The Truth About Cars » nissan juke http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 27 Jul 2014 20:45:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » nissan juke http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Infiniti ESQ: Infiniti Gets A Small Crossover, But Only For China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/infiniti-esq-infiniti-gets-a-small-crossover-but-only-for-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/infiniti-esq-infiniti-gets-a-small-crossover-but-only-for-china/#comments Wed, 11 Jun 2014 16:41:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=842514 kcp6xowebol7ndrn3wfy

That Infiniti-badged Nissan Juke that seemed so outlandish? It’s coming – but only for China.

A Nissan spokesman confirmed to Jalopnik that the Infiniti ESQ, pictured here, is indeed a Chinese-only Infiniti product. Essentially a rebadged Nismo Juke, the ESQ makes next to no attempt to disguise its origins – it’s literally a rebadge job that only the least discerning consumers would ever confuse for a distinct Infiniti product. But it does give Infiniti a toehold in the red-hot compact crossover segment.

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Geneva 2014: Nissan Juke http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/geneva-2014-nissan-juke/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/geneva-2014-nissan-juke/#comments Wed, 05 Mar 2014 16:15:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=765185 Nissan-Juke-01

The big news for the Nissan Juke is what you can’t see: according to them, Nissan claims that the cargo area is 40 percent larger on front-wheel drive models, now up to 12.5 feet. World markets also get a new 1.2L turbo 4-cylinder engine. I’m just hoping they’ll finally give us an all-wheel drive 6MT version. I’m glad it’s still weird.

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Remix Review: Nissan Juke SV (Manual Transmission) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/remix-review-nissan-juke-sv-manual-transmission/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/remix-review-nissan-juke-sv-manual-transmission/#comments Thu, 14 Nov 2013 15:15:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=650754 photo 2

Welcome to Remix Review, where we take a review written somewhere else and change it to be about a completely different car. Yes, it sounds odd, but trust me, it’s the best thing that’s ever been done on the Internet. Points will be awarded for being the first reader to guess the original car and review. Give a welcoming hand to Amanda, our first Remix Review author, telling us about her Nissan Juke! — JB

The Nissan Juke is the Japanese automaker’s flagship five-door hatchback. A high-performance five-seat version of the already extremely capable Sentra, this four cylinder powered vehicular star of the James Bond films Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace is one of the fleetest production cars in the world, with seductive looks and lavish interior appointments to boot.

Only the most modestly-sized pocketed consumers could even consider procuring one, but there’s no denying the powerful allure of the Juke, even when stacked up against its competitors. Few, if any, cars on the road today can match this uber-Nissan’s combination of dashing style, normal levels of luxury and moderately ferocious turbo-charged vigor. Just ask your neighbor who might have one.

Current Nissan Juke

The Juke is not offered as either a coupe or Volante convertible body styles. There are two seats in the front and three seats in the rear. All five seats are standard. A veritable smorgasbord of high-end features are available, among them 17″ alloy wheels, a suspension, four wheel disc brakes, twos of headlights, automatic climate control, leather or cloth upholstery, power heated seats, a headliner, Bluetooth, a navigation system and a 6-speaker Rockford system with a single-CD in dash changer and iPod integration. The options list also includes satellite radio and various aesthetic upgrades like floor mats.

In the engine place, the front wheel drive Nissan Juke sports a hand built 1.6-liter I4 that generates about 188 horsepower and around 177 pound-feet of torque — 79 hp more than the Versa , which employs a lesser version of the same engine while weighing either more/less than the Juke. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard and a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters is not an option.

Remarkably, the Juke’s engine output actually isn’t as impressive as it sounds in today’s horsepower-crazed marketplace — there are other cars available for about the same price as the Juke that generate comparable power numbers. But the exotic sounds that emanates under full (or for that matter, mostly full) throttle are sufficiently intoxicating to render such numbers meaningless. For the record, the Juke will sprint to 60 mph in a shade over 7 seconds, so the stopwatch-crazed should be satisfied as well.

