Nissan Juke a Hit in New York

March 31st, 2010

Nissan JukeWhile most people can’t quite get their heads around the styling concept, they get the idea of the car very well. The Juke is no joke, and there is no denying that Nissan picked a good name (juke = to dodge, duck, or mislead). It will come to the U.S. in fall 2010, starting at under $20,000.

If you read the press release, it’s clear that the company is aiming for a new kind of crossover-hatchback that’s both a bit smaller and likely more powerful (and surely more youth-oriented) than its competition. The mechanics: The Juke will have a 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbo DOHC engine that produces “180+ horsepower and 170+ lb-ft of torque.” All-wheel-drive versions will get a continuously variable transmission; front-wheel-drive versions will get a six-speed manual.

Nissan Juke concept

JUKE’s new torque vectoring AWD system not only splits torque up to 50:50 between the front and rear wheels, it also can split torque from side-to-side across the rear axle.

So then there is its controversial styling. The guys at AutoSpies seem to be undecided. Autoblog says, “not normal looking, but we’ve seen worse.” (That seems to mean “normal” is “good.”) Autoweek says it’s “funky.” (Well, yeah, what else is new?) The New York Times took a tongue-in-cheek approach to how the Juke fits into Nissan’s product line: “It is clear now that the Nissan Murano is aimed at grownups and the Juke is for their children. So where does this leave the Rogue?”

So those writers all seem to be, in one way or another, on the fence. But with the wealth of offerings at the New York Auto Show—from Bentleys to Volvos—the Juke has drawn every kind of comment, love it or hate it, from the press. Our own tgriffith had his shot when the car first appeared at Geneva. I hope he’ll take another when he sees these pictures.

Most of the negative comments pertain to the front-end treatment, particularly those skyward-looking headlights. Does the Juke’s styling turn you on or off?

—jgoods

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  1. panayoti
    | #1

    Ugh! Not only is the front end hideous, look at the back. Baarrfffff!! I would never buy my grandson or granddaughter something like this when there are other “funky” looking vehicles out there that are more aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

  2. Jay Ward
    | #2

    Truly hideous! They should look at the new 2011 Edge and go back to the drawing board with this!

  3. | #3

    Wow that car is powerful fugly! This car harkens back to the horrific 70′s japanese styling–remember the Datsun F10?

  4. jgoods
    | #4

    @ panayoti

    @ Jay Ward
    “Hideous”! You guys are tough. And you both seem to take this personally. Sr. Panayoti, why don’t you ask your grandkids whether they like this design or not? Wouldn’t you consult them before buying them a car? What other “funky” vehicles are more aesthetically pleasing to you?

    Jay Ward, the 2011 Edge is a very conservatively styled vehicle, I think you’d agree. Should that be the pattern for all crossovers? The Juke breaks new ground and is clearly looking for young buyers who want something different.

    Finally, shouldn’t we give Nissan real credit for trying in several of their offerings to break the mold of entirely predictable car design? Would I drive a Juke at my (advanced) age? Not bloody likely, but I can see the appeal, and I’ll bet the company will have success with it.

  5. | #5

    I don’t know but I think I like it. It would look good with big wheels, perfect for a JDM enthusiast like me. What I don’t like are those color-coded interior pieces, looks tacky.

  6. panayoti
    | #6

    @jgoods

    We have been on opposite ends of the spectrum for so long now that I feel as though I’m being baited for a response. Despite my better judgment, I feel compelled to answer your query. No I don’t ask teen agers for their opinions on anything they know little about and no, I could care less about their opinions on design, which they know even less about. I think you would have a difficult time dealing with your own query based on your ideas that we have jousted over for so long.

    Nonetheless there are several cars that I believe would be more appealing to the younger set and be more aesthetically pleasing than the abomination that befouls your usually fine photography. I suppose you thought that the Gremlin, Vega, Pinto and the Aztec were aesthetically pleasing, no?? I would suggest the FJ Cruiser, Kia Soul, Mini Cooper, VW Eos, Honda Fit, Saturn Sky, and/or the Nissan Cube or Scion xD. Now, I’m pushing 70 and wouldn’t consider any of these for my needs, but for the younger set, I think my list provides better alternatives.

  7. logic
    | #7

    Oh god, the Pontiac Aztek is back from the grave. Albeit smaller, and with a Nissan badge. Where’s my barf bag?

  1. | #1
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