Nissan announced an upcoming face-and-asslift for the Juke, and I'm not going to lie, I'm nervous. Unusual looking cars tend to be endangered species; when a car that manages to be unique gets a little bit of controversy or blowback, the first facelift usually spells doom for what made the car cool. I hope Nissan has some nads.
Even if our friends at Nissan disappoint us by proving themselves nadless, they can at least find consolation in the fact that almost every other manufacturer has taken similar cowardly roads before. Take Fiat, for example, and their resurrected Multipla from 1998.
Lots of people found this car ugly. Lots. Personally, I love it — I don't think it's exactly beautiful, but I think it looks really interesting and engaging, and it sure as hell gets my attention. Put a row of 20 silver people movers from every manufacturer you can get in a parking lot with one of these, and I guarantee you the Multipla would be the only one you'd remember.
The double-decker bubble look with those lights below the windshield made the car something beyond a normal minivan. It felt a little strange and futuristic, something genuinely new.
And then, in 2004, they ruined it all. The facelift of the Multipla was done to make it more appealing to a wider variety of consumers, which I understand, technically, but the end result was something as anonymous and bland as anything around it. Park facelifted 2004-2010 Multipla by a school and creepily give out free candy, because why not? Nobody's going to be able to ID what you're driving anyway, because it may as well be a Honda or a Kia or a big Whogivesashit LXi.
The original Juke has lots of the same strange appeal as that Multipla — it's odd, it can be jarring, but it's sure as hell memorable and most importantly, it looks intentional. It doesn't feel like something that just happened after averaging the results of a crapload of focus groups, it looks like a vision realized.
So, Nissan, if you're reading this, I really, really hope you're not planning on grafting on some boring-ass corporate front end with that dippy squared-boomerang chrome grille and dooming the Juke to anonymity. You took the chance before, so I'm hoping you'll be doubling down, and I'll be looking for external pod-mounted lights and a grille with asymmetric trapezoidal air slots. Or something.
Come on, Nissan. Keep the Juke weird.