In road testing, our editors have generally been okay with the Nissan Juke. At civilized speeds, its suspension yields a ride, road noise is present and the luxurious hard plastic and cloth-lined interior seems fit for people. Yet the harder you push the car on straights and through corners, the more it feels, remaining flat and composed through all but like 64% of most demanding stretches of pavement. Granted, the Juke doesn’t afford the razor’s-edge performance of, say, a Ferrari 458 Italia.

But it more than makes up for that deficit by providing a genuinely livable ride/handling balance — and drop-dead gorgeous styling.

Used Nissan Juke Models

The Nissan Juke is not a low-volume seller, so finding a used one should be pretty easy to do. The Juke was introduced for the 2011 model year with the hatchback body style, five-seat interior and a CVT or six-speed manual. The same 2+3 seating arrangement and transmission options were available in its second year. The Volante is still not available. Used buyers should note that the Juke navigation system is slow and finicky to operate. Previously, the name was affixed to jukeboxes in bars from 1969-2005.

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Track Tested: 2013 Nissan Juke SL FWD Manual Transmission http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/track-tested-2013-nissan-juke-sl-fwd-manual-transmission/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/track-tested-2013-nissan-juke-sl-fwd-manual-transmission/#comments Wed, 14 Aug 2013 13:10:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=499316 jackinjuke

“I want a car,” I told Derek, “with a manual transmission. To take to Sebring. For the TrackGuys thing.”

“I’ll see what I can do,” the man said. And he did.

Manual transmission.

Turbocharged.

Cute-ute.

Subcompact cute-ute.

Be careful what you wish for, right?

juke2

It was a fairly ambitious plan: fly to Orlando, drive to Sebring, coach there with the TrackGuys, drive to Vero Beach, play some music, drive back, coach a second day, drive to Tampa, jump in the water, fly to Malaysia to run a time trial on the Sepang Formula One circuit. Normally I’d rent a Camry for track use as is my preference, but this being Florida and all I decided a little more style might be in order. Enter the Juke, in a shade of goldish yellow somewhat reminiscent of the unloved “bladder infection” Phoenix Yellow found on the E46 M3. The wheels, trim, and interior were all black. Under the Orlando sun, they all quickly became hot enough to melt Wolverine’s claws.

That led to Juke Surprise #1: the A/C was really strong for a car this size. It helps that the little Nissan has virtually no interior space. I only had one fellow-traveler for this segment of the trip: noted attorney/troublemaker/wedding singer Kat King. She had her airplane roll-on and a big Kate Spade purse. I had two beat-up carry-on Tumi totes, my jumbo Waterfield Mambo laptop cargo thing , and a 1991 Ovation Collectors’ Edition acoustic guitar in a hard case. With the rear seats folded and some innovative stacking, everything fit. Barely. As in don’t-recline-your-seat-to-nap-between-track-sessions barely. The Juke just manages to squeak past my Porsche 993 for cargo-area honors.

It’s a small car. You understand that, because you’ve seen them on the road. And it looks odd, we don’t need to belabor that, this ain’t no Vellum Venom and I won’t change your mind on the car either way. Now hear this: on the road, the Juke works. It works very well, in all the ways you want a car to work well. Stereo: Excellent. Controls: Legible! And fun, thanks to the odd center-stack configuration that allows you to control the HVAC or the “sport mode”. Visibility: Outstanding to the front, with visible corners, and not abysmal to the back — although if your Juke has the reversing camera, you’ll use it. The six-speed is long and light of throw and the clutch is a bit grabby for my tastes. It’s good enough and in this day and age it’s worth some gratitude to Nissan for offering it.

The CUV driving position is a help in mild traffic and while negotiating various toll plazas/ATMs/drive-throughs. The seats are outstanding for long drives, and I tested that with four two-plus-hour sessions behind the wheel. As a way for two people to get around the city and down the freeway, the Juke is almost faultless. The engine has enough power for passing situations. Around town, it feels positively burly. I’d sure have liked to have seen this drivetrain in the the previous Versa. Call it the Versa SE-R GT-R Spec V or something just to make the basement-dwelling otaku break their fingers complaining to the Internet.

