The Juke's unusual exterior styling has been described as froglike, but it at least proves that not all small cars need to look the same. Nissan says the Juke's foglight design was inspired by rally cars, the center console by a motorcycle fuel tank, and the taillights by those of the 370Z sports car. The idea for the Juke is to blend the benefits of a crossover (ride height, all-wheel-drive capability) with the fun aspects of a sports car (responsive engine, engaging handling). The interior is surprisingly commodious for such a compact vehicle, with seating for five and rear seats that fold completely flat to improve cargo capacity. The turbocharged, direct-injected 1.6-liter in-line four-cylinder engine provides punchy acceleration but still returns decent fuel economy. It can be mated to a six-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable transmission in front-wheel-drive Jukes, whereas the all-wheel-drive model comes exclusively with the CVT. The Juke is no sports car, but it is far more interesting than the economy cars on which it is based. Minimal body roll and accurate steering make the Juke fun to throw around corners, and its brakes are similarly able to cope with enthusiastic driving. All-wheel-drive models use an independent rear suspension and a torque-vectoring rear differential, which distributes torque between the two rear wheels to improve cornering performance. The Juke is a unique compact crossover that is both practical and enjoyable to drive--but its quirky styling is definitely not for everyone.
Drive: Front-wheel, 4-wheel
Trim levels: S, SV, SL
Body style: SUV/crossover, 5-passenger
Engine: 1.6L turbo I-4, 188 hp, 177 lb-ft
Transmissions: 6-speed manual, continuously variable
Passenger volume: 85.4-86.7 cu ft
Cargo space: (rear seats up/down) 10.5/35.9 cu ft
The Nissan Juke was introduced for 2011 and is unchanged for 2012.
Front, side, and side curtain air bags are standard, as are stability control, traction control, ABS with brake assist, and a tire-pressure monitoring system.
EPA Fuel Economy
All: 25-27 mpg city/30-31 mpg highway
- Responsive turbo engine
- Surprisingly fun to drive
- Cool interior design
You Won't Like
- Polarizing styling
- Some torque steer
- Poor rearward visibility
Quirky to look at but great to drive.
If You Like This Vehicle
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- Scion xD