The design of the Nissan Juke loosely began in London in 2004 with the Qashqai, the carmaker's town-and-around crossover.
Nissan Europe design director Paul Garside and his team in suburban Paddington were looking at penning an urban concept.
"We were doing research and found that of all the cars registered in London, only 14 per cent were four-wheel-drive SUVs," he said.
"That told us something very clearly - London didn't need four-wheel-drives. What the consumer was craving was the cues of an SUV.
"So we took the cues - the high seating, the robustness and the things that went with that - and tried to shrink them down into a footprint that was much more urban."
The resulting Qashqai has been the "saviour for Nissan", says Garside.
"It's been a terrific success, not just for Nissan but for Nissan UK, because it was designed, engineered and built in Britain."
Development of the Juke took a different route. The concept was penned by Garside and his team, and then sent to Japan to be tossed around by about 600 designers.
Qashqai had an influence on the design of the Juke on the basis that Qashqai was a successful formula," said Garside.
"But we had to make sure that Juke was successful in its own right, that it didn't cannibalise Qashqai.
"So we pushed Juke more towards a sports theme. Everything has paid off for us."
The five-door small hatchback/crossover is powered by a 1.6-litre with an auto CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) and comes with ESP, ABS, keyless entry, Bluetooth and 16-inch tyres. Priced from $31,990, it gained a five-star Euro NCAP rating.
When it comes to the driving experience, Juke's styling may be its own worst enemy. You'll perhaps be pumped up to expect something special in the performance, ride and handling departments.
After all, how many cars have a centre console styled after a sleek and powerful motorbike?
But on the road, it's all fairly ordinary. At least, it is on first impressions. The Juke is a car whose appeal grows as you drive it and begin to appreciate things like its compliant, long travel suspension and a Sport mode that really does add urgency to its performance.
Late last year Driven took a New Zealand-spec Juke from the factory in Sunderland to Edinburgh, a trip planned as a scenic backroad ramble which turned into a major mission as unexpected rain, sleet and hail lashed the narrow, winding roads.
A couple of hundred fairly challenging kilometres later, I had developed respect for the latest member of Nissan New Zealand's line-up. More than that, I was glad we'd been in a Juke, rather than some others. It hung on to the wet roads well and wasn't noisy even at highway speeds or on harsher surfaces. The Ti rides on 17-inch rims with 215/55 tyres. Handling was precise, and confident - its wide stance really helped in the corners. But steering-wheel feel was too vague for my liking.
It's a competent performer, with a 1.6-litre engine with 86kW and 158Nm of torque, driving through a CVT transmission. While the Sport mode gives it that sense of urgency, a more relaxed Eco mode is available for the best fuel consumption. Its official overall rating is 6.3 litres per 100km and CO2 output of 145g/km.
Meanwhile, a screen shows such information as torque distribution, or g-force when cornering. This display is said to be a first in the small-car segment - but do buyers of a car like this really want to know?