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Hail the Juke of Sunderland

Just a glimpse: Nissan released this teaser shot of the new Juke mini SUV ahead of its February unveiling in Europe.

Nissan’s offbeat UK-built urban compact SUV ditches Qazana for Juke

11 Jan 2010

NISSAN’S long-awaited ultra compact SUV, to be built for European consumption in place of the Micra light car at the company’s Sunderland plant in England, will wear Juke badges when it is revealed on February 10 – about three weeks before the car’s 2010 Geneva motor show debut.

The first image provided by Nissan of Europe is an obscured teaser photo showing exaggerated wheel arches and a distinctive nose treatment.

Sharing the production line with the highly successful Nissan Qashqai (also known as the less popular Dualis in Australia), the Juke is described as a “small crossover” vehicle by the company.

Previewed by the Qazana concept at the 2009 Geneva event, it will slot in beneath the Qashqai/Dualis, which has made plenty of hay for Nissan as a crossover alternative to the likes of the Volkswagen Golf and Toyota Corolla small cars in Europe.

Nissan will be hoping the Juke plays the same tune against the Continent’s popular pint-sized sellers such as the Ford Fiesta, Opel Corsa, Toyota Yaris and Fiat Punto.

It is expected to be priced in line with mid-range versions of these B-segment babies, much like the Qashqai is in the ‘C’ class.

12 center imageLeft: Nissan Qazana concept. Below: Nissan Qashqai (Dualis).

Mechanical details are scant at the moment, but count on four-cylinder petrol and turbo diesels doing the rounds, with the latter supplied by Nissan partner Renault.

The Juke is believed to be derived from the Nissan ‘B’ platform (transverse engine mounted front-wheel drive chassis) that also underpins the current Renault Clio and Modus as well as all of its Nissan derivatives – including the K12 Micra, Note and the Tiida.

The Juke will be the fourth crossover Nissan offers in Europe – selling alongside the Qashqai, Qashqai +2 (seven-seater long wheelbase model) and Murano.

Nissan would not comment on the Juke’s prospects for an Australian release, but high exchange rates in what is traditionally a price-sensitive end of the market (light car segment) do not work in the crossover’s favour.

“The Nissan Juke will inject some much-needed dynamism into the small-car segment, offering European car-buyers an alternative to the traditional, uninspiring small hatchback,” said Simon Thomas, Nissan’s european senior vice president for sales and marketing.

“Nissan’s customer research identified a large proportion of European small and compact car buyers whose needs are not met by what they perceive to be uninspiring and unoriginal options available to them where copycat hatchbacks dominate.

“The Nissan Juke has been designed and developed to give customers an alternative to the traditional small hatchback in Europe.

“We know that there are a lot of customers that are looking for a car which combines striking design, agile handling and driving pleasure, user-friendly technology but not at the expense of practicality and convenience.

“These unique attributes will allow Juke to occupy a unique corner of the European market.”

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