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2008 nissan dualis qashqai review
The 2008 Nissan Rogue. a new compact SUV, hasn't even gone into production yet, and already there is talk about a seven-passenger version in the works. Sparking the speculation: These spy shots of a stretched Nissan Qashqai with what appears to be a third row made possible by about five inches of extra wheelbase. We shouldn't be surprised; a stretched Qashqai has been a possibility since that Euro-market SUV's launch.
Unclear are the implications for the Nissan Rogue, the Qashqai's North American-bound counterpart, which lacks a third row and optional V-6 engine, both of which are available from one of its main competitors, the Toyota RAV4. Nissan's Murano also is only a five-passenger crossover.
The Qashqai and the pending Rogue share the same Nissan global C-platform that underpins the front-wheel-drive Nissan Altima. The Rogue and the Qashqai have very different exteriors, but the interiors, with a driver-centric cockpit, are virtually identical. The Qashqai has a shorter wheelbase and less interior volume, however, in deference to Europe's narrow roads. And the front end is smaller because the largest engine displacement for the Qashqai is 2.0 liters.
Because everything must be bigger and more powerful in the U.S. the Rogue shares the 2.5-liter QR25 four-cylinder engine that is in the Altima. In the Rogue, it will make 170 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. The SUV also will use Nissan's Xtronic continuously variable transmission; there are no plans to offer a manual transmission in the U.S. About half of buyers are expected to opt for all-wheel drive.
If Qashqai sales are any indication, the small SUV is off to a great start with more than 24,000 sold and about 60,000 orders. The Qashqai went on sale in Europe in March amid expectations of annual sales of 100,000 to 130,000 units in the first full year. The Japanese automaker already has had to increase Qashqai production, which began in December in Sunderland, U.K. the sole source for the carlike ute that also will be exported to other markets. It went on sale May 22 in Japan as the Dualis, and it will be sold in the Middle East and other overseas markets including Australia and South Africa later this year.
For North Americans, Job One for the Rogue is not until July at the Nissan plant in Kyushu, Japan, but there already are high hopes for the SUV. The Rogue is expected to be a volume vehicle in the U.S. based on what Larry Dominique, Nissan North America vice-president in charge of product planning, told Car and Driver in an interview. "It's the right car at the right time in the right segment," he says of the compact SUV that goes on sale in September.
This is new territory for Nissan in the U.S. but not in Canada, where the automaker has been selling the compact X-Trail SUV. Nissan decided to end sales of the X-Trail after the 2007 model year to make room for the '08 Rogue and keep things from getting messy, cannibal-style.
Dominique says he does not see the need for knives and forks when the Rogue joins a U.S. lineup that already includes the Murano. "The price is so different," Dominique says. The Murano starts at $28,455; the Rogue, to be offered in S and SL trim levels, will start at about $20,000. The new small SUV is designed to appeal to young male buyers, many of them new to the Nissan brand.
Infiniti will not get a version of the SUV, Dominique says. Nissan's luxury brand will start a size up with the swoopy but edgy Infiniti EX35 that was a scene stealer at this year's New York auto show. The five-door EX35 rides on a modified G35 sedan rear-wheel-drive platform and has the 3.5-liter VQ six-cylinder engine under the hood. It will go into production by the end of the year.