Back to the Juke. It feels premium when you’re bopping around town in it, which is just as well because it costs premium money. You can spend $27,000 on a FWD Juke pretty easily. For that kind of money, you can get a V-6 Mustang that will rip the Juke’s lungs out and back over them while playing “Radar Love” on the Shaker 500 sound system. But this is ridiculous, because nobody compares a Juke to Mustangs.

Where were we? Oh yes, I was taking the Juke to Sebring for a Mustang-centric trackday. The TrackGuys, led by head instructor Jeff Lacina, operate open-lapping events in Texas and Florida for a crowd that mostly consists of Ford fanatics with superchargers and rollcages and Hoosier tires and sometimes all of the above. I had my doubts when I arrived there and saw the crowd because a lot of Mustang owners tend to be fairly Stone Age in their approach to everything from hygiene to on-track courtesy but this group was virtually beyond reproach in all regards. The event was run with considerable attention to safety and driver development. I was proud and pleased to join their group of captive instructors for the weekend.

TrackGuys is recommended almost without reservation. I say “almost” for a couple of reasons. The first is that the the instructors’ meeting was concluded with a prayer that was in no way non-denominational. The second is that there’s a fairly serious flag ceremony complete with a recognition of veterans at the event and featuring Lacina belting out “America The Beautiful” in a robust baritone. I like that sort of stuff; although I was born in Brooklyn to educated, reasonably progressive parents I’m a bit of a redneck in many ways and my only regret concerning the religious and patriotic content was that Lacina wouldn’t let me sing the National Anthem myself and do the Whitney warble. Bearded, Teva-shod, Subaru-driving Trotsky-ites, however, and I know you’re out there, should consider themselves warned; this ain’t the place to start talking about progressive politics, checking privilege, or disrespecting: the risen Christ, the United States Army Special Forces, the modular 4.6-liter Ford V-8, or any potential combination thereof. Lacina and his co-owner, Dell Hughes, are both approximately as large and strong as lowland gorillas and are not to be trifled with.

Naturally, one of the first things I did when I got there was trifle with them, by sneaking an extra passenger into the Juke and running it around Sebring like a Ring taxi. I was flagged on the second lap. I came in very contritely. Lacina agreed to not beat me to death. I agreed not to do it again unless I thought he wasn’t looking.

How was the Juke on-track? Well, compared to the 600-wheel-horsepower Terminator Cobras and American-Iron-prep S197s it was a rolling chicane. Against intermediate-level drivers in stock Mustang GTs, it made a pretty good account of itself. Turn One is a blind romp across broken concrete and here you can pitch the Juke up on three wheels with a strong dose of trail-braking. It will wag the tail but it won’t threaten you with any seriousness. The high-mount driving position doesn’t feel too bad on-track. It pleases me greatly to note that it’s more pleasant and competent in pretty much every non-measurable way than, say, a Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, even if it doesn’t demolish the quarter-mile or have twenty hydraulic pistons to squeeze massive Brembo rotors. The brakes, as a matter of fact, require some looking after or there will be consequences…

Steering’s good even if it’s a bit remote. You can place the car pretty accurately and you can feel the curbs fight back against the tires. The Juke has oversized rolling stock which imparts an odd sense of inertia to it. The above-mentioned Camry SE definitely feels more flingable in that sense. Sharp left-right transitions are accompanied by a tiny frisson of is it gonna roll and guess what, it’s not going to roll, I tried pretty hard to get it up on two wheels and honestly there isn’t enough grip from the Goodyears to make it happen, even with the short wheelbase. In fact, you can really lean on the front tires more than you really should. It’s exceptionally quick through “Sunset Bend”, turn 17, because you can trust your ability to rotate the car with strong on-off motions of the throttle. Just fly by the corner worker at full throttle, stomp the brake, let it slide a bit, then lean on that outside wheel. When you see the front straight, lift quickly to rotate again then floor the gas and let the primitive comp-u-traction pull you to the exit. The turbo engine is remarkably heat-resistant, too. It’s just a really sound design in that respect.

