Special Coverage

New York Int’l Auto Show

Nissan North America Inc.’s all-new, wildly-styled, small cross/utility vehicle, the ’11 Juke, will offer only a direct-injected, turbocharged 1.6L 4-cyl. gasoline engine when it goes on sale this fall at U.S. Nissan dealers.

In Europe, Jukes also will be available with a non-turbocharged 1.6L engine, as well as a 1.5L diesel.

Nissan details the U.S.-spec CUV today on the eve of the New York auto show.

Based on the Qazana concept from last year’s Geneva auto show, the Juke offers “bold design” with a “powerful front-end treatment,” broad shoulders and large wheel arches, Nissan says.

In addition to the standard DI engine, the small CUV will offer as optional torque-vectoring all-wheel drive.

“Nissan has always been a company willing to stretch the envelope, to combine seemingly contradictory principles to make it work – such as ‘affordable’ and ‘performance,’” says Al Castignetti, vice president and general manager-Nissan Div., hinting at pricing that is expected to begin below $20,000.

Nissan believes the timing for the Juke to be perfect, as sales of small CUVs are “exploding.”

However, the Juke will be one of the smallest CUVs offered in the U.S. It will be positioned in the B-segment, along with Nissan’s own Cube, rather than the bigger C-segment, where the auto maker’s Rogue resides.

Derived from Nissan’s Versa/Tiida B-car, the Juke churns out more than 180 hp and 170 lb.-ft. (230 Nm) of torque from its 16-valve, DOHC aluminum-alloy engine. Nissan earlier said the same mill in the European Juke would make 187 hp.

The Juke will come with either Nissan’s Xtronic-brand continuously variable transmission with sport mode or a 6-speed manual.

The front-wheel-drive Juke incorporates an independent MacPherson strut front and torsion-beam rear suspension. AWD Jukes get a multi-link rear suspension, with all models boasting front and rear stabilizer bars.

Speed-sensing electric-power-assisted steering is standard, while braking is achieved with 4-wheel discs.

As with many new vehicles today, including Nissan’s Infiniti M, the Juke features a drive-mode selector, which the auto maker dubs I-CON for “integration control.” With I-CON, optional on the Juke, drivers can choose between normal, sport and eco modes. Each has unique throttle, steering and transmission settings.

Cloth upholstery is standard, as are a 6-way manual driver’s seat and AM/FM/CD audio system with steering-wheel controls, Bluetooth hands-free phone system and iPod interface. FWD models have an under-floor cargo storage area.

Options include leather seats, heated front seats, navigation, a rearview monitor, push-button start, satellite radio and a Rockford Fosgate audio system.

The Juke will be available in three trim levels: S, SV and SL, each with a choice of FWD or AWD. The 6-speed manual transmission is available only on FWD SL and SV grades.

The Juke is being assembled at Nissan’s Oppama, Japan, plant.