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Unlike the other Japanese car manufacturers, Nissan has a very special relation to the Paris Motor Show due to the close ties with its French partner Renault. At the recent Paris Motor Show, Carlos Tavares, Executive Vice President Nissan Motor Company unveiled to the international media, Nissanï?½s new green initiatives in the companyï?½s near and medium term product plans. Nissanï?½s stars of the show were the Pixo city car which will find its way to show-rooms in mid 2009, and the Nuvu concept car which respectively represent Nissanï?½s near and medium term vision.
ï?½The Paris Motor Show was an excellent opportunity to capture a snapshot of Nissanï?½s excellence in green product planning all in one presentation,ï?½ commented Monal Zeidan, General Manager, Marketing and Corporate Communications at Nissan Middle East.

Pixo, itï?½s a new city car contender. Pixo is a five-door, four-seater with a roomy interior and generous luggage space thanks to its efficient design and packaging. It has a lively highly efficient three cylinder 1.0-litre engine. Thanks to its brand new lightweight construction, with resulting benefits in performance, very low fuel consumption and emissions, Pixo will be among the best value eco-cars in the small city car category.

Built in collaboration with Suzuki Motor Corp. at state-of-the art facilities in Delhi, India, Pixo is a brand new four-seater competing in the fast growing small city car ï?½A-segmentï?½. Unlike some of its immediate rivals, however, Pixo is far from a micro car. It has five doors to ease ingress and egress to and from the rear seats but remains sufficiently compact to be agile to be ideal for city driving.

Nissanï?½s vision for the future of urban transportation is encapsulated in Nuvu, literally a ï?½new viewï?½ of the type of car we will be driving in the middle of the next decade. Compact ï?½ itï?½s just 3 meters long ï?½ Nuvu is a concept vehicle with unique 2+1 seating. It is aimed at urban dwellers who donï?½t want to compromise on their personal freedom or their comfort, yet who appreciate that there is a need for a dramatic change in the way we move around our cities.
Nuvu is an electric vehicle, is agile, easy to drive and even easier to park. Nissan has already announced plans to introduce an all-electric car in Japan and the US in 2010 and to mass-market it globally in 2012. Nuvu is not that car, though it does share some of the technology that will feature in the planned production vehicle.

But those two cars were not the only Nissan models displayed in Paris.
The Nissan Micra was also displayed on the Nissan stand. To celebrate 25 years of sales in Europe, Nissan has developed the Micra 25th Anniversary to reinforce its position as the car of choice for discerning, style-conscious city dwellers.

The Micra has always tried to set the standard in the city car segment for its cultured sense of style, so itï?½s appropriate that to celebrate 25 years of sales in Europe, a new exterior colour, exclusive to Micra, has been developed to add even more sophistication and ï?½premium-nessï?½ to the car. Nightshade is a deep, rich purple and brings a unique look to Micra, as none of its competitors is available with such a colour.

The feeling of discreet sophistication is enhanced by the addition of silver effect door mirrors, handles and body mouldings, while new wheel trims are available to complete the effect.

Rear privacy glass is fitted as standard and a ï?½25ï?½ logo badge identifying this special Micra is located on the rear door.

While Micra is already well appreciated by customers for the inclusion of innovative and user-friendly technology such as Bluetooth phone connectivity, Intelligent Key, automatic wipers and headlights, Micra 25th Anniversary extends that philosophy even further. Customers will be able to enjoy iPod connectivity, with a tailor made docking station designed for the iPod nano, as well as audio control via the Micraï?½s steering wheel mounted buttons.

The controls on the steering wheels govern volume and track selection, while the neatly integrated iPod connector also acts as a battery charger, allowing users to both listen to their choice of music on the move, and then have a fully charged iPod ready for arrival at their destination.

A unique Micra engraved 4Gb iPod nano loaded with Nissan-specific content is supplied free with the 25th Anniversary Micra. The content of the Nano consists of a selection of 10 different songs, a series of Micra photography and a Micra TV advert, all of which have been chosen as they represent Micraï?½s distinctive, cheeky personality ï?½ albeit with a serious side too.

Driver and front passenger floor mats with a silver border and embroidered with the 25th Anniversary logo are also supplied.

The engine line up remains unchanged, with the choice of 1.4- and 1.6-litre petrol engines producing 88 and 110PS respectively, and a 1.5-litre dCi diesel unit producing 86PS. The Micra is manufactured at Nissanï?½s manufacturing plant in Sunderland, United Kingdom.