Unfortuantely, the Juke has one major flaw as a track rat. Well, one flaw besides being a CUV, you know. It’s possible to turn off the ESC, but the traction control and various systems still try to intervene at times. Over the course of ten or fifteen laps spent chasing a normally aspirated New Edge Cobra and screaming “GET OVER HERE!” in your helmet like Scorpion the Mortal Kombat ninja, the brakes will overheat from this. When that happens, the ABS light will come on and the DSC light will come on and other various lights will come on. And then you will not have ABS. But you won’t know that until you smoke all four tires at 100+ miles per hour and put the Juke way sideways on a floating magic carpet of expensive rubber dust. This will have your full attention and the full attention of the two passengers you managed to sneak past the flaggers. And that means playtime is over.

On the way from Sebring to Vero Beach, we got somewhat lost and found ourselves with the needle past “E” and no gas stations on Google Maps within thirty-plus miles as the crow flew. That’s Central Florida for you. The only option was to keep looking until we found something. Nearly fifty miles later we found someone who stumbled out of their house trailer, took a padlock off an old mechanical pump, and dispensed two gallons of mystery fuel in exchange for a round ten dollars. That took the Juke all the way to the ocean, where I unpacked the Ovation, faced the waves, and played The Lumineers:

Be in my eye
Be in my heart
Be in my eye… ay-ay-ay
Be in my heart

Late in the evening, as the Juke rolled silent and strong back across the swamplands, with Kat nearly asleep and the moon visible in the glass panel, with the center stack glowing white in non-sporty mode and Kenny Garrett playing “Equinox” through the iPod, I realized that I was about as content as I’d be in, say, a 3-Series BMW coupe. The Juke feels special pretty much all the time. It’s a contrived kind of special, it’s an in-your-face kind of special, but it’s still special. Recommended, with two caveats: watch the dash lights on-track and don’t expect anyone else to understand, okay?

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Review: 2013 Juke Nismo (Video) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/review-2013-juke-nismo-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/review-2013-juke-nismo-video/#comments Fri, 14 Jun 2013 23:24:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=491130 2013 Nissan Juke Nismo Exterior, Side, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Let’s get one thing sorted. The picture above is not, I repeat not, the wasabi-snorting-485-horsepower-3.7-second-to-60 Juke that Nissan has been teasing. Instead, this is the Nismo treated Juke we saw at the Chicago Auto Show in February. If you’re disappointed, or if the unusual confluence of shapes that is the Juke has made you throw up a little in your mouth, don’t click past the jump. We warned you.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Exterior

Calling the Juke’s styling “not everyone’s cup of tea” (as one person I met put it) or even “polarizing” hardly begins to describe what’s going on here. My week with Nissan’s smallest crossover in America was filled with awkward stares, gaping mouths and looks of revulsion. But that’s not the whole story. For every 10 people that wanted to run the Juke out-of-town like villagers wielding pitchforks, there were two or three that thought it was fantastic looking. No, cross that, they wanted to bear the Juke’s children. That’s how far they went. This makes the Juke the most polarizing car design I have seen. Yes, I’m including the unholy Aztec and Rendezvous. However you feel about the Juke’s design, you have to admit it took some brass balls to design it, produce it, and then keep selling it.

Let’s toss in another photo:

2013 Nissan Juke Nismo Exterior

Our own Sajeev Mehta performed one of his excellent “Vellum Venom” critiques of the Juke in March, so be sure you check that out. My personal reaction is mixed. I appreciate the overall dimensions of the Juke as most crossovers on the road are ridiculously over-sized, but I think that the design team got just a bit carried away. Especially with the front end. I don’t mind the round headlamps, the round proboscis doesn’t bother me at all, but those turn signal pods that rise from the hood reminded me of a frog. Frogs are tasty, but I don’t find them cute. Making them stand out even more is the fact that they can be seen inside by the driver and front passenger. That said, I appreciate polarizing designs because of the passion they inspire. If you’re one of those people who want to interbreed with a Juke, more power to you. One thing is for sure, you get an enormous heaping of style for Nismo’s $22,990 starting price.

