Ingress is straightforward thanks to doors that open to a full 90 degrees, while access to the rearmost seats is eased by the middle row which slides forward out of the way. All the passenger seats fold completely flat to create an intrusion-free load bay which is long and tall enough to hold two mountain bikes upright. With the front wheels removed, the bike forks can be securely locked into special fixings found on the back of the middle row of seats, while the rear wheel is strapped into a special shoe neatly integrated into the boot floor.
For added convenience and versatility, Dunehawk has a fully flexible seating arrangement. All seven seats can be folded electrically by remote control using a push button pad, to lower, fold flat or raise the seats individually or collectively. All the seats have full three point harnesses for maximum family safety.
Dunehawk’s interior takes a quality approach. Cream leather panels and contoured seats contrast with covered ‘active pad’ mid brown leather panels to signify human contact areas such as the steering wheel while the dark brown hard wearing carpet is developed to withstand all of the wear of outdoor activities. Discreet waterfall lighting cascades from the roof, from underneath the door fittings and from under the rear storage bins to bathe the interior with a subtle ambient glow.
Integrated spot lights
All the exterior lighting is by LED, including the pair of powerful spotlights incorporated into the leading edge of each integral roof rail: the latter feature was pioneered on the original X-TRAIL show car and has now been adopted by the production version, too.
The roof rails are echoed by the side steps which also integrate LED illumination. As well as adding balance and strength to Dunehawk’s profile, the side steps are above all for practicality: giving both easy ingress to the interior and facilitating the loading of luggage or equipment onto the roof.
"Dunehawk is perhaps the ultimate SUV. It’s exciting to drive on-road and more than capable off-road, too. There’s as much room as in an MPV for the complete family and it has an adventurous heart," said Mr Yamazaki.Published 18 September 2003