Call it a CUV, a subcompact crossover, or a small SUV, whatever name you choose one thing is clear – the the segment is blossoming and is projected to flourish. Currently, the CUV segment accounts for about 11 per cent of the U.S. car market, more than doubling in size over the past decade. In fact, the small crossover market is now the fourth most popular segment, right behind midsize and compact sedans, and then trucks.
Automakers watching the sales boom from the sidelines are keen to get in on the action. Chevrolet recently launched the 2015 Chevrolet Trax in the U.S., while the Lexus NX, Lincoln MKC and Mercedes-Benz GLA have recently joined the higher-end of the spectrum. Plus, with the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3, Fiat 500X, and Jeep Renegade all scheduled to arrive between now and later this year, meaning a large batch of OEMs are hoping to get their own share of the young market.
But before the new breed of CUVs arrive, the folks over at AutoGuide decided to see how the Trax and the Nissan Juke, a market veteran, stack up against one another. So, who came out on top?
AG reflected that the 2015 Trax, arguably a pretty conservative styling effort, looks very neutral beside the quirky Juke, which looks otherworldly in comparison. The Juke also offers nav, a proximity key, 360 degree cameras, real leather seats and a secondary screen whereas the Trax countered with automatic headlights, a power driver’s seat, telescopic steering wheel, OnStar 4G LTE WiFi and a remote starter; both offered similar value for money.
But point by point, neither one really trounced the other. The Trax offers a more voluminous trunk (18.7 cubic feet vs. 10.5) but the Juke counters with 188hp versus the Trax’ anemic 138hp. The Trax achieved 27.7 MPG in real-world driving while the Juke actually topped its stated fuel economy and returned a very healthy 33.1 MPG. Then the Trax offered better suspension, while the Juke handled steering inputs more crisply.
In the end, AutoGuide called it more or less a draw, and said buyers should hold out for a few months until the segment fills out, though we don’t mind the first efforts currently available.