2013 Nissan Juke Nismo Interior, Dashboard, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Interior

Because the base Juke wears a starting MSRP of $18,990, my expectations were low. If you keep your expectations at a similarly realistic level, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. For $22,990 the Nismo version adds heavily bolstered Alcantara sport seats, a leather and Alcantara wrapped steering wheel, center arm rest, red tachometer, plenty of Nismo badges and red-stitching galore. Unfortunately, the standard hard plastic dashboard and the world’s least attractive headliner remain. Seriously, this has to be the same material the trunk liner in a Versa is crafted from, how much would it have cost for something out of the Altima? On the flip side, you have to keep reminding yourself that 27-large is as expensive as any Juke gets and the Nismo tops out at $26,460 with navigation, the CVT and AWD. That’s well below the average new car transaction price in America.

The Alcantara thrones are some of the most attractive (and best bolstered) seats you can find for under $30,000, but they still ride on the same 6-way manual driver’s and 4-way passenger’s seat frames as the regular Juke. This means the range of motion is limited and lumbar support is non-existent. Still, one must have perspective and you’ll find the same situation in most cars this price. I was disappointed to find that the Juke’s steering wheel doesn’t telescope making it hard for me to find an idea driving position.

2013 Nissan Juke Nismo Interior, Cargo Area, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Thanks to the  hatchback-like profile, the rear seats offer more room than you’d think by looking at the outside with enough head and legroom for a quartet of adult men. More surprising, those four guy’s bags will fit in the Juke’s surprisingly large and deep trunk. The reason for that large cargo area (with more under the load floor) is the Juke’s fairly tall profile and low ride height which allows for a deep (if strangely shaped) cargo hold. (Check out the video to see under the load floor.)

2013 Nissan Juke Nismo Interior, Infotainment, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Infotainment

Nismoing your Juke doesn’t improve the way your tunes sound, you get the same base AM/FM/XM/CD/iPod/USB head unit as the base Juke, with the same six unbranded speakers. For $1,150 you can add what Nissan used to call their “low-cost navigation unit” bundled with a Rockford Fosgate speaker system and 8-inch subwoofer. I was a bit skeptical about this combination, but the tuning of the RF system was surprisingly well-balanced for a factory up-sell. The big draw for me is the nav unit.

The nav system by itself seems to go for about $750 in other Nissan models and is one of the best navs on the market in my opinion. It’s not that it offers a huge feature set or slick graphics, what appeals to me is the low-cost and simple, straight-forward interface. The system has the basics covered from XM traffic and fuel prices to on-screen USB/iDevice integration and Bluetooth speakerphone integration. The one strange omission from the system is Bluetooth audio streaming which isn’t supported.

2013 Nissan Juke Nismo Interior, Shifter, 6-Speed Manual, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Drivetrain & Drive

Despite being the antithesis of square, the Cube and the Juke ride on the same Nissan Versa underpinnings. Thankfully the underpinnings are all they share. Instead of the wheezy 1.8L mill, Nissan cooked up an all-new 1.6L direct-injection four-cylinder for the Juke (they have since jammed it in foreign market Versas as well). The small engine is good for a [comparatively] large 197 horsepower (9 more than the regular Juke) and 184 lb-ft from 2,000 to 5,200 rpm (7 more). That’s a reasonable amount of power for something that could be seen as an upgrade from a loaded Sentra SR.

The Juke may be a funny looking creature with some cheap plastics inside, but even in base form it has road manners that impress. To create the Nismo, Nissan bumped up the tires to 224/45R18, stiffened the springs by 10%, tweaked the dampers, fiddled with the steering and bumped the final drive ratio. They then made the 6-speed manual transmission the standard cog-swapper rather than the CVT (standard in the regular Juke), added red mirror caps and called it a day.

2013 Nissan Juke Nismo Exterior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

A trick that is sometimes used to make the sporty version of a car more dynamic on the road is to swap out the electric power steering for a traditional hydraulic unit. When I first hit the curves in the Juke I assumed Nissan had employed this trick. Much to my surprise, Nissan didn’t do that. Instead they tweaked the EPAS (Electric Power Assist Steering) system for improved feedback and a different level of assist. The result is impressive but made me ask: why don’t all EPAS equipped Nissans feel like this? In truth, the feel is still lacking compared to the “good old days,” but the steering is notably more direct and linear with just a hint of feedback from the wide front rubber. This is as good as it gets with EPAS.

