The Nissan Juke, in its stock form as a small crossover, defines the word “distinctive.”
Nothing else on the road looks like it. It’s small and bulbous but efficient and sure-footed. Its headlights poke out above the hood like a crocodile’s eyes breaking the surface of the water. Some might call it a playful look, others regard it as downright ugly. Its 1.6-liter direct-injected inline-4 turbo puts out 188-hp. Paired with a 6-speed manual transmission, some might even say the Juke is a fun, spirited drive. With the standard CVT transmission, though, it’s like piloting a car propelled by rubber bands.
As I always like to say, 188-hp is OK. But 485 is better.
Introducing the Nissan Juke-R: a vehicle all automakers should imitate at least once.
To be clear, the Juke-R is not a production vehicle sanctioned by Nissan. In fact, execs there don’t like the idea one bit. The super-ute is more of an experiment to see what would happen if a supercar’s insides were stuffed into a small sub-$20,000 crossover, or if it could even be done. In this case, the Nissan GT-R’s 485-hp 3.8-liter V-6 twin turbo engine was stuffed into the Juke’s engine bay, along with the supercar’s suspension bits and transmission. It all combines for a 0-60 time of 3.2 seconds and a 160-mph top speed.
So that answers the question of if such craziness can be done. Should it be done? Of course!
Take the new Dodge Dart we wrote about yesterday. It will come with a choice of 4-cylinder engines, but why not make a one-off, or even a special edition, featuring the 4.7-liter 433-hp engine from the Maserati Gran Turismo? Dodge and Maserati both belong to FIAT and surely a good tuning house could make the adjustments needed to wedge the superbeast engine in there somehow. Call it the modern Dodge Dart Swinger and watch the free media coverage explode.
What other small cars would be a good fit for a massively fast engine?