Crossovers

Nissan Juke returns as less polarizing as before, but not for US

The Juke has grown up a little bit but it's still a funky crossover.

Nissan

Throw another dime in, because the Juke is back. Well, in Europe. The Nissan Juke departed US shores in favor of the more conventional Nissan Kicks, but across the pond, the Japanese automaker unveiled the second-generation model on Tuesday.

It looks a lot like the Juke we knew and polarizingly loved, yet grown-up in many ways. To start, the latest Juke is larger than the crossover it replaces. Measuring 166 inches long, 63 inches high and 71 inches wide, it's ever so slightly longer, wider and taller than the previous Juke. The extra space translates to more headroom and rear-seat knee room, per Nissan. Cargo space also increases by 20%.

On the overall style, it's very much an evolution from the previous car. The controversial squinty running lights and round headlights remain, but they're more subdued and clean. LED lights are standard this time around, too. 

The body itself is less defined by the greenhouse and instead boasts accentuating creases in the rear doors that lead the eye to a cleaner rear fascia. The taillights also lose their extensions that ran from the lower part of the rear window, and instead, more horizontal light elements are in place. Back to the front, Nissan's latest "V-motion" grille provides the corporate face.

Under the less polarizing looks is a 1.0-liter inline-3 turbocharged engine that makes 115 horsepower. Europeans will be able to select a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch transmission to handle shifting duties. Hopefully, the Juke feels more spritely since it weighs nearly 51 pounds less than the outgoing crossover. Nissan also promised greater stability and cornering capabilities thanks to a more rigid platform this time around.

Plopping down inside reveals a cabin that appears far more premium than the US-spec Kicks. Nissan mentioned the interior is packed full of soft-touch materials and standard sport seats. Alcantara and leather are optional materials. The air vents and infotainment screen, particularly, look far nicer than what buyers will find in the Kicks. A shame the Juke isn't destined for America to duke it out with fellow weirdo crossovers like the Toyota C-HR. Weird is good; at least these crossovers have some personality.

Other comforts and technology Nissan lined the latest Juke with include a Bose premium audio system Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, ProPilot Assist for highway driving and a suite of active safety technologies. First deliveries are scheduled for November and prices for the quirky crossover start at around $21,050 at current exchange rates.

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