Juke has broad appeal

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 May, 2012, 12:00am


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Nissan has made crossover vehicles for a decade. The popular 3.5-litre Murano in 2002 merged the size of a sports utility vehicle with the comforts of a saloon and soon became a best-seller. The smaller, two-litre Qashqai has been equally impressive as a tall, economic hatchback.

Now, the Japanese marque introduces Hong Kong to the smallest of its crossover range, the Juke. Launched at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, the five-seater has proven popular in the West, and its new, efficient engines could appeal to families feeling the pinch of rising petrol and household expenses.

Named after an American footballer's sudden move to avoid a defensive player's tackle, the Juke is available with a choice of two engines in Hong Kong. They look suitably sporty, with low headlights and backup beams that seem to emerge from slashes in the bonnet. The back lights mimic the combination designs on Nissan's Z sports car and the rear door handles are embedded into the vehicle's aft pillars to emulate the sleekness of a two-door sports coupe.

The cabin offers a bright interior, good all-round visibility and the launch of Nissan's Intelligent Control System (I-CON) for Drive Mode & Climate Mode.

The basic Juke (HK$243,800) is fitted with the marque's improved 115-horsepower, 1.6-litre HR16DE engine, featuring the world's first mass-produced dual injector system, 'for more efficient atomisation and complete combustion', Nissan says. The car's fuel economy is improved further with twin variable valve timing control, while the marque's new Xtronic gearbox promises a 20 per cent improvement in gear ratio over conventional Continuous Variable Transmission systems. The JUKE DIG Turbo version (HK$279,800) gets the new, 188hp, 1.6-litre MR16DDT direct injection petrol engine with a compact turbocharger, 'which combines good fuel efficiency with the power equivalent to a 2.5-litre engine', the marque says, citing the front-wheel drive vehicle's eight-second sprint to 100km/h. The model's front suspension design is the 'first B-platform application to use a cradle-type subframe', Nissan says. 'A rigid torsion beam suspension is used in the rear', all for a more manoeuvrable, quieter ride. The Juke also has a five-star safety rating in European crash tests.