We are all individuals. We are all the same.
The compact crossover segment is probably the most contested space in the car market. Everyone tries harder to make theirs stand out, and in the end, most crossovers look very similar. Not the same, but there is a preponderance of aggressive scowling horizontal headlights flanking bold grilles.
Then there is the Nissan Juke, a car so different that it polarizes people. You either love it or hate it, there is no middle ground. This polarity has now gone continental: the Yanks have ditched the Juke completely in favour of the very conventional Kicks, while the Europeans updated the Juke in looks and tech. The new Juke is different but still as quirky and bold as before.
It is an evolution rather than a revolution, still recognizably a Juke, but more mature.
But there was much debate about how and where to go with the Juke. Sales of the quirky first-generation topped one million in less than a decade, and that is a lot of babies to throw out with the bathwater.
“We were wondering whether we should Juke the Juke [i.e. design another radical car] and come with a completely different angle, but there was so much material from the first generation that we could improve, that’s the way we felt it should go,” explained Nissan Europe design chief Matt Weaver.
At first glance the new Juke is familiar. It still has the quad headlights, now fully LED. It still has the V-line grille, but this is now narrower and deeper and meets up with the top headlights in a most pleasing way. Nissan has also retained the sloping coupe-style roofline.
The wheel arches are more pronounced and the car has a more aggressive stance like it would bite a Polo.
Inside there is more legroom and head clearance in the rear and the boot is bigger. Cars tend to get slightly bigger over the generations, and the Juke is no different. But somehow Nissan has managed to reduce the weight by over 20kg.
Like the current Juke, the new interior is comfortably snug but spacious enough to fit the taller of us.
The new Juke has a floating-style touchscreen. This gives access to the NissanConnect infotainment system which offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also enables the owner to lock the doors, turn on the lights or send navigation information, all via a smartphone.
It also offers emergency braking, lane-keep assist, and blind-spot monitoring. Nissan’s ProPilot autonomous driving will be offered on this model.
Power is via a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, giving 87 kW for either the front wheels or all four. Buyers can choose a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
We don’t know if and when this Juke will come to our shores, but if you have not yet driven the current Nissan Juke, do yourself a favour and arrange a test drive. It is very much a driver’s car.