The Nissan Juke is no longer available in North America where it was replaced by the more affordable and conventionally-looking Kicks in 2019. In Europe, however, the quirky crossover is selling in solid numbers and the automaker is now expanding its engine range with a brand new hybrid powertrain. It will be on sale starting this summer when the Qashqai Hybrid will also hit the showrooms.
Whereas in the electrified Qashqai a 1.5-liter engine generates electric energy for the electric motors and at no point drives the wheels directly, in the Juke Hybrid, there’s a new 1.6-liter gas unit working in tandem with two electric motors. The combustion engine generates 94 horsepower (69 kilowatts) and is supported by a 49-hp (36-kW) electric motor, another 20-hp (15-kW) starter-generator, and a 1.2-kWh battery pack.
Gallery: Nissan Juke Hybrid
The system switches between different regimes, including series, parallel, and series-parallel hybrid, to optimize the efficiency of the powertrain. Despite the very small battery, Nissan claims its test drivers have managed to achieve up to 80 percent drive in EV mode in cities. The Juke Hybrid starts in 100 percent electric mode and can reach speeds of up to 34 miles per hour (55 kilometers per hour).
Possibly the most interesting component of the Juke Hybrid’s powertrain is its transmission. It’s a low-friction automatic gearbox that uses dog clutches instead of conventional synchronizer rings. Nissan says the transmission can shift between four ICE gears and two EV gears, and there’s no actual clutch. Instead, the two electric motors in combination synchronize the gears, delivering “a smooth, connected, and responsive acceleration.” Nissan explains, behind the wheel, the entire hybrid system feels almost like driving an electric vehicle.
Visually, you’ll have a hard time differentiating the hybrid Juke from the regular combustion models. The only little differences include the new radiator grille with smaller air openings, a new lower bumper section for improved aerodynamics, and a re-profiled rear spoiler.