An Enigma of a Crossover
It’s fun and funky, and practical too; Nissan’s Juke has a lot to offer.
Oddball styling works
Nissan has given automobile manufacturers the green light to be daring and playful in the design studio. The Juke is living proof—well perhaps empirical proof—that the “same old same old” is just that—old.
When I first espied the Juke in photographic form, I was taken back somewhat by its cartoonish blend of retro styling cues, but rather than judge a Juke without a jury, I awaited its arrival before declaring a finding. Since living with this ‘soon to be iconic’ compact crossover, I’ve come to admire its strengths along with its unique styling.
Fair enough, the oddball collection of unconventionality is probably intended for a youthful audience—and from that perspective I understand it to be a major hit—but it makes a playful statement capturing the imagination of both young and old.
Juke cabin – a mix of form and function
Whatever statement Nissan was intending to make with the Juke’s sheet metal, they extended to the vehicle’s cabin, which incidentally could use more legroom.
Here you find seating for five immersed within a setting that exhibits plenty of flair and a few unique touches, such as the motorcycle-inspired centre console. It looks rather cool but the lack of a storage bin and armrest is evidence that form superseded function in design priority; I’d prefer the opposite if I owned the vehicle.
Another “cool” element of the cabin applies to Nissan’s I-CON interface, which effectively is a series of six buttons nestled around a small LCD screen that control heat and ventilation functions but also perform double duty when D-MODE is selected.
The D-MODE button magically converts the purpose of the six climate-control buttons to that of Drive Mode, enabling the selection between Sport, Normal and Econo drive modes, along with various performance data displayed on the screen, such as torque, G-force and fuel economy. Nifty stuff but very generational—and not my generation but that of my teenage son.
Despite being nonplussed about I-CON, I’m glad to see Nissan being bold and taking risks. Advancements worth keeping will remain and those that don’t weren’t meant to. What I can express greater enthusiasm over is the Juke’s exhilarating drivetrain.
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