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First Look: Nissan Juke Crossover

The latest econobox with a funky and a tad exaggerated look.

by on Feb.10, 2010

Alternative or more of mainstream same?

Nissan North America, Inc. (NNA) today confirmed that an all-new small crossover SUV, the Nissan Juke, will join the Nissan lineup in the United States in the fall 2010.

A European version of the Juke subcompact was revealed to the media at the Chicago Auto Show today.

Juke will make its global public debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March. The North American version of Juke is scheduled to debut at the New York Auto Show in late March.

The compact Juke, said to be inspired by the Nissan Qazana concept car that debuted to as I recall mixed reviews at Geneva in 2009, is supposed to give customers a sporty crossover alternative to traditional small hatchback vehicles.

In North America, Juke complements other  Nissan crossovers — including the Nissan Murano and Rogue.

The usual claims for both “dynamic” styling and an “exhilarating” driving experience were made about the Juke.

Pricing will be keyhere as all makers need to sell unnatural amounts of small cars to meet impending 35.5 mpg CAFE regulations.

Nonetheless the new Juke (econo) box does have good stance, the now almost expected high waistline, and complex curves, which define the segment.

Whether it has a “coupe-like profile” we leave for you to decide, and — as always — our comments section is open for polite discussion.

The interior design has a wide center console that is said to take its inspiration from a motorcycle fuel tank.

Heard that before, too.

First Look: 2011 Honda Odyssey

Improved minivan functionality meets the latest styling quirks.

by on Feb.10, 2010

The never ending quest to call a box something other than it really is, and needs to be.

Honda unveiled a new “concept” vehicle at the Chicago Auto Show today that shows what the fourth generation Honda Odyssey will look like when it reaches the market next fall as a 2011 model.

The “concept”  has gone through a top to bottom redesign that attempts to move the appearance of the vehicle away from the boxy configuration that has defined the segment since the first Chrysler minivan rolled out back in the last century. And this is not the first time, nor is Honda the first company to claim its box isn’t.

“The common feedback that we received from our customers on the current generation Odyssey was that while tops in its class with great functionality, drivability and performance it was still bit too boxy and to generic in appearance – especially in its profile view,” said Catalin Matei, the head designer on the project.

“With the styling embodied in the concept, we are presenting a dramatically more distinctive and dynamic Odyssey, separating it from other minivans and giving it more personality,” he claimed.

“The new Odyssey is marked by an aerodynamic, cab-forward body with a tapered rear cabin, directional character lines and an athletic stance,” Matei said.

This translates we think, once you get past the styling babble, to a slightly lower height, wider body, better wheel-to-body proportions, pronounced shoulders and wheel flares.

Three child seats- lord help the parents - can now fit in the second row.

Matai also said the next Odyssey will include a second row that can now handle three child seats.

The fuel economy also has been improved so the new Odyssey with a V6 will get 19 miles per gallon in the city and 28 miles per gallon on the highway. The current numbers for a V6-equipped Odyssey are 17 city and 25 mpg on the highway.

Currently in its third generation, the Odyssey has been America’s best-selling minivan since 2008 with calendar-year sales of 135,493 and 100,133 for 2009.

Odyssey is produced  in Alabama by Honda Manufacturing of Alabama (using domestic and globally sourced parts).

Both the concept and production vehicles, along with all development of the 2011 Odyssey, are being performed at Honda R&D Americas in Torrance, California, and Raymond, Ohio.