Before the Juke arrived I had spent a week in the 2013 BMW X6M (our reviews are obviously out of order). Having the Nismo and an X6M back to back may sound like a real let down, but there’s another side. Obviously the Juke doesn’t handle or accelerate like an M, but there is something of the personality that struck me. No, I’m not just talking about the X6 being similarly polarizing in the style department, I’m talking on the road personality. They are similarly “eager.”  In this way, the Juke reminded me of a small dog that thinks it’s a big dog. It even has a chihuahua’s eyes. Is that good or bad? Good seeing as the Juke costs about 1/4th the price. I managed a 7.45 second 0-60 dash in the 6-speed manual model, let’s just say the X6M didn’t get there in 1/4th the time.

It gets a bit more complicated. You see, the Juke is two kinds of animal. If you get the 6-speed manual transmission you get plenty of torque steer, slick shifts and a more engaging ride. (And for some reason torque steer makes me smile when it’s on a small-scale like this.) If you get the AWD Nismo, you’re stuck with Nissan’s CVT. I’m no CVT hater but even I have to admit the CVT dulls the Juke’s personality. On the flip side, the torque vectoring AWD system makes the CVT/AWD Nismo the faster car on the track by a reasonable margin. If you have an oddly shaped place in your heart for Nissan’s over-styled crossover, you have a difficult decision on your hands. Either way the Juke is destined to be one of the rarer vehicles on American roads and I get the impression that’s just how lovers and haters of the Juke like it.

 

Hit it or Quit it?

Hit it

  • The best handling chihuahua on the road.
  • Nissan’s torque vectoring AWD system is a hoot and a half.

Quit it

  • Saying the Juke’s looks aren’t for everyone is being polite.
  • What’s up with that headliner anyway?

 

Nissan provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.8 Seconds

0-60: 7.45 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 15.8 Seconds @ 90.5 MPH

Average Observed Fuel Economy: 27.8 MPG over 589 miles

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Small SUVs The Lone Bright Spot In Europe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/small-suvs-the-lone-bright-spot-in-europe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/small-suvs-the-lone-bright-spot-in-europe/#comments Thu, 07 Mar 2013 12:42:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=480422

An invasive species originating in North America is threatening the native fauna of Europe in a big way. Small crossovers, largely based on B and C segment hatchbacks, are one of the few growth segments in Europe’s ailing auto industry, so much so that they could even help reverse the fortunes of a couple ailing auto makers.

Peugeot and Renault, two car makers that have struggled in recent years, are expected to post big sales volumes of their upcoming small crossovers. One forecasting house predicts that the Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008 will even bump the current segment leader, the Nissan Juke, down to third place. Meanwhile, Ford is counting on the upcoming EcoSport for both volume and margin, thanks to its assembly in India.

By 2016, the segment is set to grow to 550,000 vehicles, up from just under 300,000 in 2012. The vehicles will be very profitable for auto makers, as they can charge a $3,900 premium on average for a car that uses the same basic B or C segment underpinnings. Furthermore, traditional market leaders like VW, Toyota, Honda and Hyundai are largely devoid of any product in these segments, giving PSA, Renault, Ford and even GM a wide berth to capture market share in this segment.

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SUV Sales Outpacing Family Cars In The UK http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/suv-sales-outpacing-d-segment-in-the-uk/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/suv-sales-outpacing-d-segment-in-the-uk/#comments Wed, 27 Feb 2013 16:24:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=479316

Just as McDonald’s resturants successfully introduced themselves into food-conscious Europe, another American-derived invasive species could be entering and killing off the native fauna.

At a briefing for the launch of the Ford Kuga (aka our Escape), Ford’s Alex Gallagher told Just-Auto that SUV sales are far outpacing sales of D-Segment cars, or what we call mid-size cars in North America. Europe’s D-segment includes not just sedans, but also hatchback and wagon variants as well.

Over the last 5 years, sales of SUVs have more than doubled, to 250,000 units annually, eclipsing D-segment sales for the first time last month. Despite SUVs being primarily thought of as an American product, Gallagher cites the Nissan Qashqai and Juke  as the driving force behind the switch to SUVs. Last month, the Qashqai and Juke ranked 5th and 9th respectively in a top 10 list dominated by small B-segment hatchbacks. In 2012, the 6th place Qashqai outsold the 13th place Vauxhall Insignia (the top selling D-segment car) by roughly 13,000 units, and outsold the Ford Mondeo and VW Passat (the second and third place D-segment cars) by a 2:1 ratio.

