GENEVA -- The Nissan Juke has been a love-it-or-hate-it kind of car, but it seems the lovers have won out, as the Juke has proved extremely popular in the global market, such that Nissan didn't make any radical changes to the funky little crossover for the 2015 model year.
In fact, the styling changes emphasize the 2015 Nissan Juke's flair.
Headlight and taillight casings gain Nissan's boomerang shape, also seen on the GT-R and 370Z. As before, the headlight casings form part of the architecture of the front fenders. A larger wheel arch up front also accentuates the Juke's funky style.
More pronounced rear fenders and a hatch that bubbles out of the car's rear not only distinguish the Juke's looks, but also help the 2015 model achieve 40 percent more cargo space, according to Nissan's press release.
Nissan noted that the Juke gets improved torque vectoring for its all-wheel-drive system, and can also be had in a front-wheel-drive configuration. The European all-wheel-drive version will be available with a manual transmission, so there is the possibility that version will come to the US. Nissan improved the continuously variable transmission for the car, as well.
The European specifications for the Juke announced at the Geneva show mentioned three engine options, two gasoline and one diesel. The US version will likely continue with its one choice, a turbocharged direct-injection 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. Power output for that engine is unchanged, although Nissan has made improvements such as lowered running friction and a higher combustion ratio, which should increase fuel economy.
The example on the floor at Geneva retained the D-Mode system, which lets a driver choose sport and efficiency driving programs.
Nissan upgraded the cabin electronics, offering its NissanConnect head unit in the Juke. This system shows navigation and audio on a 5.8-inch touch screen. Smartphone connectivity adds support for Google search, social media, and music apps. Although those features were announced for the European version of the Juke, Nissan has included similar head units in other models it has launched in the US.
Also announced for Europe is an around-view monitor system, which shows the driver front, side, and rear views of the car on its LCD. That feature seems less likely to make it to the US.
Instead of any radical changes in the Juke, Nissan has taken a strategy of small improvements for the 2015 model. It already uses one of Nissan's most efficient engines, and its small crossover shape gives it a practical aspect at an economy car price. Likely fuel economy improvements and connected cabin electronics will help it compete with other new compacts. However, the addition of all-wheel drive gives it an edge in the market.