By on August 25, 2010

Because car enthusiasts tend to be more interested in cars themselves than the industry that creates them, critics and commentators tend to praise engineers while vilifying accountants, marketers and the countless other professions required to bring a new car to production. The assumption seems to be that engineers develop great cars which are then cheapened, blandified and otherwise screwed up by everyone else. Obviously this is an oversimplified perspective, but in certain cases it’s downright undeniable. Rarely has it been more true than with the Nissan Juke.

Now I know what you’re thinking: the villain of project Juke was the legally-blind eldritch abomination who styled it. Having read initial reactions to the Juke’s styling (and yes, even fanned the flames a bit), it’s clear that the “design issue” dominates perceptions of Nissan’s B-Segment “crossunder” (or, to use Nissan-approved language, “SportCross”). The good news is that, as is becoming increasingly common for new cars, the design works far better in three dimensions than two.

A weird mix of coupe and crossover, the Juke mashes a number of Nissan design cues into a crazed pastiche: the swollen wheel arches and elongated turn signal lights of the Leaf, the rounded rear hatch of the Infiniti crossovers, the 370Z’s tail lights (with a dash of Volvo C30 mixed in) and the Z-meets-Kia Soul greenhouse actually combine for a look that is utterly distinctive, and not entirely unpleasant.

Only the front end remains truly challenging in person, with Nissan-consistent turn signal lights fighting for attention with the protruding, nostril-like round headlights. A more brand-consistent front end end might have broadened the Juke’s appeal in this country, but on the other hand, anonymity kills in the under-publicized subcompact crossover segment (see: Suzuki SX4). But even forgetting the fact that aesthetics are an obviously subjective matter, it simply wouldn’t be fair to blame the Juke’s designers for ruining the car.

That’s because Nissan’s product-planning and market-research teams had fundamentally hurt the Juke before a single stylist had the chance to touch it. According to Nissan’s reps, the Juke was developed with a very specific market in mind: 18-34 year-old males making $45k+, or as Nissan calls them, “Urban Experience Seekers.” This focus is what allowed the daring exterior design, but more importantly it clearly led the development team to emphasize style over substance on nearly every key decision.

This is most clear in the Juke’s packaging, which scrupulously avoids any hint of practicality. The concealed rear door handles lend the Juke a surprisingly coupe-like look, but they also hint at the rear bench’s coupe-like appointments. Knee and headroom are severely constrained for anyone approaching the six-foot mark, and claustrophobes of any size need not apply. Between the pinched-off greenhouse, and a moonroof (standard starting at the midlevel “SV” trim) that brings the headliner even lower (before terminating a few inches from the rear passenger’s forehead), the Juke’s back seat is a dark, unhappy place. Since the rear seats don’t fold flat, and cargo room under the hatch is limited, the Juke clearly wasn’t developed to be used like a real crossover.

Nor was the Juke designed to make good on its lifted, SUV-inspired pretensions. Nissan didn’t provide any opportunity to test the Juke on anything more extreme than rough tarmac, and the PR reps gently fended off inquiries about the Juke’s capability on rough terrain by emphasizing its mission as a “urban crossover.” And with good reason: the black plastic faux-skidplate on the Juke’s nose might look like it’s designed to improve the approach angle, but in reality it merely conceals (rather than protects) a low-hanging radiator that would be immensely vulnerable in even a rock-strewn dirt road scenario. Moreover, Nissan makes no off-tarmac claims about its torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system, focusing instead on its “enhanced agility” and ability to reduce understeer in on-road cornering.

With its pretensions of crossover practicality and SUV ability stripped away, the Juke’s remaining identity is as a slightly-practical sports coupe with a high seating position, and on this level it works far better than you could possibly expect. Yes Virginia, under the Juke’s shock-factor styling and layers of what can only be properly described as marketing bullshit, Nissan’s engineers have built a truly remarkable little car.

