We can already predict the Facebook comments on this one: "WTF, It's TRUCK Trend, not ugly POS crossover Trend!" or perhaps "Kill it with fire!" So let's just get it out up front that the Nissan Juke is admittedly a departure from our site and our magazine's usual fare. But we decided to throw it out there for a Styling Showdown anyway, if for no other reason than car or truck, fish or fowl, the Juke is without a doubt one of the most polarizing vehicles that has hit the road in the last several years.
In the utility department, the Juke has long been back of the pack. Its sloping roofline and miniscule cargo area definitely make it a lowercase "utility." It's really more of a high-riding hatchback, all things considered. But despite all of the compromises inherent in its fashion-forward design, it's a strong seller for Nissan, especially in Europe.
For 2015, the quirky crossover gets a styling makeover, but you have to look at it side by side to spot the differences, which are noticeable, but subtle. The basic look with the lower-mounted round headlights and signal "eyebrows" remains. The grille gets more of a "smile" look with more pronounced upward tapering in the corners. Around back, the taillights appear to protrude forth from the body more than those on last year's model.
Inside, changes are few, except for a reportedly 40-percent-larger cargo area, bringing its utility factor from useless to merely impractical. European buyers can get a new 1.2L turbocharged I-4 engine producing 113 hp and 140 lb-ft of torque. Mercifully, the U.S. model's base engine will remain the more robust 1.6L. Although, we wouldn't mind getting the Juke turbodiesel, which we had a chance to drive at last year's Nissan 360 event and enjoyed immensely.
We know on the Facebook hate-o-meter, the Juke in any form probably registers a 95-percent negative rating, but we have to ask: Do you like the 2014 or the 2015 model better?