YOKOHAMA, Japan -- Nissan says the high-fendered Juke crossover that arrives in U.S. showrooms this fall is aimed at small-sedan and -hatchback shoppers seeking a sporty alternative.
"The intent is to create a new segment," COO Toshiyuki Shiga said at the Juke's Japan launch last week. The goal: combining the power of an SUV with the agility of a sports car.
In Japan, the Juke starts at ¥1.69 million, or $18,480 at current exchange rates.
Satoshi Matsutomi, the chief engineer, said the Juke will aim for a slightly higher price range in the United States but still be positioned below the Rogue crossover.
The Rogue starts at $21,260, including delivery, in the United States.
Matsutomi said the Juke -- which is about the same size as the Nissan Versa small car -- is seen as going head-to-head with the Mazda3 sports version and the Mini Cooper S. Nissan did not announce U.S. pricing or sales expectations.
The vehicle will be exported to the United States from Nissan's Oppama, Japan, plant, where its platform mates, the Cube and Note, also are made.
The Juke is the first Nissan to get the company's dual-fuel injector technology, which was announced last year. The system uses two injectors per cylinder -- allowing fuel to flow in reduced streams under less pressure. Nissan says it improves power and efficiency.
Nissan didn't give the Juke's U.S. fuel-economy rating. But it has said dual-fuel injector technology boosts mileage by 4 percent compared with single-injector engines.
The U.S. version will get a 1.6-liter, direct-injection, gasoline turbo-charged engine. It will be offered as either a two-wheel- or four-wheel-drive package.