For the 4x4-lovers Nissan had the PATHFINDER and NAVARA on the stand. Sales of Nissanï?½s new 4x4 SUV, the Pathfinder, began in March 2005 and it has reinforced Nissanï?½s position as a leader in the 4x4 market. Nissan has added a new, top grade to the Pathfinder and Navara range to maintain its position as the family SUV of choice across Europe.

Called the Platinum Edition, the top of the range Pathfinder and Navara comes with a new, unique exterior colour. Called Black Pepper, the colour is a deep purple which gives the vehicles a premium, upmarket air.

To complement the paint, the metalwork on the grille, roof rails, 17ï?½ alloy wheels, side step door handles and mirrors have a gun-metal finish.

Inside, there is a new leather trim available. A pale beige, it contributes to the feeling of premium comfort and discreet luxury. The centre console of the Pathfinder comes with a full length soft-touch metallic effect finish, as does the door-mounted arm rests and the spokes of the steering wheel, while the Navara uses the same finish for the surround of the heating controls.

In terms of equipment, both Navara and Pathfinder Platinum Editons are available with powered, heated, memory-position seats, rear air-conditioning with independent controls, Intelligent Key, xenon headlamps, DVD-based satellite navigation and, on the Pathfinder, a rear-view parking camera and Bose audio system.

The Pathfinder and Navara are manufactured in Barcelona, Spain and are powered by a 2.5-litre high output turbo diesel which produces 126kW (171PS) and 403Nm of torque. The Navara is also available with a reduced engine output of 144PS and 356Nm.

Deliveries of the Pathfinder and Navara Platinum Edition started in September.

And for those who like the so-called ï?½compact-crossoverï?½ design, Nissan displayed the QASHQAI.
The QASHQAI was the first compact crossover designed and launched in Europe, to take the stress out of everyday urban driving. But, it is the same length and width as an average C-segment car, yet smaller than a typical compact SUV. It therefore delivers the driving comfort and fun of the former with the ability and practicality of the latter.

Since sales began last spring, demand for QASHQAI has been significantly higher than anticipated. Sales at the beginning of September had reached 250,000 units in Europe. Additional investment of 3.5m Euros has been made at Nissanï?½s plant in Sunderland, United Kingdom, to meet demand for QASHQAI.

Its appeal among European car buyers was boosted following the news that it achieved the highest ever recorded five-star score in the Euro NCAP crash test.

Its distinctive styling is a marriage of the sleek shape of a passenger car with the strength of an SUV to create something fresh and different in the new car market.

QASHQAIï?½s dynamic exterior is matched by an asymmetric interior, providing a focused cockpit environment for the driver and a relaxing space for the occupants. High seating positions provide the sense of security normally found in an SUV, yet QASHQAI is a more dynamic performer with the accelerative and handling capabilities of a hatchback.

QASHQAI offers a choice of two and four-wheel drive and no fewer than four engines, two diesel and two petrol, all providing performance and economy comparable with C-segment passenger cars. The engine range starts with a 1.6-litre 115PS (84kW) petrol and 1.5 dCi diesel developing 106PS (78kW). The 1.5dCi is now available with a diesel particulate filter (according to market). A pair of petrol and diesel 2.0-litre engines develop 140PS (104kW) and 150PS (110kW) respectively,

Five and six-speed manual transmissions, six-speed automatic and an advanced CVT gearbox are available.

QASHQAI is available with a large panoramic glass roof, automatic headlights and wipers, satellite navigation, reversing camera and Bluetooth connectivity for mobile phones.

Nissanï?½s highly praised electronically controlled ALL MODE 4x4 system ï?½ as pioneered in X-TRAIL ï?½ is available on 2.0-litre versions. Despite having greater ground clearance than an ordinary hatchback, however, QASHQAIï?½s four-wheel drive is there to provide greater traction for safer driving and extra control in all weathers: QASHQAI has not been designed as a go-anywhere 4x4.

Safety is a key strength of the vehicle, too. A rigid bodyshell providing maximum passive safety is matched by a plethora of active safety features including the latest generation ESP which includes brake torque control and engine torque control. The braking system is similarly advanced and features hydraulic fade compensation (HFC) to provide the ultimate stopping power at all times. The depth of engineering and the fitment of these advanced safety systems all combined to achieve the highest Euro NCAP 5-Star crash-test score ever achieved.

