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The Unfortunate Case of The Nissan Juke

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On: Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 11:34AM | By: Chris Salamone

The Unfortunate Case of The Nissan Juke

The Nissan Juke is a vehicle your brain can’t comprehend, much like a bizarrely disturbing scene from a Phillip K. Dick novel. Although you may try to rationalize the Juke, the shape, size, and downright strange design do not ascribe to any popular notions of functional carmaking—excluding the hilarious Suzuki X-90 which hardly qualifies as popular… or functional. Although the Juke comes with loads of interior gadgets, a smooth Continuously Variable Transmission, and lots of personalization packages, the car’s functionality and aesthetics fall short.

For example, the Juke has only 35.9 cu. ft. of cargo volume and averages in the upper 20s for miles per gallon. Compare that to a close competitor, the equally strange Kia Soul, which has 53.4 cu. ft. of cargo volume and also averages in the upper 20s for gas mileage. Unfortunately, another major difference is that the Kia’s base price is $5,000 less than the Nissan Juke.

So what is the potential market for the Juke? The vehicle is decidedly better equipped than something like the Kia Soul, considering the car has tons of optional features like a navigation system, AWD, interior color accents, and a rear view monitor. But the two vehicles do share a common design element: absurdity. The largest consumer group for unique cars with cheeky names is probably college students. Even so, the Juke is fairly expensive for the average college student. For the same price a driver could lease a far more enjoyable vehicle or buy several Tata Nanos.

Although the base S model starts at $18,980, the premium Juke SL model tops out at $22,570. The model type differences are mostly related to vehicle amenities and not the Juke’s infrastructure. Indeed, the S model comes with the same rubber-shredding 1.6 liter turbo 4-cylinder engine as the SV and SL. Interior pictures indicate that the rear seats fold down to a semi-flat position which might be large enough for big dogs or the occasional trip to the keyboard repair shop.

Perhaps in a year or two we will look back on the Juke’s sales and be shocked by the hordes of people who lined up to purchase this car. Perhaps this is all some kind of practical joke timed perfectly with April Fools’ Day. But more likely, the Juke will fade away or dramatically change in the next five years. If you have a penchant for electric blue cars or black and red leather interiors this may be the car for you. For the rest of planet Earth, caution is advised.

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