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For a company that is known for its staid bread-and-butter models such as the Sunny, Sylphy and Cefiro, Nissan also seems to have knack giving us of impressively enigmatic and ‘wild' cars such as the Skyline GTR and Z-coupe range. Somewhere in between is Nissan's remarkable range of sporty crossovers starting with the stylish Murano, and quickly followed by the attractive Qashqai. With this rich heritage of ‘wild', as well as commercially successful, family members comes the Juke, the smallest and most outlandishly-styled crossover.
Where does one start with the way the Juke looks? From the front, it has the high, on-the-bonnet headlamps from the March, but below that there is gaping full-length grille with huge round headlamps juxtaposed into the grille and bumper. It's a face only a mother could love.
From the side, the big arches and wheels, and the aggressive SUV stance contrasts sharply with the sloping coupe-like roofline, which echoes the profile of the GTR. For added measure, the rear doors have their handles hidden in the C-pillar, like the Alfa Romeo 147 and 156. So this makes the Juke an SUV coupe, like a smaller BMW X6, which is itself no beauty.
It is at the rear that the Juke seems both the most conflicted. There is a wrap around fastback roof, like the Mazda RX-8, but less we forget that the 370Z is related to the Juke, its z-shaped rear lamps have been grafted on the Juke.
So yes, the Juke seems to be carrying the burden of its tremendous heritage on its shoulders - and its designers have managed to fuse all these seemingly disparate influences onto the Juke's bodywork. Intriguingly, it works. While photographing the car, the one gets drawn to the way the light falls onto its many fascinating shapes and forms.
No, the Juke is not a classic beauty - it is more like a futuristic 21st century montage, one in which hi-tech computers and CAD software has allowed its designers cut-and-paste the best from here and there, and morphed them into something that is truly new and refreshing. Walk away from the Juke, and you'll find yourself continually looking back at it, somehow transfixed by its aggressive stance and unorthodox beauty.