Nissan relishes a motorsport challenge, and the more challenging the better. But a Juke rally car? Isn’t that taking things too far?
Fear not, the baby crossover with the Marmite looks is not migrating from suburbia to parc ferme just yet. Fifty-one years ago, Nissan cleaned up in the East African Rally with a competition version of the 240Z coupe, but the Juke has no plans to emulate that feat.
Nissan’s latest is, however, intended as a tribute to that car. Hence the name: Nissan Juke Hybrid Rally Tribute. Yes, the connection is a bit tenuous. After all it takes more than just fat arches, skid plates, long travel suspension, extra lights and a roll cage to make a rally contender. Still, it’s a bit of fun and it looks the part. Sort of.
The most important word in its name is: Hybrid. Under that black bonnet is the drivetrain from the upcoming Juke Hybrid arriving here in the summer of 2022. Nope, the new powertrain won’t make it a rally winner either, but Nissan hopes it will make it a winner in the showrooms.
And it should be a more spirited performer, with Nissan saying the new hybrid powertrain will provide 25 per cent more power than the current petrol engine. It’s all a bit complicated though: a petrol motor with 94PS (69kW) working with an electric motor with 49PS (36kW) and supplemented by a 15kW contribution from a high voltage starter generator, all delivered to the road via four ICE gears and two EV gears, with algorithms managing the shift points. Try sorting that lot out in the middle of the night in a Welsh forest.