Geneva preview: Nissan Juke
February 11, 2010 § Leave a comment
Nissan’s Juke is a small (B-sector, or supermini-sized) crossover with a sporty edge; it’s to be built in Sunderland and will be sold in Europe, Japan and the US with UK sales from October. It’s a cute, chunky-looking little thing, and will come with the option of Nissan’s All-Mode 4×4-i electronic four-wheel drive plus torque-vectoring.
Engines for the European-market range are turbocharged, direct-injection (190PS, 240Nm) and non-turbo (117PS) 1.6-litre petrols, or a 110PS/240Nm 1.5 dCi diesel. CVT transmission is optional with the all-wheel-drive, turbocharged petrol model.
Nissan says that the turbo petrol engine delivers power and performance equivalent to that of a conventional larger, thirstier 2.5-litre. It’s another example of downsizing and no doubt this engine’s going to appear elsewhere in the Nissan-Renault range in place of a larger one.
But this has got me questioning the whole concept of downsizing on a vehicle level. Sure, small crossover-type vehicles like this may encourage a few people to trade down from unnecessarily large SUVs and 4x4s, which can only be a good thing.However, I suspect they may actually tempt more upsizing – just as Nissan’s Qashqai pulled in buyers from conventional, low-riding small family hatchbacks, the Juke will probably win a fair few from normal superminis and city cars. And even apart from its powerful engines, with the best will in the world a high-riding, high-roofed and relatively un-aerodynamic, heavy little crossover, especially once specced-up with four-wheel drive and a CVT, is not going to deliver the same fuel economy or low-level emissions as a mainstream supermini. Just a thought.