Fifty years ago a rally-mod Nissan 240Z won the gruelling East Africa rally, putting down another marker for this brand-defining car. To mark this achievement, Nissan has imagined another iconic model in full rally mode. The Nissan Juke Rally Tribute Concept is still only in the image stage, but man if they build it . . .
From the front, it features the same black bonnet and raised headlight pods that featured on the Z back then. At the back, the boot and rear window have been sacrificed to make space for two full-sized Dunlop all-terrain spare wheels. Two large exhausts pierce the prominent rear bumper like tail guns on a bomber. From the side, the massive Dunlops and modified wheel arches dominate, while the roof rails enhance the ready-to-go image.
It is not surprising that Nissan chose the Juke to pay tribute to its illustrious predecessor. They have in the past produced the Juke Nismo with 147kW of power, and the Nismo RS with Recaro racing seats, plenty of carbon fibre and 160kW on tap. Then someone at Nissan said, “hold my beer”, and made the Juke-R. This very limited run (5) Juke was fitted with the 3.8 Nissan GT-R engine that gave it 406kW. In China, the Juke is sold as the Infinity ESQ, with the Nismo turbo engine, 18-inch wheels and upgraded suspension and aerodynamics.
But even without these extremes, the Juke is an in-your-face car. People either love it or hate it – there is no middle ground. The goggle-eyed up and under lights and cheeky grin of the grille, the pronounced wheel arches and aggressive stance set it apart from its more mundane crossover brethren. Between the wheel arches, the waist is high and the windows quite low, evoking the curvy performance cars of the late ’60s. Even though it is a subcompact crossover, the Juke appears surprisingly big and high-riding. Inside you get a feeling of contained space: plenty of leg and shoulder room, but solid, snug support around you.
The Juke is a very well-appointed car, with more safety luxury features than you would reasonably expect from a car this size. There is a range of engines to choose from; 1.2-litre and 1.6-litre turbo petrol and a 1.5 dCi diesel. Transmissions are 6-speed manual and a CVT option with the 1.6-litre petrol.
After nearly 10 years, the first-generation Nissan Juke has run its course and was retired in 2019. There is a second-generation, but it’s not here yet. But there is still great condition pre-owned Nissan Jukes out there looking for a driver like you.