has also boosted storage capacity in the new Qashqai, listed at 430 litres with the rear seats up - 20 litres more than the previous model.
Nissan promises a dramatically improved interior fit and finish, with better materials than the outgoing Dualis/Qashqai models.
Technologies offered with the new Qashqai include Nissan's Safety Shield range, which incorporates Front Collision Avoidance, Driver Attention Support and Traffic Sign Recognition.
There's also Intelligent Park Assist, developed to help with parking in tight urban spaces.
All models feature LED daytime running lights, while some are also equipped with full LED lighting for both dip and main beam, using 50 percent less power than xenon bulbs.
Nissan has confirmed the new Qashqai will come to Australia in 2014, following the second-quarter launch of the new Pulsar SSS sedan.
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