The JUKE-R is very much one of those cars that you either love the concept and like the idea that Nissan want to build the ‘Ultimate Crossover‘, or you simply wonder why on earth they would want to spend all that money on a car that you can’t buy. Either way, when the GTROC was invited for a sneak preview of the car it was an opportunity we could not refuse.
For almost a week three members of the GTROC had to keep secret the location of the JUKE-R and where our meeting was to be. Along with the two Juke Owners Clubs we got a chance to see at first hand what all the fuss and noise was about and to find out what all those Youtube hits and column inches really looked like in the flesh.
Being a Friday lunchtime meant taking a day off work and finding the right people with good photographic skills and a technical background soon provided a very short list. Add to that the need to talk to NMGB about the project and to write up afterwards it soon fell to Jeff Ludgate, Paul Creed and John Fuggles to wave the flag for the GTROC; Paul having a two+ hour drive each way.
Nothing was left to chance as we met up in the local ‘greasy spoon’ for a briefing. The same place where we met afterwards to download all the photos. Thanks to our hosts then for the coffee and use of electricity as we set up our workstation after. Anyway, suitably refreshed, we set off for the two minute drive to NMGB and as soon as we drove in heads appeared at windows – something perhaps to do with Paul’s unfeasibly loud exhaust! The car was parked up next to another Juke and would later be joined by a GT-R. The sun shone, the air was crisp – just perfect for photographing the Juke-R
The JUKE-R is quite a complex car. It is NOT the top half of a JUKE on the bottom half of a GT-R. In truth it does carry all the running gear, engine, transmission, suspension, brakes, wheels and tyres of the GT-R topped off by a Nissan Juke body and interior but where the clever stuff comes in is in blending the two together – oh and making it all fit!
Simple solutions like using the Juke centre console but housing the MFM for the GT-R alongside the Juke dash binnacle housing the GT-R instruments all make the car look like it belongs as one car not two that ultimately bore it. The full cage makes the interior look purposeful, along with the aftermarket bucket seats – GT-R ones are two wide for the car once the cage is in. The air-con is in the boot but at least it’s still there. Having just come back from Dubai the car probably needed it and, even though huge sums of money were offered for the car by some of the well to do locals, Nissan was not parting with their Ultimate Crossover.
A lot of thought has gone into making the car look as if it was designed that way. The track width is the same as a GT-R and so extra flared arches have been added, along with some very well designed and sculpted side-skirts. The wheel-base itself is shorter. The suspension is standard MY10 GT-R which, somehow, neatly bolts into the Juke chassis. But somethings just could not be fitted neatly together. Take one look at the nose of a Juke and it doesn’t take a genius to work out a large V6 was never going to fit, no matter how hard you tried. As a result the dash is a full six inches further back in the cockpit, something that you would not know looking at the workmanship inside the cabin.
Although the rear doors don’t open and it has no launch control we still feel it really is the Ultimate Crossover. The matt black wrap and lower front splitter make it look menacing, as does the fact the car has been lowered by the use of the GT-R suspension. The V5 may say Juke but this is a whole lot more than that.
Not everything that was needed to bring this car to being could be found on the shelf. Engine mounts and other key assembly parts had to be specially designed, as did the exhaust. But, starting the car, it sounds every bit a GT-R perhaps with a slightly more aggressive rumble and a slightly rougher edge but certainly the note was all GT-R with only a hint of Juke.
Bringing these two cars together meant other work had to be done. The GT-R is a heavy car and the Juke is no lightweight. But take the heaviest part of a GT-R and add to it the heaviest part of a Juke and even with all plastic panels and plastic doors and it still comes in a full 50kg heavier than a standard Nissan GT-R. So a weighty lump to throw around then.
With the shorter wheelbase the car handles differently too. The only way to describe it is to say it’s like driving a GT-R on a very slippery road. Trying to keep the car straight takes a lot of work and even the recent trials by Lucas and Jann showed just how difficult that was. Sadly we never got to drive the car (this time) but one thing is for sure we all left wishing we had the chance to drive it, just a bit, not far, just a little.
Whatever you think of the idea of putting a Juke and a GT-R together you really have to take your hat off to Nissan for what they have achieved here. Not only does the car work but it really looks like a car all of its own and nothing like the marriage of two strangers. Sadly it will never go into production but one thing is for sure no-one else will be able to match the JUKE-R for the title Ultimate Crossover