Nissan’s radical new Juke crossover, revealed at today's Geneva motor show, looks set to take on the likes of the Mini Countryman Cooper S with a 187bhp range-topping turbocharged petrol engine.
The new car, which Nissan claims will appeal mainly to male buyers, has no direct rivals in today’s car market but is designed to replicate the success the Qashqai has had in the C-segment, against cars such as the VW Golf and Ford Focus. Nissan wants the car to attract younger customers to the brand; it claims “under half will be below 40”.
But the Juke will offer a considerably more advanced mechanical make-up than conventional B-segment models. Along with the 187bhp engine, the Juke will also be available with four-wheel drive and a torque vectoring system, the likes of which has only been available until now on cars such as the BMW X6.
Designed in the UK at Nissan’s Paddington Design Centre, the Juke uses SUV styling proportions to create a car that’s considerably wider and longer than a Micra, although at 1570mm high it’s only 30mm taller.
Inside, the car’s fascia is much more conventional than the exterior; the most striking feature is the centre console, which comes in body-coloured paint and is said to have been inspired by the fuel tank from a motorbike.
Underneath, the Juke uses a widened, lengthened version of the Renault Nissan Alliance B platform, also used in the Clio and Micra; it’s 2530mm wheelbase is 10cm longer, and the platform's extra width means it can accommodate wider tracks. That’s allowed Nissan to offer the Juke with 17-inch wheels and 215-section tyres.
Suspension remains a MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear for the two-wheel drive versions, but unusually Nissan has decided to fit the four-wheel drive models with a new multi-link suspension at the rear. This should give the Juke handling to rival the class leaders'.
The 187bhp 1.6 turbo will be the only Juke available as a four-wheel-drive model; two-wheel-drive cars get a six-speed manual, but the four-wheel-drive variant comes with a CVT transmission.
The drivetrain is a development of the system in the Qashqai, with torque vectoring that splits torque from wheel to wheel across the rear axle.
There will also be a more powerful version of the Micra and Note’s 1.6 petrol, with 113bhp for the two-wheel-drive models only, and a 1.4 diesel.
Nissan is offering the Juke with plenty of big-car options, such as keyless entry and start, a rear-view camera and automatic headlights. Other options include underbody protector plates, illuminated door sills and a roof spoiler.