Relatively subtle exterior changes hide some fairly large cabin and powertrain upgrades to the 2015 Nissan Juke, which the brand recently introduced in Switzerland at the Geneva Motor Show.
Now, it's not that the appearance of the JUKE hasn't evolved; it has, thanks to an array of LED lighting elements, fine-tuned front and rear fascias, a massive glass sunroof, and a new selection of 16-, 17- and 18-inch wheel designs, as well as new cabin color themes. But as the brand notes, "To radically alter the proportions would undermine the JUKE's unmistakable presence," with change just for the sake of change recognized as "counter-productive" to the vehicle's mission.
Nissan designers instead focused on improving two key areas of the Juke to make it both more fun and more versatile. To accomplish the first goal, the 2015 JUKE will offer a high-performance, low-displacement turbocharged engine that will transform a mere 1.2 liters into "greater performance, economy and lower emissions." The only hitch is that those qualifiers refer to the JUKE's Euro-standard engine, not the 188-hp unit that drives the U.S. entry-level version.
If that new engine does make it to the U.S. market, however, it would no doubt offer a nice boost to the JUKE's fuel economy, while still providing about 113 hp and 140 lb.-ft. of torque that are right in line with the outputs from most American-market subcompacts. And for what it's worth, the engine enables 50.4 mpg combined in European testing in the global Nissan Qashqai crossover. On the odd chance we don't see that tiny turbo, Nissan does report that it's enhancing the current 1.6-liter unit, along with the JUKE's available torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system.
The 2015 Nissan JUKE also gains in terms of practicality, since engineers managed to redesign its cargo hold to fit almost 40 percent more gear. Of course, that just brings the total up to about 12.5 cubic feet, but the added space allows drivers to stow "a large and a medium suitcase at the same time," according to the brand, and that's something JUKE rivals can't claim. There's even room for a traditional wheelchair, with versatility increased yet further by the debut of a two-stage cargo floor.
The 2015 Nissan JUKE is scheduled to go on sale in Europe this summer, with more details about the U.S. version still to come.