It’s a compliment to Nissan’s reputation for popularising whole new categories of SUV that the phrases ‘Nissan Qashqai rival’ and ‘Nissan Juke rival’ appear so frequently in reviews of other small SUVs and crossovers.

Both vehicles sparked a surge in interest in their respective classes, and that’s left Nissan with the somewhat flattering problem of having to defend its hard-won ground from a veritable armada of highly rated imitators. In the crossover class, the Seat Arona, Hyundai Kona, Citroën C3 Aircross and several others are crowding into the Juke’s space.

It’s to Nissan’s credit, then, that it isn’t planning to play it safe with the next Juke in terms of styling. While it would be logical to make it an evolution of what came before, the Juke’s popularity stemmed from Nissan launching a bold product with a deliberately stand-out and exaggerated design. That gives the car a sense of fun and presence — and you only need to look at new rivals to see how other firms are trying to do the same.

In an increasingly crowded market, simply trying to evolve that design for the second-generation Juke wouldn't be enough; it wouldn't generate the necessary attention or be able to garner that much-needed spirit of fun. In a similar way, the second-generation Nissan Qashqai was notably bolder in style than the ground-breaking original, and that helps explain why it's still a best seller in its segment.

Given the Qashqai's success, it would be more of be a risk for Nissan to play it safe with the upcoming Juke. Taking a risky step with the design of the next version is necessary to ensure it continues to stand apart. 

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