Such a melding of influences, especially when riding high in the crossover idiom, could have been a catastrophic visual mess. Nissan knows many will dislike it intensely, but the strategy is that some people will like it a lot. As our community comments perfectly demonstrated when we ran the first photos on motortrend.com. Whatever you think of its looks, there's no denying it has a lot of road presence for a little car.
And the high seating point does mean there's surprising space inside. Not as much as the boxier Countryman, but this is never going to be a family car.
The cabin appeal lies in the design and equipment. Nissan makes a lot of the 'motorcycle tank' shape of the body-color center tunnel. It is a nice little detail, as is the floating shroud over the instrument binnacle. But these aren't earth-shattering novelties. Of more interest is the panel below the nav screen/audio.
This is for the climate control and 'D-mode'. In climate mode, the two knobs control temperature, the buttons air distribution -- all perfectly conventional. But press the 'D-mode' and the buttons magically re-label themselves. You get sport/normal/eco switches -- cycling through the three modes switches between states for throttle map, transmission strategy, steering assist level and engagement of the a/c compressor. And the little color screen is a hugely detailed trip computer. You can call up historical fuel graphs, or display engine torque or turbo boost or and a real-time longitudinal and lateral g. It's more GTR than Versa.
When the Juke launches here this fall Nissan will have three small cars in the U.S. market: Versa, Cube and Juke. That like a recipe for overcrowding the market and confusing the buyers. But think how different each of these three cars are -- mainstream, quirky, and now sporty.