In little under a year, the Nissan Juke - the first B-segment Crossover - has firmly stamped its authority on the European market. Accounting for more than 60 percent of global sales of the model, Juke in Europe has claimed a +2 per cent market share from a standing start.
More than 120,000 examples have been built to date at Nissan's plant in Sunderland in the north of England for delivery to many corners of the globe, and by the end of August European sales stood at 99,713. Just as Qashqai did in the C-segment before it, Juke has blazed a trail through a previously conservative market segment.
Combining excitement and genuine innovation in one stylish, uncompromising package, Juke is celebrating its first birthday with the launch of a unique special edition.
Called Kuro - the Japanese word for black - and based on Tekna grade, it has bold black features which either contrast with or harmonise with two metallic colours: the striking Force Red or dramatic Metallic Black exterior colour.
In its ultimate version, the black door mirrors and handles and the mean 17inch gloss black alloy wheels are matched by Kuro's potent DIG-T turbocharged direct injection petrol engine and Juke's sure-footed four-wheel drive chassis.
With 190PS on offer and an advanced chassis featuring ALL-MODE 4x4-i, the latest development of Nissan's respected electronic all-wheel drive system, Juke Kuro benefits from torque-vectoring technology, a sports cornering system that enhances agility and reduces understeer when cornering.
Nissan Juke Kuro is based on the top Tekna grade which means standard equipment includes leather upholstery, Nissan Dynamic Control System which gives the driver the chance to optimise the car's dynamic functions, Nissan Connect infotainment system with satellite navigation, colour reversing camera, climate control, Intelligent key, rain sensing wipers and automatic lighting.
It is available across all three engine options: one diesel and two 1.6-litre petrol units. At the top of the range is the turbocharged petrol engine with direct injection (DIG-T), developing 190PS. The second petrol unit develops 117 PS while the 1.5 dCi common rail diesel has 110PS.
"Distinctive, innovative, responsive and fun to drive... it's little wonder Juke has proved to be an instant hit. Juke Kuro spices things up a little further and with only 2,800 examples available across the whole of Europe it is certain to sell out quickly," said Guillaume Cartier, Vice President of Sales for Europe.
The arrival of Juke Kuro coincides with two significant announcements for the rest of the range. Changes to the final drive ratio of the normally aspirated petrol and the diesel models have reduced emissions and enhanced refinement by lowering noise levels without affecting the lively acceleration of either car. Emissions from the manual version of the 1.6 Juke drop from 147g/km to 139g/km, while the diesel manual tumbles from 134g/km to 129g/km.
Importantly, the new CO2 figure for the diesel allows it to retain its PURE DRIVE badge. Initially the badge was placed on all Nissan vehicles that produced CO2 emissions of 140g/km or lower, but to show this is an on-going programme, that target has been lowered to 130g/km in 2011/12 and will reduce further, to 120g/km, in 2013/14.
The second announcement is that from October production onwards all 4wd versions of Juke for sale in Europe will be built at Sunderland alongside the 2wd models. Until now, Juke 4wd models have been imported to Europe from Japan while all 2wd models sold in Europe were built in Europe.
However, increasing demand for the dynamic safety offered by all-wheel drive means that the time spent shipping the car from Japan was no longer acceptable.
"It's all good news for Nissan in Europe, as we are best placed to satisfy the excitement and demand created by Juke," said Guillaume Cartier. "By starting European production of 4wd versions in October, we will ensure supply levels to satisfy the needs of the growing European market.
"The success of Juke, which mirrors that of Qashqai, proves that customers are fed up with the conventional and acknowledge Nissan's leadership when it comes to something more adventurous, more innovative and more exciting," he added.