Nissan Dualis Drive Day: Shifting my perception of light SUV’s

The new cross over segment that has been emerging over the past 4 years is somewhat of an enigma in the fleet industry. Is it a 4WD is it an SUV or is it a wagon? No it’s a light SUV or a family crossover or maybe a compact SUV……. I think. Whatever you name it, the growth in this segment is impossible to ignore with a massive 35% growth year to date (source: VFACTS). But is that growth just from young families and people with too many dogs or has fleet started to see value in this category?

Being a sceptic of this new segment and its place in the fleet industry, I approached a recent Nissan Dualis fleet drive day with hesitancy, but the guys from Nissan seemed convinced their light SUV was ready to make the serious leap to fleet.

After some Pathfinder off-roading (and laughing at the sales team getting bogged) it was time to take the Dualis onto the tar. Belting around the circuit at over 100km an hour I have to admit the Dualis surprised me. With a gutsy performance from the 2.0L petrol and intuitive handling thanks to its Vehicle Dynamic Control system, my thinking on the light SUV was starting to shift.

Now it’s no 370Z but for a starting price of $24,990 that isn’t what you expect. With foldable seats and enough room to comfortably fit 5 people (or 10 dogs if you’re one of those) its functionality and performance started to win me over.

But is it fleet material?

Well for the same price as a top of the line small car you get a 5 star ANCAP safety rating, cruise control, Bluetooth, alloy wheels and the pivotal feature, massive SUV sized storage capacity.

With the ford Falcon wagon off the market and the Holden sports wagon reaching over $40,000 RRP, finding anything under the 30K mark with that amount of space (without sacrificing performance and comfort) is a battle. My only criticism is the higher priced AWD model seems expensive considering the standard features you receive in the 2WD model. AWD is good if you’re taking your 10 Dalmatians to the beach but in a fleet context it’s not necessarily a feature that will get much usage.

So in my opinion the Dualis ST 2WD is a winner for fleets that need large car space, safety and performance, but want to keep the ever important sharp pricing structure. If you’re a fleet manager and haven’t already started considering the light SUV/Crossover segment, maybe you should take a couple around the track, you will be surprised.

A big thank you goes to the Nissan Fleet team who showed us a great time at the Dualis drive day. Again sorry about taking that Murano off road, next time I’ll try to keep it on the tarmac…….probably.

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Categories: Car Review, Nissan
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