A few months ago we heard that Infiniti was planning to offer their own version of the popular children's cartoon character/car known as the Nissan Juke in China. Now a few teaser images have popped up that lend some credence to that rumor. Is this it? And if so... why?
As I said back in April, I'm not anti-Juke by any means. It's a funky car that stands out in the small crossover market for its fun driving dynamics as much as its, um, unusual looks. It's different, and that's why I like it. It's just not terribly attractive in the conventional sense. Or any sense.
According to China's Autohome and other sites where these images have popped up, the car might be called the Infiniti ESQ. It sports a new grille, 18-inch wheels, and what is clearly a Juke steering wheel and dash with the Infiniti badge.
I'm still a bit skeptical because that front badge is so unusual for Infiniti, as is the three-letter name; Infiniti recently switched to a nomenclature where all cars start with "Q" and all SUVs and crossovers start with "QX", so I'm not sure how this fits in.
The ESQ is either an oddity for the Chinese market, a kind of strange tuner special, or a weird knockoff of some sort. I guess we'll find out soon.
Update: An Infiniti spokesman just confirmed to Jalopnik that the ESQ will, in fact, be China's Infiniti version of the Juke. It's the real deal. It's based on the Juke Nismo and is a China-only project.