Nissan Extrem concept: Brazil gets its own Juke

Nissan Extrem concept front three quarter viewWhat if you like the Nissan Juke, but don’t like the styling? Nissan may have a solution. The company unveiled a new concept car, the Extrem, at this week’s São Paulo Motor Show. Like the Juke, it’s a sporty runabout that combines elements of a coupe and crossover, but it looks completely different.

Make that different and smaller: the Extrem is 151.6 inches long, making it significantly shorter than the Juke, which measures 162.4 inches. Nonetheless, the Extrem shares the Juke’s 1.6-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine, along with a choice of front-wheel drive or torque-vectoring all-wheel drive.

Nissan says the Extrem is a 2+2, meaning the back seats are only fit for short trips or kid duty. Given the Juke’s relatively cramped quarters, and the fact that the Extrem is shorter, that seems about right. It might be better to think of the Extrem as a two-seater with some storage space behind the seats.

What really sets the concept Extrem apart from the production Juke is styling. The Juke has always been a polarizing car, and without a grinning face and cartoonish headlights, the Extrem looks oddly normal in comparison.

Normal is a relative term, of course. The Extrem’s 19-inch wheels look gigantic on such a small car, and the position of the taillights and resulting tiny backlight is, well, extreme. The roof rails look like they belong on a Mini Paceman, though.

The bottom line is that, for cars that are essentially the same mechanically, the Extrem and Juke couldn’t look more different. Where the Juke is bulbous and curvy, the Extrem is sharp and edgy. It is up to buyers to decide which approach is better.Nissan Extrem concept rear three quarter view

The Extrem was designed specifically for Brazil, but Nissan says it will appeal to the same types of people the Juke does in other markets.

“It was created to appeal to the country’s growing band of city-based young professionals who are passionate about design and want to make a personal statement. The lightweight two-door 2+2, has a dynamic stance, fresh surfacing, and a clear rugged ability to tackle the urban jungle everyday,” Nissan senior vice president and chief creative officer Shiro Nakamura said in a statement.

Despite having a production-ready engine and Nissan’s V platform (which also underpins the Cube and Leaf), the Extrem probably won’t see production. Like most concept cars, its mission is to set a precedent for future models with its outspoken styling.