Starting with the platform that underpins the Nissan Versa (a car that precisely nobody praises for its dynamic abilities), Nissan’s engineers widened the track by a full three inches, and were rewarded with a chunky, chuckable little car that is way more entertaining than it has any right to be. Despite the jacked-up bulk required to keep Urban Experience Seekers from feeling like they’re driving something more than a mere car (in AWD/CVT trim it’s a 3,000 lb B-segment car), body roll is practically nonexistent. Though steering is on the light side by enthusiast standards, it’s still sensitive and precise. Using a small steering wheel from the elevated “command-style” driver’s seat lends the Juke a distinctive feel in enthusiastic driving that’s entertaining in a wholly unserious way. Imagine a cross between a MINI and a Subaru Forester XT, and you’re getting the picture.

But if the Juke’s chassis is merely better than you’d expect, its standard 1.6 liter, direct-injected turbocharged four-cylinder engine is without question the single best reason to ignore all of the Urban Experience Seeker twaddle and drive the peculiar little Nissan. Making 188 hp and 177 lb-ft, this little cracker of an engine fizzes with brio and motivates the Juke with aplomb. Turbo lag is minimal, although it’s enough to slow standing launches noticeably. But in return for that sacrifice, a carefully-driven Juke should easily return the 25/30 MPG it’s rated at in its thirstiest trim. Besides, in-gear acceleration is a far more important real-world attribute, and the Juke happily pushes through all six (manual) gears with an infectious, mechanical, zinging whine. If downsized, direct-injected, turbocharged engines are the future (and they are), the Juke’s feisty mill is cause for optimism.

So too is the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), which holds its simulated gears with tenacity (particularly in “Sport” mode), keeping the engine’s delightful boost at a constant state of readiness. Once the enemy of enthusiasm (and in underpowered applications like the Cube, it’s still a burden), the CVT’s electronic brains have been well-refined, and it’s an unobtrusive but intuitive partner in any kind of driving style. Which is a very good thing, considering the AWD system (a $1k upgrade) also requires the rubber-band-box (a $500 option). On the other hand, the AWD’s advantages were hardly noticeable even on rough sections of British Columbian back roads, and its extra weight and elimination of under-floor storage in the cargo area count against it.

Given the Juke’s sporting style, it’s tough to recommend anything other than the front-drive, manual transmission drivetrain. Neither torque steer nor understeer is a serious issue in the Juke, and caning the fizzy little engine through six manual ratios is pure pleasure. Like its off-road pretensions and willful styling, the AWD option seems to exist solely to satisfy the subjective wants of Urban Experience Seekers rather than to actually make the Juke a better car. And given its shortcomings in terms of practicality, the extra storage space in FWD models is likely to be used more often than any AWD advantage. Still, the Juke’s abundant driving character comes through in all of its drivetrain configurations.

Base “S” trim Jukes start at $18,960 (plus $750 destination charge), but are available only with the CVT transmission. Though hardly cheap, these models are quite well-equipped, offering iPod/Bluetooth connectivity, a grip of airbags, stability and traction control and a number of other increasingly-common features.

The mid-level “SV” trim adds all of the really worthwhile features like keyless starting, automatic climate control, moonroof, USB iPod control, moonroof and improved steering wheel and upholstery materials. It also adds Nissan’s I-CON system which integrates climate and dynamic controls into a single unit which switches modes and button functions at the push of a button. Though at first it seems like an Urban Experience-related gimmick, the system works on functional, aesthetic and sensible gee-whiz levels. The “SL” trim adds more luxury touches like heated leather front seats and navigation, but we’d spend our hard-earned on the SV-trim FWD version with manual transmission for $20,260 ($200 less than an AWD “S” model).

The Juke’s interior is perhaps a little disappointing at that price point, with lots of mid-grade black plastic that’s been moderately well-assembled. The I-CON system’s knobs are the biggest quality problem inside, as they feel like they’re barely attached to the unit. The instrument panel itself is finished in a piano-black material that adds some needed quality, although navi-equipped models use a head unit that doesn’t match it, ironically making SL-spec interiors look less well-finished. Other questionable Urban Experience interior features include a gearshift surround finished in high-gloss paint that’s said to be motorcycle inspired (for some unexplained reason) and garish chrome door handles. Otherwise, there’s little to complain about.