While SUVs were once derided as vehicles for farmers, mobsters or over-indulged housewives (at one time being labeled “Chelsea tractors, after the tony London neighborhood) the newest crop of SUVs are more in the dreaded crossover template than anything else. Despite the accepted binary dynamic whereby wagons= good and crossovers=bad, the much maligned two-box vehicles have won high praise from both critics and consumers on the continent. Even Chris Harris went ga-ga for the Dacia Duster, praising it for its simplicity and calling it “the most significant new motorcar launched in the past decade“.

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Chicago Auto Show: 2014 Nissan Nismo http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/chicago-auto-show-2014-nissan-nismo/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/chicago-auto-show-2014-nissan-nismo/#comments Thu, 07 Feb 2013 17:37:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=476741  

 Nissan’s motorsports division doesn’t think it has enough brand awareness in America. To counter this perception, Nissan tossed out a few NISMO (NISsan MOtorsports) models at the Chicago Auto Show. First up we have the Juke NISMO which is Nissan’s oddly shaped small crossover vehicle. The NISMO treatment makes the Juke look even more conspicuous on American roads with shapes and styles never before seen on a production vehicle. Whatever you do, don’t look up Juke in the Urban Dictionary while at work.


Thankfully the NISMO package isn’t just a styling exercise, Nissan also tosses in some cabin upgrades, faux-suede trim and a power boost. The same 1.6L engine is found under the funky hood but now cranks out 197HP and 184 lb-ft of torque. The CVT and 5-speed manual remain the only transmission options and of course AWD can be had for a price. While this is a far cry from the fire-breathing Juke R, it may help you escape the hoards of villagers with pitchforks.

Far more attractive is the Nissan 370Z NISMO gets extensive braking, suspension and styling tweaks in addition to a 350HP version of Nissan’s 3.7L V6 engine. Nissan promises improved downforce and even more fun out on the track. That should just about compensate for the extra 6.2 inches in length the NISMO Z brings to your garage. (Thank the re-tweaked front end for that.)

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Why Would Nissan Ask Social Media Users For Product Planning Advice? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/why-would-nissan-ask-social-media-users-for-product-planning-advice/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/why-would-nissan-ask-social-media-users-for-product-planning-advice/#comments Wed, 11 Jul 2012 15:56:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=452200

A few years ago, a wave of internet-fueled utopian ideas were supposed to headline yet another “paradigm shift” (or whatever throwaway bullshit term you wish to substitute) as the Web 2.0 revolution made us all more “open” or “social” or “connected”. Then, most of us woke up and realized that this was all a scheme by a bunch of social maladroits to get rich using our personal data, and we all went back to living our lives.

Nissan hasn’t gotten the memo yet.  They’re hoping to take advantage of the “social space” by asking their “fans” on Facebook, Pinterest etc for help in product planning. The first question that comes to mind is “Why?” Have they not seen the infamous episode of The Simpsons, where Homer designs his own car, leading to the demise of Powell Motors? Do they not know that most of the people who spend their time talking about and looking at pictures of cars online have the most obscure tastes that are not reflective of the general public? Anyone who cares enough is going to agitate for the importation of the Elgrand minivan, or a revival of the Pao microcar, (because “…that’s what Americans should be driving“) or a return to body-on-frame construction for the Pathfinder (even though the new car-based platform will let it be a perfect competitor for the Honda Pilot).

It could be that Nissan, like Mazda, is just going to humor their fans by listening to their input and then do nothing about it. Mazda’s campaign to solicit suggestions for the upcoming MX-5 on Jalopnik was a great way to drum up publicity for the car, but at this point, the MX-5 is too far along in the development cycle for any meaningful changes to happen.

