Nissan is readying to launch its smallest crossover yet, the Juke. The B-segment crossover, which will be produced in Nissan's U.K. Sunderland plant, will slot under the Murano and Rogue when it goes on sale here in the fall. The Juke's real-world debut is set for the Geneva auto show in March, a year after it was shown as the Qazana concept.
The exterior, according to Nissan, is a "distinctive combination of SUV toughness and sporting style." We're guessing the judges would also accept "haphazard." Crafted in Europe and refined at the automaker's Japan Design Center, Nissan aimed for the lower area to resemble an SUV, fitting it with butch wheels, wide tires, and higher ground clearance. The top half, Nissan says, is sports car inspired, with a high waistline, and a coupe-like roofline. A key detail: The rear doors hide their handles in the frame.
Nissan also says the sports car theme continues inside with a center console designed like a motorcycle's gas tank, adding a sense of "fun" to the Juke. The cabin seats five, and the luggage area boasts a storage area under the floor (except all-wheel drive models). Interior amenities will include climate control, leather upholstery, rear view camera, intelligent key, and a central command screen called Nissan Dynamic Control System, which allows the driver to control infotainment features and the minutiae, like the sensitivity of the automatic headlights.
The Juke rides on a platform shared with Renault. Its wheelbase is just shy of 100 inches, making it shorter than the Versa. Despite the smallness, Nissan will offer an all-wheel drive option. Called ALL-MODE 4x4-I, the system uses torque vectoring to reduce understeer while pushing its 215/55 R17 rubber. Front-drive Jukes use MacPherson struts up front and a torsion beam out back. All-wheel drive models exchange the beam for a multi-link setup.
Powertrain options in Europe include one diesel and two gasoline offerings. The top-line motor is a direct-injected, turbocharged 1.6-liter inline-four that makes 188 horsepower and 177 foot-pounds of torque. It comes with a six-speed transmission when opted with front-drive and a continuously variable box with all-wheel drive. The non-turbo engine of the same displacement returns 115-horsepower, and offers the choice of a five-speed manual and CVT. A 1.5-liter diesel spins out 109 horsepower and 177 foot-pounds of torque, and comes only with a six-speed manual.