On the whole, the Juke reinforces the cult of the automotive engineer as much as it reinforces the widely-held belief that automotive marketers are good at screwing up a good thing. Without the marketers, it’s tempting to believe that Nissan’s engineers would have widened the Versa platform, added the fantastic turbocharged engine, and then decided to simply put a steroidal Versa body on top, creating the king of all B-segment hot hatches. Later they might have even added an spacious, practical mass-market crossover with an AWD option.

Instead, the marketers decided to build a car that could be all things to all hip 18-34 year-old urban males, saddling the Juke with extra weight, reduced practicality and a Lovecraftian front end. That the Juke still ends up being as good as it is, is an enduring testament to Nissan’s engineers.

Nissan flew us to Vancouver BC, put us up for a night in an expensive hotel, and wined and dined us in traditional press launch fashion to make this review possible.

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116 Comments on “Review: 2011 Nissan Juke...”


  • avatar
    jmo

    Ah yes….

    http://www.khurak.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/isuzu-vehicross.jpg

  • avatar
    LectroByte

    The front end of the Juke always makes me think of this:

    http://www.inlander.com/spokane/imgs/media/Blog_July/predator.jpg

  • avatar
    ash78

    Just looking at the pics while holding back my vomit, this car seems to fail where many newer vehicles succeed–too little interior space for its footprint.

    Never mind how ugly it is.

    I see engineers and financiers as people who work together to give the customer what they need at the right price. The marketers are the one who should be vilified. And in this case, I’d vote for the designers to be crucified upside-down. I hope to never tarnish my field of vision with this monstrosity.

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      It’s too small for its footprint, but it is a very small footprint.

      You realize that this is shorter than a Versa, so anyone looking for big cargo capacity is already looking elsewhere. And the Versa and Cube are already using this platform for Nissan buyers looking for more utility.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    If there was ever a car to make the Pontiac Aztec look good, this is it.

  • avatar
    Cole Trickle

    Is “males” a typo? This thing just screams 18-30 year old girl.

    • 0 avatar
      Nostrathomas

      Was thinking the same thing. I’m smack dab in the middle of their demographic, and I can only pictures this in the context of it being something my girlfriend would possibly drive. Even though I think it’s a valid car with some positive qualities, I never even once considered it as something I would want to purchase myself. Then again, the terms “CUV” and “Male” don’t make any sense to me to begin with.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      I am going to have to agree with this. Most of the women I know (26-34) really like this car, my wife included.

      Like the Dodge Nitro, it seems as if overtly marketing to overmasculated men actually results in a car that appeals very strongly to women.

    • 0 avatar
      benders

      I think Nostrathomas has it; not many men drive CUV’s.

      As someone squarely in the target demographic I wouldn’t go near that; I’ll stick with my WRX.

  • avatar

    I’ve been calling for a car like this ever since I traveled the unpaved roads of the western U.S. in a Celica All-trac Turbo. The Celica was far more fun off the pavement, but occasionally would have benefited from a little more ground clearance.

    Pontiac actually had a concept along these lines 20 years ago, but the closest it came to production was the Vibe.

    The problem with the concept: how many people want to drive quickly on unpaved roads?

    No matter. The Juke looks fun, and from the sound of this review is fun. I look forward to checking one out.

    Also looking forward to having reliability stats for the Juke well ahead of anyone else.

    To help with TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey:

    http://www.truedelta.com/survey.php

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      Alot of people do out west…often, an unpaved road is the only road. Also, another reason why Subarus are so popular. Tossable and fun to drive on unpaved roads. A manual Outback will get you a locking rear differential too. Find an XT (Outback or Forester) and you’ll get it to slide a bit as well.

      I’m sure we’ll see a lot of comparisons with the Juke and Mini Countryman (or whatever it is called). Similiarly powered, similiarly sized, AWD/manuals…but the Mini will win the comparo due to aesthetics.

  • avatar

    Sure it’s kind of ugly, but it’s got just enough funky that it might catch on. The same can’t be said of the old Aztek or the Ford Flex.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      I feel the opposite way. I like the classic boxyness of the Flex, and I always had a soft spot for the Aztec. The differentiation I see is that the Flex and Aztec both got their shapes for practical reasons – the squareness of the Flex makes it huge inside, and the Aztec project was engineering, practicality, and packaging first, styling second. The looks of the Aztec and Flex came somewhat naturally from usefulness being integrated into the vehicle, on the other hand the Juke lets styling dictate practicality and it ends up being ugly on purpose, plus harder to live with day to day.