The new NISSAN X-TRAIL was also displayed in Paris. New from the ground up, the latest X-TRAIL shares the same platform as the QASHQAI.

Although X-TRAIL has been completely restyled, customer research clearly showed that the robust, strong shape was popular and well appreciated. Indeed, it was a key factor in the decision making process for many buyers. It was clear that the ï?½X-TRAILnessï?½ had to be retained, which is why there is a clear family resemblance between the original and the new version.

Since its start of sales last July, early customer feedback shows that buyers love its refinement, feeling of reassurance, on-board comfort and quality.

The interior continues Nissanï?½s practice of providing much higher levels of quality and premiumness than expected for the class of car. Soft feel materials feature on all touch points, while grained plastics and flocked surfaces in contrasting shades ï?½ black and grey or black and sand ï?½ are used throughout the cockpit. Depending on the trim level, instrument surrounds and other features are finished in silver or titanium colours to give a technical feel.
Perhaps the most versatile aspect of the new X-TRAIL is the trunk, however. With the rear seat in place, the original vehicle had a VDA measurement of 410 litres up to the lower edge of the rear window: in the new X-TRAIL the equivalent figure is 603 litres, an increase of 193 litres.

This has allowed the creation of an innovative double deck trunk, with space for a sliding drawer under the floor where valuable items can be stored away from prying eyes.

The drawer has partition walls that can be placed in a number of different positions or removed altogether as required. The floor and the drawer can both be removed to increase load space even further: as a result the trunk area of the new X-TRAIL is deeper and wider than the original.

The next generation of Nissanï?½s highly-regarded four-wheel drive transmission, ALL MODE 4x4-i, is a available on X-TRAIL. It has a rotary knob on the centre console offering a choice between two-wheel drive or Auto mode.

Auto is regarded as the ï?½defaultï?½ mode: when driving at speeds of up to 80 km/h, the system constantly monitors throttle opening, engine speed and torque to anticipate wheel spin and to distribute torque between front and rear axles as needed. Above that speed, the system reacts to wheelspin, again shifting drive rearwards to restore traction as required.

Among the other highlights of ALL MODE 4x4-i is an ESP system which also supports the operation of DDS and USS, standing for Downhill Drive Support and Uphill Start Support. USS is a fully automatic system that is activated on any slope that exceeds a 10 per cent incline, holding the vehicle on the brakes and allowing the driver to move away smoothly.

DDS ï?½ operated via a switch on the centre console ï?½ operates when ALL MODE is in lock mode. DDS uses the anti-lock brakes to maintain a descent speed of 7km/h. allowing the driver to concentrate on steering

New X-TRAIL has a wide range of engines, with two petrol and two diesel options being offered: only one engine ï?½ a 2.5-litre 16 valve four-cylinder petrol unit ï?½ has been carried over from the previous generation X-TRAIL, albeit with further improvements, from the original model. The other three engines are all new.

X-TRAIL offers two levels of turbo-diesel power. The engines are versions of the highly regarded 2.0-litre M1D unit developed by Alliance partner Renault which combines high outputs and good economy with class-leading refinement.

In X-TRAIL, power outputs are 110kW (150hp), which increases to 127kW (173hp) when the engine is intercooled. Torque outputs are 320Nm and 360Nm respectively, 90 per cent of which is developed, in both cases, at a low 1750rpm. Both engines are fitted with diesel particulate filters to minimise emissions.

Standard on both versions is a six-speed manual transmission, though the 110kW model is optionally available with a new six-speed automatic.

The new petrol engine, is a lightweight all-alloy 16 valve 2.0-litre producing 103kW (140hp) and 193Nm of torque. Development was led by Nissan and it will be used within the Renault Nissan Alliance.

Although carried over from the original, the 2.5-litre 124kW (169hp) petrol engine has been further improved for greater refinement, better efficiency and extended service intervals. Providing best-in-class low- to mid-range torque figures ï?½ peak torque is 233Nm ï?½ the engine has proven extremely popular for towing. Both petrol versions have six speed manual gearboxes as standard, with CVT transmission optionally available.

High equipment levels
Every version has air conditioning, power windows front and rear, and Bluetoothï?½ mobile phone connectivity. Standard safety features include side and curtain airbags, ABS and EBD. Principal options include xenon headlamps, roof rails with fully integrated driving lamps, and satellite navigation with a full colour screen shared with the rear parking camera.
So, let us hope that Nissan will offer us these models soon in the Middle East and North Africa region.

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