One of the biggest complaints people have about modern cars? They all look the same. And for folks who don’t live and breathe everything automotive, it’s an easy gripe to understand. But like everything else, there are exceptions, and we’re about to look at two of them. Because even from a football field away, even the most novice automotive observer will be able to identify the Nissan Juke and the FIAT 500X.
Sure, the styling might be polarizing, but these two vehicles look like nothing else on the road. And in this homogenized era, that counts for a lot. So while some might feel they’re a little too brash or wacky, that’s just another factor which makes either one a great choice for those buyers looking to stand out from the crowd. Let’s take a look at how these two unique rides stack up.
2017 Nissan Juke vs. 2017 FIAT 500X Exterior Comparison
It’s safe to says there’s a lot going on with the Nissan Juke. The two sets of headlights — modern gun slit style up top, traditional round ones below — lend it an almost rally car feel, and the flared fenders give the front fascia a decidedly aggressive look. Out back, it’s got the hips of a sexy sports coupe, and the positioning of the wheels — they’re at the very edge of the body on each corner — also contribute to the rally look. This car loves bold colors.
The general shape of the 500X will be familiar to anyone who’s seen it’s smaller cousin the 500, but the addition doors and slightly raised ride height make it look like the little city car went away to college and started hitting the gym. The black cladding over the wheel wells — which is carried along the bottom of the bottom — makes it look ready for the sloppy stuff, and the overall aesthetic reminds us of how well-dressed Italians can pull of wild combinations of colors and patterns. As in it shouldn’t work, but it does.
2017 Nissan Juke vs. 2017 FIAT 500X Interior Comparison
For all of its wild exterior styling cues, the interior of the Nissan Juke is actually relatively traditional. The layout of the center stack is clean and straightforward, though the vents on each side of the touch screen arguably make it a little busy. The body-colored center console adds some nice flair to the cabin, as does the contrasting stitching on the well-bolstered seats. The three-spoke steering wheel is a great design, and lends a sporty feel to the environs.
The 500X also carries over its exterior color into the cabin by way of an accent piece on the dash, and the effect is particularly potent when paired with matching upholstery. The three dials beneath the touch screen contribute to the purposeful feel of the controls, and taller drivers will be impressed with how much room the — relatively small — crossover has inside. If we had to pick, we’d opt for FIAT’s chocolate brown interior with white piping — it just looks so very Italian.
2017 Nissan Juke vs. 2017 FIAT 500X Performance Comparison
The Juke is powered by a 1.6-liter turbo four-cylinder which puts out 188 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque, and with a curb weight of around 3200 pounds, that means a zero-to-60 time of around seven seconds. While the power figures are hardly earth-shattering, the generous torque curve — all the twist is available starting at just 1600 rpm — means it will feel faster than it is. The optional all-wheel drive system, which can split power 50/50 between the front and rear axles means confidence in corners.
Like its Japanese competitor, the 500X can be had in both front wheel- and all-wheel drive versions. There’s also a choice of either a turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-four with 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque or a beefier, naturally aspirated 2.4-liter four-cylinder good for 180-horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. While the power figures are similar to the Juke’s, it’s slower zero to 60 in both trims, as it takes 8.7 with AWD and 7.8 in the FWD model. But the roomier interior is likely to help drivers overlook during routine jaunts.
2017 Nissan Juke vs. 2017 FIAT 500X Feature Comparison
The Juke is available only with a CVT automatic transmission, even though a proper still would let the car’s personality sparkle more. Base models are fairly sparse — as in a center armrest is optional — but a backup camera, Bluetooth connectivity and auxiliary audio input jack are standard. Creature comforts like leather and navigation are available starting with SL models, which are a significant jump from the base model’s MSRP.
Buyers looking for a third pedal will be pleased to see it’s an option with the 500x, though it’s available only on the base engine. Like many cars in this crowded segment, buyers will want to be judicious when selecting options, as checking boxes can quickly leave the starting price far in the rear view mirror. We’d recommend starting with the Popular Equipment package, which includes a 5.0-inch touch screen, a rear-view camera, and parking assist, then proceeding from there.
2017 Nissan Juke vs. 2017 FIAT 500X Overall Comparison
There’s no two ways about it — looks are going to mean a lot in this shootout. The Juke is unquestionably the bolder of the two, and offers punchier performance. Those looking for even more than the base engine can opt to jump up to the NISMO RS model and its 215 horsepower turbocharged powerplant, but of course, you’ve got to pay to play.
More reserved folks will likely want to opt for the restrained styling of the FIAT, which retains much of the 500 coupe’s cute-as-a-button appearance. Obviously, if you’re comparing these two vehicles, you’re going to want to swing through your local AutoNation dealer to experience each of them for yourself. Happy shopping!