      IIRC the Buick Rendezvous was pretty much a reskinned Aztec, and the Rendezvous did pretty well in sales. The Aztec may have been a little uglier than it needed to, but you can see from the sales of the Rendezvous that the basic concept for the vehicle worked. I don’t predict success for the Juke, at least not till the second gen toned down styling version hits.

    • 0 avatar

      Good design is timeless. This thing, no matter how “edgy” some may think it looks, is going to be hopelessly dated in a matter of a few years. To paraphrase; yuck.

    • 0 avatar
      Libertyman03

      I like the Flex too, although I think I may be in the minority. And Jason, I agree that the Juke is going to age quickly, but how long do people in Nissan’s target demographic for this car keep a vehicle anyway? I am in their target as well, and while I actually kind of like the Juke, I have never kept a car for more than two years. Then again, that could be because most of my cars were (are, haha) throwaway junk by many people’s standards.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      If I were in the market for a big-a$$ people/stuff mover I would drive a Flex. I like the clean lines and the fact that, at least to me, it isn’t trying to look like something it isn’t and it’s not trying to be trendy.

      I think I’m in good company, based on previous comments, when I say that I would not be sad to see SUVs and CUVs go away. When I was younger (I’m still young) I absolutely hated station wagons, but, now that I’ve been driving for several years and have had to try to peer around a large honking SUV while turning, I want good looking station wagons to come back.

      The Flex, as far as I’m concerned, is a station wagon on stilts.

      As regards the car in question, the Juke, it’s so plug-ugly as to be something I’d drive just for the heck of it.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      I’ve seen this before – oh, yes! The Chevy Amigo! You know, the car with all the cladding that looked like someone gave it a fat lip! I think this will get to be pretty un-cool quickly as well.

      I agree with MN. My wife and I actually liked the Aztek because even tho’ it was based on a minivan, it looked like an SUV-lite and had lots of utility, plus 4 doors where you could roll down the back windows. Ditto for the Buick version which looks pretty classy still.

      Cars that are over-styled tend to fade and have their haters and lovers – polarizing! I like unusual vehicles as long as they are relatively reliable.

  • avatar
    jberger

    WOW,
    That is one ugly ride. How in the heck does the styling make it past even the prototype stage?

    That’s a face that not even Speed Buggy could love.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Good, balanced review IMO. You’ve certainly made me think more about the Juke, even though I’d never buy it. The front end is quite repulsive, but it isn’t boring. Far more importantly, this car seems to be fun to drive in the same way any “high-up” coupe would be (I was thinking a lot about the AMC Eagle coupe while reading.) Still, the back seat doesn’t fold? I can’t understand why not. That, the higher-than-predicted price, and looks all conspire to break any deal I’d make with Nissan.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    A hatch without folding rear seats? Ye gads! If they’d crank up the practicality and dial down the insanity this would be on my list. Hopefully the gen 2 will be out by the time I’m ready to replace the Mini. That drivetrain sounds like a winner.

  • avatar
    joeveto3

    I like this car in a so odd-looking-it’s-fun kind of way…

    Like Julianne Nicholson from Ally McBeal (look her up) or Fairuza Balk from The Craft (look her up) or even Shelly Duvall or Sissy Spacek (young guys, look them up).

    Are there better looking vehicles out there? Yes. Better thought out? Yes. More fun? Perhaps.

    But sometimes you just want something different and practical and fun. I think this thing checks the boxes. Some cars, you walk outside, you look at them, and your brain does the calculations within seconds. It deconstructs the shape, makes sense of it all, and you’re done. Newness gone.

    I would argue it would take many years before that happened with this car.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      I agree – I’ve always had a “thing” for Shelley Duval (and I liken myself to Popeye, so why not?), and other slightly offbeat females (Zooey Deschanel, anyone?), so this car (after first shock) may be good becuase it’s just different.

