While 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.
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?