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December 26, 2019 - The Crazy Kanuck
Nissan Juke, the 4Runner, the Mountain Dew Lime and The Boss.
Just hearing Nissan’s Juke (not to be confused with 2016’s dangerously funky Juke NX) recalls old Nesports and Lancer FR 500s. The Japanese automaker is finally introducing a crossover to the market.
The car itself is as easy to drive as it is to be intimidating. I love the redesigned exterior of the Juke (Eagle Eyes ) as there are now tweaks that make this a grown up CR-V. The crossover has a massive hexagonal grille, a prominent triple grille (each above the other) and unique lighting. To match, the Juke sports a trio of foglights on the roof.
Exterior trim and design choice is as in-your-face as ever. I especially love the rear spoiler and said spoiler with the split wrapping. The rocker panels are also sleek with gladiator-esque detailing. Going in for a spin, I found that it moves far more than a Honda HR-V (even at 30 mph) and it even outshines the crossover of my teammate Kyle Siplar (the detuned VW GTI Jetta which I have recommended to readers).
Inside, the styling is simply excellent. The soft dashboard, leather seats and large analog instrument panel will make you want to roll into the driveway in the glowing skin.
In terms of technology, the biggest highlight on the Juke I have to say is the Nissan Sensing system. It might actually be a better feature than the Nissan Assist driver assistance system. However, unlike Assist, Sensing can be customized. With the 3-D touch control, like with other Nissan systems, you can be on the steering wheel with your left hand but hold a button and enjoy the functionality of the Juke elsewhere. I can imagine Sensing being so much more efficient if I could turn on it during the commute instead of setting it for dusk.
Safety aside, there are some nice touches. The system is always on the way to intervene when you need help like if you get rear-ended. Also, there are many options for car2go users and the integration of the car into various apps makes the car an easy one to hail. The features set and the technology make the Juke an essential option in any tech-savvy household.
Though I don’t personally like the platform like the Nissan Leaf or the BMW i3, I am definitely a fan of this vehicle and the investment Nissan has made for a crossover. Who doesn’t want a spot in the big leagues?
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December 26, 2019 - The Crazy Kanuck
When we watch Honda, Hyundai and Toyota commercials, they tell us where all their cars come from, why we should have them and how safe they are. With Nissan, we get to see Juke as the half-Japanese, half-American pride car designed for the 60- and 70-something crowd. Is this a good thing or a great thing?
Juke, Nissan’s second-to-last sub-brand, isn’t having a great year. They started it slow and now everything is heading in reverse. Some of the numbers aren’t very good. They started with sales of over 310,000 units in the United States, but that number has slumped to 214,000 units a year later. An overwhelming portion of that dip is attributable to the inevitable decline of the midsize car market as the over $20,000 price tag on the Juke is way out of reach for many buyers.
It’s also finding itself in the mediocre market for sporty mid-size cars, where everyone from Ford (Cadillac CTS), to Toyota (Corolla) and Subaru (Outback) are making strides in excitement. Either way, Nissan is going to need a strategy to get Juke back to its creative high. If they want a Juke convertible in the future and it doesn’t include a bit of the go-karting/skateboarding two-seater that made it famous, then stop reading this article and sell it to the next person.
In the midst of all this, a rumor has hit Nissan that Juke is the brand’s best-selling vehicle. It’s just too bad the rumor is wrong.
Nissan never releases sales numbers for individual products, but here’s some information from my corporate sources:
The Juke is sold in only 107 countries, the United States being the largest single market. As of this writing, it’s also Juke’s bestselling model in a handful of other markets like Korea, Australia, Spain, Peru, Switzerland, Hungary, Italy, Taiwan, and Germany.
The Juke performs well in sales, but in terms of net sales, it’s nowhere near Nissan’s leader in the same category: the Titan pickup.
While it might not have many green-porn lovers or diehard enthusiasts on board, the Juke is unique, unique, unique. Nissan did their best to popularize a new category of cars in the same way they inspired people to buy the first-generation Cube – grab some cash, make a new kind of car, and then maybe you’ll start selling a million-plus of them a year.
The Juke, though, is something entirely different from the old-school Nissan Cube. The frame is built off of the Rogue, as is the body, but all the creative concepts and delights come from Juke. Plus, we all know that buyers at least half of the time don’t decide on a brand based on price, but on adventure factor. Many of us have driven a Juke, but we’ve been driving it for far more than a couple of years. Those who haven’t are probably terrified or disgusted when someone jumps in the driver’s seat.
So, it begs the question: What’s wrong with the Juke?
Personally, I can’t say I would enjoy driving a Juke myself, but I’d sure love to experience it. As my colleague Dan Mihalik has pointed out, there isn’t really a way to make it sporty or exciting without changing its exterior design; the added feel or curb appeal comes from the inside, and that’s all depending on how active you make your Juke interior.
So, what do you think? Is Juke good or bad for Nissan?