What Nissan Is The "Most Nissan"?

Image credit: Nissan

Some of you might be familiar with the website "Japanese Nostalgic Car" which is a long-running blog focused on vintage Japanese vehicles. As you can expect the older versions of the Skyline GT-R, as well as other prominent classic Nissans, are often talked about there so I frequently check out their interesting posts.

Every week they have a little contest called "Question of the Week" - or QotW for short - where they query the readers and the most entertaining response gets a free set of JNC's cool stickers. Questions run the gamut from fairly mundane like "What's your oil change routine?" to weird ones that match current trends like "What car would Barbie drive if she went JDM?".

This past week the question they posed was "What Nissan model is the most Nissan?". Of course, yours truly had to get in on that action. I spent quite some time figuring out an appropriate answer and I'm happy to say they chose my response! While I wait for my snazzy stickers to arrive by snail mail I thought I'd share with you my winning comment:

It’s not a nostalgic (yet) but I volunteer the Nissan Juke. Why? Because it embodies so many of the great things about Nissan as well as the missteps it’s taken in its history.

When it first debuted as a concept it was called avant garde by the charitable and fugly by critics and few thought it would be a successful production car. Once it was a production car it sold like crack in Europe and did fairly well in other markets too. Typical Nissan, take a risk on a weird design and have it be a smashing success. It was also ahead of its time like many Nissan concepts.

Also typical Nissan though was the shortsighted decision to not sell the much-improved second-gen version in North America despite the insatiable appetite here for crossovers – a recurrent theme with Nissan in that the company has often failed to properly follow-up on its successes (for other examples see how badly they squandered their lead in EVs and how they wasted Infiniti’s potential).

The design was typical for many Nissans: polarizing. Whether its a Juke, GT-R, Cube, Murano, pike car, Rasheen, or any number of other Nissans you’ll see many haters but just as many or more who lust after them more than Sidney Sweeney in a Hooters uniform.

It had cool tech baked in like many Nissans – torque-vectoring AWD, a peppy turbo four, all the Nissan safety tech of the time – but Nissan let it languish without an update for too long, another repeated refrain for the company.

The Juke also got blessed with a Nismo version which was cool on its face but underwhelming in execution since it was mainly an appearance package with some suspension tuning and next-to-no power bump. Oh, and a performance pack that doesn’t let you get a manual with AWD – just FWD? Yeah Nismo, F that. Typical Nissan and Nismo – highs and lows all the damn time.

But then they went bonkers and built the Juke-R – an absolutely insane animal with twice the power of the stock Juke, a roll cage, and a price fit for only oil sheiks and drug lords. This from a company so typically conservative its top of the line performance car has been largely unchanged for two decades. Nissan isn’t immune to crazy sh*t though as witnessed by the hand-built 1st gen Silvia or the travesty that is the Murano CrossCabriolet.

And like many Nissans the Juke is destined for (cult?) classic status for its uniqueness.

Because the Juke encapsulates the highs and lows of the sometimes schizoprenic company it hails from I say its as Nissan a vehicle as you can get.

What do you think? Do you agree with my choice? Disagree? Or are you one of the people who want to kill the Juke with fire? Feel free to leave a comment below yourself!


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