Nissan’s stylistically contentious Juke is one of those "hate it or love it" vehicles. With its odd headlight treatments and strange design elements, the Juke is definitely for a specific taste. Now Nissan has unveiled both the redesigned Juke for 2015 and the all new, more straight forward X-trail. While the new Juke benefits from a series of design enhancements, new engine offerings and some technological revisions, the new X-Trail gets a complete ground up redesign.
With over 500,000 Jukes sold worldwide since its market launch in 2010, the odd little crossover continues to defy normal design conventions. The biggest area of contention for most lay in the grille region, where oversized, round running lights fight for aesthetic domination against angular light-works that jut out from the rising fender treatments. For better or worse, the design has, according to Nissan, been refined for the new 2015 model.
For 2015, the upper fender lights have taken design influences from the 370Z, Murano and Qashqai by incorporating the signature boomerang shape into the design. The change is nominal, as is the new V-shaped grille, but the boomerang design does repeat itself in the new Juke’s taillights. Otherwise the Juke’s overall proportions, descending roofline and squat stance remain relatively untouched.
The new Juke provides consumers with a choice of five different engines and two transmission offerings. The largely disliked CVT is still there, but now has 17 percent more range, whereas the 6-speed manual allows drivers to manage their own shifting. Three of the engines are carried over from the previous model, and are now joined by two new powerplants, including a new turbocharged, direct injection engine. Drivetrain options include the standard two-wheel drive vehicle and an AWD variant with a choice of the X-tronic or CVT gearbox, although technically the CVT shouldn’t really be called a gearbox.
Inside the Juke, Nissan has upped the crossover’s storage capacity by an impressive 40 percent. To let the light shine down on all that extra stuff, Nissan has also added a new open-air panoramic glass roof. And thanks to a new personalization program from Nissan’s Design Studio, owners can change their Juke’s center console, door finishes, air vent rings, and the gear knob stitching, steering wheel, seats and meter hood lid leather cover, if they so choose.
Other features include a new audio system, current generation NissanConnect interface, Nissan Safety Shield and the Dynamic Control system.
Where the Juke is more of a personal statement, Nissan’s revised X-Trail crossover comes across as more conventional, for those who might like to remain more anonymous. Working off a new platform, the new X-Trail is not only 90 kg (198 lb) lighter than the previous model, but also wider, longer and less tall than its predecessor. This exterior expansion translates into more legroom and increased storage capabilities.
According to Nissan, the new X-Trail’s exterior features a "design emphasis on the wheel areas, whose large arches form the cornerstones of the design." Whereas those design elements may have been reworked in the new vehicle, the overall visual statement still speaks of a homogenous, suburban mandate.
Inside the five-door crossover, Nissan has included a split-screen dashboard to increase visual acuity when glancing at road speeds and radio settings. Like the Juke, the X-Trail also features the new NissanConnect system to assist with connectivity, and the big panoramic glass roof in order to soak the seven passengers in natural light.
The X-Trail also features other safety and passenger goodies like: forward emergency braking, moving object detection and a handy little device that recognizes traffic signs and alerts the driver to new speed limits. The system is clever enough to not only recognize and translate signage across Europe, but can even single out weather-related signs that advise driver’s to slow down under inclement conditions.
Whereas the exterior might be a bit sleepy, the X-Trail’s chassis livens things up a bit with goodies like Active Ride Control, engine braking, hill start assist and Active Trace Control (which brakes individual wheels in order to reduce understeer and increase handling during less than ideal road conditions).
In Europe, the new X-Trail will launch with a new 1.6-liter turbocharged diesel engine, capable of producing 150 hp (112 kW) and 236 lb.ft (320 Nm) of torque, with 0-62 mph (100 km/h) performance times in the 10.5 second range. A turbocharged 1.6-liter gas engine similar to the Juke's will be available later in 2015. The turbodiesel powerplant can be fitted to either the two or four-wheel drivetrains, and come with either the CVT or 6-speed manual transmissions.
Both the new 2015 Juke and X-Trail will be available from July.