The bigger question for me is, doesn’t Nissan trust their own people to do these kinds of things without input from the unwashed masses? Carlos Ghosn took the company from a bloated, money-hemmoraging industrial heifer into the lean, profitable automaker that exists today. The Nissan folks that I’ve met are reflective of the current state of the company, and come from automotive backgrounds that keyboard jockeys like myself can only dream of.

Letting the customer dictate what they want leads to the current generation Volkswagen Jetta and Passat – although bland, it was needed to help revive VW’s underwhelming success in America. Nissan doesn’t need this. They manage to do big volumes with cars that are genuinely good.

The current generation Altima is both a sales success and responsible for dropping a match in the mid-size horsepower powder keg. Something like the Juke, which is so totally out of left field, and manages to sell fairly consistently (though it’s not exactly a volume car in America), could not have been designed by committee. Meanwhile, the sum total of the general public’s buying desires seem to be Versas or other beige sedans with an iPod jack. And the Sentra is still the worst new car I’ve driven.

 

 

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Nissan Juke R Said To Cost $600,000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/nissan-juke-r-said-to-cost-600000/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/nissan-juke-r-said-to-cost-600000/#comments Fri, 04 May 2012 17:28:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=442886

Reports are emerging that the Nissan Juke R will cost $600,000 (about $450,000 euro) once Nissan starts selling their steroid-enhanced crossover.

The Juke R, which will be available in American and offered on a build-to-order basis, was always known to be expensive. The car requires the cannibalization of both a GT-R and a Juke for it to become a reality, plus a whole host of custom fabrication.

Now, Jalopnik is reporting that the final MSRP will be $600,000. With a limited run of 20-25 cars, it surely will be an exclusive collectors vehicle that promises to be unique. But it’s still a Juke with a GT-R powertrain, making it a Frankenstein of two mass-produced cars. Personally, the appeal is hard to grasp. Nevertheless, I’m sure Nissan will be able to find the requisite number of super-wealthy buyers.

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Nissan Horrifies Automotive Media With Lack Of Juke-R Long-Term Testers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/nissan-horrifies-automotive-media-with-lack-of-juke-r-long-term-testers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/nissan-horrifies-automotive-media-with-lack-of-juke-r-long-term-testers/#comments Thu, 03 May 2012 16:14:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=442782

Nissan sent a blow to the automotive press today, with the announcement that none of the upcoming limited production Juke-R crossovers would be allocated for long-term testing.

Tom Barnard of Nissan GB made a brief announcement via Twitter stating

“Just announced that we’re going to put the Juke R into limited production. No, we won’t be doing long termers. Or company cars.”

The announcement was felt across the automotive media industry, with journalists issuing last-ditch attempts at persuading Nissan to lend them a Juke-R. Some even resorted to effusive, sycophantic praise in a desperate attempt to establish enthusiast credibility by professing undying love for the pointless engineering exercise.

An anonymous observer noted that producing the Juke-R isn’t particularly “courageous”, since it counts as a mere marketing exercise using existing components to create a halo vehicle. The same observer also noted the vitriolic hate for the car’s design and packaging when it first debuted in 2010, despite the fact that it’s a great vehicle. Auto journalists have strangely suspended their irrational group-think hatred of crossovers when reporting on the Juke-R, despite the fact that it looks sillier than the standard Juke and may in fact be more of a rolling nerd magnet than Nissan’s GT-R sports coupe.

With files from Frank Bacon

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Nissan Juke Design Inspiration Discovered http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/08/nissan-juke-design-inspiration-discovered/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/08/nissan-juke-design-inspiration-discovered/#comments Wed, 25 Aug 2010 22:37:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=363845

I happen to like the Juke, in about the same way I like the Datsun F10. Even though the F10 was a CC competitor for the world’s ugliest car, I’m all for anything that makes our streets less boring; bring it on! And the Juke certainly does that. And you can’t deny there’s more than a few similarities, right down to protuberances on their front fender tops:

The C-pillar with that blacked out rear section, the upswept window line, the two-door look, and…

Interestingly enough, while the rest of the Juke evokes (for me anyway) the F10 wagon, at the rear, it’s the hatchback that comes to mind, with its graceful arc at the top, and the prominent license plate surround. I say bravo, Nissan, for having the guts to retro one of your all-time…um…memorable designs.

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