Juke, Cube and IDX: Revealing The Two Faces of Nissan

For most vehicle manufacturers, if you picture their entire range of vehicles in your mind and it just makes sense. Think about the two big German brands. Throughout their range of vehicles there is an underlying theme, a similarity that runs across between vehicles that makes them instantly recognizable. They succeed in bringing the same basic idea across in each of their vehicles. And it is boring.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with their designs. They has spent millions creating a stunning and clear brand image. But it still is rare that any car maker brings out a completely different design that clashes with this current range out of fear about the public response and ultimately hurt sales. Sure, every now and again they will bring out some really great concept car that is completely revolutionary and would be a blast to drive, but then, a few years later when the production vehicle rolls around, it looks exactly like every other car in the manufacturer’s range.

Well, there are a few exceptions.Take the two faced Nissan who, on one hand,  goes from creating your perfectly safe and conventional designs, to creating cars that blow your mind on the other.

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When the Nissan Juke was first launched in 2010, people either loved it or hated it. There were even people who called it the Nissan Puke or Frog. While it had some of the heritage of the Nissan B and maybe a little Maxima, but what really made it stand out was the huge splash of unique design that Nissan threw into the melting pot. From the front the design changes aren’t really that apparent. The headlights might be a bit higher, and it might look like it has a cheeky grin, but the real highlight is the rear design. The Juke is the epitome of a crossover vehicle: It is spacious enough to be a family car, but it is still undeniably sporty and eye catching. And then came the Type R Nismo that almost beat a Bugatti Veyron at a mile drag. Seriously.

While the Nissan Juke might be internationally successful, Nissan has had some not as successful designs. I’m talking about the Nissan Cube.

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While the Cube might not have had much success in the UK or US markets, it is really popular in Japan with more than 400 000 sold. So why make a big deal out of a car that looks like the box it came in? Because it is unique in so many ways. In an age where vehicle design is all about symmetry and flowing lines, the Cube’s design is a welcome change. Take the back of the car. The rear right corner is all metal while the rear left is all glass. The interior roof has a ripple effect spreading out from the center light, while the top down view of the interior looks exactly like a jacuzzi. What mad Japanese scientist designed that? Well, Yoshi Akiyama who was inspired by “refrigerators from the 50s.” It is exactly this arbitrary ideas and that makes me want one!

And then there is the IDx which looks like nothing in the current Nissan range.

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 Ok, sure it is only a concept car at the moment, but considering the reaction it is receiving and the number of appearances that it is making around the US and the rest of the world, it won’t surprise anybody if it actually does make it to production as it is hoped in 2016 or so. Andy Palmer, Nissan’s executive vice president, has claimed that they are definitely going to be making either the Nismo or the Freeflow, so here is hoping. Even though its closest relative is an old school Datsun 510, the IDx looks like nothing out there at the moment and, unlike a lot of other concept cars, this one actually looks like it might actually be drivable.

While we can’t get the Nissan Cube in South Africa, and the Nissan IDx is still in the future, if you are looking for that eyecatching unique design, grab yourself a Nissan Juke here.


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