'Performance' crossovers gain more ground

PHers of a nervous disposition look away now - what we have here are two new additions to the sporty crossover genre, neither of which is likely to win any beauty contests. You've got to wonder too, given that the typical entry to this market is little more than a glorified hatchback with a raised centre of gravity. Garnish with chunky plastic bits to give the unrealistic impression it can handle Snowdonia on a grizzly day. Serve with a lingering bouquet of cynicism. Et voila, you've created your very own crossover.

218hp and 4wd: enough to make you want one?
218hp and 4wd: enough to make you want one?
Despite all this, both Mini and Nissan reckon theirs might just have what it takes to pass as hot hatches. Mini has just announced that the Paceman, its tall three-door hatch (or Sports Activity Coupe, in Mini-speak) will gain a John Cooper Works edition. It'll join the JCW Countryman - its five-door equivalent - in a two-pronged attempt to bring a bit of performance car cred to the crossover genre. Like its sibling, the JCW Paceman will be fitted with a 218hp 1.6-litre that'll feature a twin-scroll turbo, direct injection and variable valve timing. I'll also get Mini's ALL4 four-wheel-drive system as standard and a six-speed manual gearbox. So, assuming Mini manages to work its usual magic on the chassis and steering, it has the potential to be rather good. If you can live with the slightly wonky styling, of course.

Well, it is different, at least.
Well, it is different, at least.
Well, it is different, at least. While the bods at Mini have been busy giving the Paceman some more pace, Nissan has announced pricing for its new Juke Nismo. The Juke is ... well, let's be kind here and call its styling 'a bit Marmite'. The Nismo version certainly hasn't softened up any of the base car's quirkiness, either, with a GT-R-esque front bumper and a socking great faux diffuser at the rear. Like the Paceman, the Juke Nismo comes with a 1.6-litre petrol turbo, here offering 200hp, but unlike the Paceman, you won't be able to buy it as a four-wheel drive manual. Instead, somewhat disappointingly, you can opt for a two-wheel drive manual or a four-wheel drive with a CVT 'box. Oh. Well, at least it'll be quite racy inside, with lashings of suede and Alcantara and special Nismo sports seats. And at £19,995, it won't break the bank. Mind you, with the Focus ST giving you 50hp more for just £2,000 extra, it's not exactly a bargain, either

Hark, is that the sound of knives being sharpened?




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Comments (103) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Chr1sch 21 Dec 2012

    I've ranted enough about Jukes but feel qualified to comment as we have a DigT 1.6 Turbo version at the mOment.

    One word DON'T they're crap, they simply don't handle the power and cheap and nasty once you get over the quirky bits...

  • Some Gump 21 Dec 2012

    Diffusers - what gives? On a 458 they look greqt, but wtf with putting one on a fiesta, juke whatever? Just looks daft imo..

  • CliveM 21 Dec 2012

    GroundEffect said:
    What a load of bks. See, I haven't seen what you drive but I think knob when I read your post. For more substantial reasons.

    Funny that.
    Which bit, the "each to their own" or the bit where I (god forbid on a forum) state my own view?

    People, even you (!), make judgements based on appearance every second of every day. Why should cars be any different?

  • dukebox9reg 20 Dec 2012

    That's not really surprising though when Mini push all their wheels right into the corners of their car and to put it simply the original Rangie didn't. Back to the A3 comment though.

    A3 Sportback 2tsi Quattro/ Countryman Cooper s all4
    Length 4286mm/ 4110mm

    Height 1423mm/ 1561mm

    Width 1959mm/ 1789mm

    Weight 1470kg/ 1380kg

    Power 197bhp/ 182bhp

    Luggage 350Ltrs/ 350ltrs

    So is smaller (though taller) and lighter than an ish equivalent Audi A3 with the same amount of practicality. Just thought i'd say.

  • Chris71 20 Dec 2012

    doogz said:
    It's shorter than an A3, it's not that big.
    Random fact of the day, a MINI Clubman has the same wheelbase as the original Range Rover. smile

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