New Car: 2011 Nissan Juke

IT may be called the Juke, but it's certainly not boxy! These are the first official images of Nissan's new curvy cross-over which aims to repeat the success of the Qashqai, this time offering buyers a funky alternative to a regular supermini.

Boasting a very distinctive body, a raised ride height, the option of four-wheel drive with torque vectoring and a new 187bhp 1.6-litre turbo engine, the Juke will make its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month before going on sale here in October. It should cost from around £13,000, battling it out with rivals as diverse as Vauxhall's Meriva and MINI's Countryman.

Penned at Nissan's Paddington design centre in London, it will be built at the firm's factory in Sunderland and is described as "a combination of SUV toughness and sporting style".

As you can see, the showroom-ready version features many touches from the Qazana concept that previewed it, including circular spotlights at the front, a wide-mouthed grille, pronounced wheelarches, hidden rear door handles and chunky, four-square proportions.

Inside, the cabin is just as striking with a centre console inspired by a motorcycle fuel tank, finished in high gloss paint. Large twin chrome-ringed dials mark out the instrument binnacle, while the facia also features colour displays for the ventilation system. With seating for five and a rear bench that splits and folds flat, plus a hatchback boot and plenty of cubby holes, it should offer decent practicality too.

Beneath the skin, the Juke features a development of the same platform that underpins the Micra and the Clio of Nissan's Alliance partner, Renault. Front-wheel drive versions get MacPherson struts with a torsion beam at the rear while four-wheel drive models have a multi-link rear suspension modelled on the system found on Qashqai.

The latter gets ALL-MODE 4x4-i – a new development of Nissan’s electronic all-wheel drive system, which now features torque vectoring designed to enhance agility and reduce understeer when cornering. However, don't expect much off-road ability. "Juke was born in an urban environment and that is where it will spend most of its life,” said Simon Thomas, Nissan’s European senior vice president for sales and marketing.

Three engines will be available: a 1.5-litre diesel and two 1.6-litre petrol units. Topping the petrol line-up is a new direct injection turbocharged unit that produces 187bhp and 240 Nm of torque. It is the only engine to be available with four-wheel drive and gets a six-speed manual as standard with the option of a CVT automatic.

Further down the range the 115bhp 1.6-litre non-turbo petrol gets a five-speed manual as standard or a CVT automatic, while the 109bhp 1.5-litre dCi diesel has a six-speed manual. Visia, Acenta and Tekna trim lines will be available, so expect most models to get alloy wheels and climate control. In addition, a full range of accessories developed for owners who want to personalise their Juke further will also be available.For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

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