Nissan bring form concept car QASHQAI to market

One of the less-thrilling cars unveiled this month is the ridiculously monikered Nissan QASHQAI.

Pronounced "cash-kai", the vehicle first debuted as a concept at the Geneva Motor Show in 2004. It will finally go on sale as a watered down production car in February next year, and considering the striking looks of Nissan's Murano soft-roader, the QASHQAI looks rather dull.

It will be competing directly with the likes of the new Honda CR-V - debuting at the Paris Motor Show later this month - and represents another attempt to consolidate an average passenger car with a 4x4. But it will also be pitted against vehicles such as the Corolla Verso, Ford C-Max and other MPV-type vehicles. So what we're promised is a vehicle with car-like handling but added practicality.

Four engine options will be available: 1.5 and 2.0 diesel units; and 1.6 and 2.0 petrol versions. Both 2.0 engines will be available with a 4x4 system. There will also be a choice of five- and six-speed manual gearboxes, as well as six-speed auto and continually variable transmission (CVT) option with manual mode.

It will at least be built in Sunderland and will actually be exported back to Japan - where it will be known as the Dualis - and to the other overseas markets. Nissan said they believed they would sell 100,000 QASHQAIs a year across Europe, of which 80% would go to customers who had never before bought one of their models.

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