Nissan announced that they are going to produce the Juke-R in extremely low volumes (you pay and they will build you one) and only for the European and Middle Eastern market. If you’re not familiar with the Nissan Juke-R we are jealous as we are not huge fans of the car or SUV (whatever it is) and wish that we were like you and had never laid eyes on this monstrosity. The modern day Juke is nothing more than a Nissan’s attempt at reinventing the Pontiac Aztek, with the only major difference being its overall dimensions. For some reason if a car is small enough, ugly seems to morph in to the transforms into cuteness no matter what the exterior appearance looks like.
Cars like the Juke confuse me as I frankly can’t understand who they appeal to and why they are so appealing to these people. The Juke is one of most polarizing vehicle designs for sale today, it won’t win a beauty pageant, it doesn’t get great fuel economy, it isn’t large enough to do a serious road trip in, or a run to your local garden center or hardware store and it performs only slightly better than it looks. So who is interested in purchasing it and why is it still being sold today let alone inspiring the creation of a $600,000 545 horsepower version?
I believe that the answers as to why the Juke and similar stylistically challenged small compact vehicles are sold in North America for one simple reason. Cute and compact is the new little black dress that seems to go with everything. Personally I wish that it would stop as this trend in my mind is nothing more than trucker hats, Faux-Hawks haircuts and popped collars!
To help prove my point I summon the 2012 Hyundai Veloster to the witness box. I have read countless articles raving about how revolutionary this redesigned Accent is. They go on and on about the cars third door to the rear that only a human who is shorter than five foot two fit through without scalping themselves or playing the role of Vincent Van Gogh and loosing an ear. It seems that the entire automotive industry feels that the central exhaust gives the back end a sporty look as they over look the fact that rear design resembles a Great Dane as it is about to do its business on the neighbor lawn. One fact that we can agree on is when approaching the car from the front it can be very difficult to look away, similar to when you are driving past that car on the shoulder who is getting hooked up to a tow truck. The Veloster’s styling is neither Autobot nor Decepticon but there are so many character lines and fake performance air intakes, I often find myself caught in a staring contest to see if a third type mutant Transform does exist and could become a robot right in front of my eyes.
Sadly this car is heralded by the AJAC (Automotive Journalist Association of Canada) and it won the award for the Best New Design of any vehicle produced in 2012. I have no idea who the other contestants were however I do own two functioning eyes and I can let you know that there were other vehicles with revolutionary designs produced in 2012. Maybe the folks at Lamborghini once kicked sand in AJAC’s face so the Aventador couldn’t win, or the Range Rover Evoke was a little to Victoria Beckham for them so it was considered second class to the Veloster. All I can say is that I haven’t yet earned the right to be in the room to cast my vote for the likes of an Audi A7, so like all of you I was ballot less, thus powerless to correct this injustice wrong.
When you truly boil down the Hyundai Veloster and the Nissan Juke they are small pint sized vehicles which in today’s age equates to cute city, or female, or gen Y friendly and thus it is respected as design genius. Well I’m calling Shenanigans’ to that logic and would like to call the Hyundai Genesis Coupe to the stand as my first witness for the defense.
Let’s begin by stating some facts; The Genesis Coupe is a rear wheel drive muscle car, it has the suspension and engine options to back up its performance claim, it seats 4 like the majority of sport coupes do, and it shares the same style and design DNA of the Veloster. Sure it only has 2 doors and its twin exhaust tips are push out to the rear corners of the car and most of all it does have a conventional style trunk lid that opens plenty large enough for you to place your luggage or hostage. As far as we can see there are only two major differences between the Genesis Coupe and the Veloster. The Genesis has the power and performance to back up its appearance where as the Veloster does not and the Genesis’s trophy case is empty.
So why there is no love for the similar designed Genesis Coupe, while the redesigned Accent in the Veloster is the belle of the ball? We would suggest that it boils down to the cars competition. The Hyundai Genesis Coupe plays in the same sandbox as the Chevy Camaro, the Ford Mustang, and the Dodge Challenger 3 retro styled beauties. Standing next to these cars the Genesis doesn’t look all that ground breaking or a fresh take on the segment. Instead it looks like a Korean car company that is trying to break into a new car segment. Whereas the Veloster competes in the compact car class in has to duel with the likes of the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic and Mazda 3. Can you say vanilla, vanilla and more vanilla? In such a bland segment could the “fun, sporty, and cute” Veloster be the cream that rises to the top out by default? We would suggest that it does.
In what seems to be a modern day reality these niche cars/SUV are her to stay for at least this current model run and they appear to also have the power to inspire extreme performance versions like the Juke-R. This Nissan was originally intended as a one-off concept to marry two of Nissan’s most innovative models. But the reaction that the company had from passer bys on the street and from the automotive journalist who test drove it was so over whelming positive that Nissan couldn’t resist offering the Juke-R as a custom ordered vehicle only and will cost those interested just under 600,000 dollars American for the luxury of owning it.
We are going to save our money on this one and hope that the buying public will speak with their wallets and stop purchasing these types of vehicles all together in a effort t to make the world a better and more attractive place.
I invite you to watch it with the following short film titled “Desert Nemesis” featuring a fictional story involving the Juke-R, some of the world’s most popular supercars.