This year's Tokyo Auto Show played host to the debut of a high-performance concept version of Nissan's funky Juke crossover. Dubbed the Juke Nismo Concept, the sporty SUV retains the Juke's unique styling, but offers increased engine performance, improved chassis tuning and a series of racy exterior and interior modifications from Nismo, Nissan's motorsports and performance division.

Juke fans looking for more power will immediately endear to the Juke Nismo's exterior styling, which features a host of modifications designed to give the crossover a sportier look. Upgrades include larger wheels, a lower front grille accented in red, flared fenders, red door mirrors and a sporty body kit on the crossover's rear bumper and sides.

Inside, the Juke's performance dial has also been turned up thanks a host of Nismo-designed accessories ranging from a thicker steering wheel to a race-inspired shifter knob, aluminum pedals and revised gauges. Other upgrades include uniquely-trimmed door panels and special leather bucket seats which are designed to provide extra support when cornering at high speed.

While the Juke's turbocharged four-cylinder engine was tuned slightly for extra power, the SUV's most functional performance upgrades come to its handling. According to Nissan, the regular Juke gained stiffer springs in its transformation to the Juke Nismo Concept, which - along with the new 19-inch wheels - allows for less body roll in hard turns and more grip when driving at the limit.

"The global sales success of Nissan Juke has proved beyond doubt that customers are looking for something different," said Andy Palmer, Nissan's executive vice president. "The Juke Nismo Concept takes that idea to the next level. It's energetic, distinctive and highly desirable."

While the Juke Nismo Concept stops short of the maniacal, 480-horsepower Juke-R Concept recently shown by Nissan, it still proves the automaker may see a high-performance following for the oddball SUV. As a result, we think the Nismo Juke has a very real chance of seeing production with a few minor changes - even though Nissan says it's just a concept.

See more Tokyo Auto Show news.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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