ALTHOUGH it may have whimsical styling, the Nissan Juke is far from a jester, swiftly establishing itself as a formidable player in the market.
The figures attest to this: Nissan has already received 66,300 orders in the first five months after launch, claiming almost 2 per cent of the B-segment in Europe according to a recent press release.
It appears that distinctive, somewhat peculiar design is Nissan’s trump card. When they released the Qashqai some time ago, it too boasted unique aesthetics – being a sort of hatchback infused with an essence of SUV. And the car-buying public flocked to it – the Qashqai is a popular sight on our roads.
If the acclaim it’s garnering overseas is any indication, this little Juke is going to drive South African motorists crazy with desire.
Consolidating it as a sensible, solid choice – not just a substance-devoid fashion statement, the striking Juke also received five stars in the latest Euro NCAP tests. Potential Juke customers can rest soundly in the knowledge that it scored a rating of 87 per cent for adult protection and 81 per cent for child occupant protection. Six airbags are standard across the range, as is the preventative safety mechanism, ESP stability control.
The press release also reported that the Juke thwarted the competition, managing to sell more units than the Alfa Romeo Mito, Mini Countryman, Citroen DS3 and the recently launched Audi A1.
“The interest in Juke is so strong, so positive, that we are confident of achieving 120,000 sales in its first full year,” said Simon Thomas, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Nissan International SA.
Nissan really seem determined to stick it to the big dogs with their Juke – Thomas warned: “Audi and Mini better watch out.”
The Juke is available in petrol and diesel variants – we hope the same extensive range of engines will be on offer when Juke is introduced here. There are powerplants producing 81kW, all the way up to 140kW – which should give a few of the hot-hatches out there are run for their money. One can decide between a manual transmission and an XTRONIC CVT gearbox. You can also have two-wheel-drive, or, for a bit of off-road prowess, four-wheel-drive. All Juke models have air-conditioning, CD-player and Aux-in compatibility for iPods and other music players as standard. Posher models may come with a rear-view parking camera like you get on the bigger Nissan Murano, and satellite navigation.
It’s got quirky, cool looks and seems to have a decent level of standard features. If the Juke is keenly priced, it would probably seize an ample share of the market when it arrives here.
I certainly can’t wait to find out if the Juke is as good in reality, as it is on paper.