      That said, with a busted turn signal, this car would look like Popeye…

      Ed’s review says the rear seat doesn’t fold flat — but how “un-flat? (Hmm -)

    • 0 avatar
      klasdude

      Shaker, I’ve seen the car in person and the seats fold nearly flat. I’m not an engineer so can’t give you 6.6 degrees or antthing like that but they lay almost all the way flat.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    A problem this car has is that it highlights how mundane the Cube’s interior is. This car is nifty, in and out. The Cube, well, either they should have tried better to be minimalist or gone full-tilt bonkers because next to the Juke it’s pretty lukewarm.

    Another problem is that it shows up not just the Cube, but also the Rogue and, in a way, the Murano, all while being not-expensive.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    I actually like it. I think the styling works. The only thing that doesn’t work for me is the “non-folding” seat. That just seems like a huge waste of space. Although I predict with low ground clearance and AWD, it should provide lots of work for tow truck drivers.

  • avatar
    lawmonkey

    Weird but distinctive looks, comprehensive list of tech, and styling over function – this is like the ZDX Advance, minus 1) radar cruise 2) cooled seats 3) nicer interior plastics and 4) $30K. (The list of common tech, including heated leather seats, keyless ignition, nav, adjustable drive mode settings, etc. is compelling, even if probably of a less refined nature).

    Can’t wait to drive it. Did the AWD’s different rear suspension make a difference. Also, any pretense of roof rack or trailer hitch? I wouldn’t want to haul anything heavy, but a bike sure isn’t going to fit anywhere in this thing unless it’s on a rack.

  • avatar
    srogers

    Yup, it’s ugly. But it’s distinctive and it’s the only hatch in its size/price category to have both power and decent driving dynamics. The GTI might be better than this but costs $8000 more in Canada.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Nissan seems to have built an entry level BMW X6/Acura ZDX. And just like its more expensive counterparts, its hard to fathom why they bothered. They should have sent those engineers to work on fixing the Sentra.

  • avatar
    cRacK hEaD aLLeY

    I saw the Junke on the Sea-To-Sky highway and I really liked it.

    I think this would be a great car for my commute from the suburbs here in Vancouver! They are not that bad looking in person, MUCH smaller than what they look in the pictures.

    Besides, it’s only a question of time before some other company comes with something uglier, so it will soon blend in traffic alongside everything else.

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    “According to Nissan’s reps, the Juke was developed with a very specific market in mind: 18-34 year-old males making $45k+, or as Nissan calls them, “Urban Experience Seekers.”

    Who the hell did they get to do their market research? I fit into that ‘niche’ (bar the Urban Experience Seeker bollocks) and so do a a lot of my friends. Would I or any of my friends buy a Juke?

    Hell no.

    Why?

    It’s PIG UGLY. How on earth are you going to impress with;
    ‘Fancy a ride in my Nissan Juke ladies?’
    Anyone who wants a car ‘to be seen in’ won’t pick something that looks like it was shoveled out of a kitty litter tray.
    If you’re my age and you’ve got that kind of money burning a hole in your pocket you’d buy something else; ANYTHING else.

    • 0 avatar
      SomeDude

      “It’s PIG UGLY…”

      I actually think it looks more like a drunk hamster. And, with Kia’s recent marketing efforts in mind, I just keep guessing: Is that some kind of innuendo?

    • 0 avatar
      Sinistermisterman

      Pig ugly, drunk hamster, cat poo… I could come up with a whole host of names for it.
      But seriously though, if you are aiming a product at ‘young, male and hip’, would you make it that hard to look at?

    • 0 avatar
      klasdude

      Sinister,
      Do you need a car to pick up women for you? If so, better go expensive. Personally, I buy a car because I like it, not because I need one to pick up chicks.

  • avatar
    srogers

    According to Nissan specs, this thing has a 6 speed (not 5) manual transmission. So which is it?

  • avatar
    gslippy

    The gen-1 Scion xB is no beauty, either, but at least it has a roomy interior.

    I predict Nissan will soon overhaul the Juke’s nose just as Subaru did for the B9 Tribeca.

  • avatar

    “Urban Experience Seekers”? Serves them right, driving around with such an eyesore. What “urban experiences” they can expect to find driving such a car? Fashionable salad or muesli buffets? Other tasteless people, pretending not to be boring?
    I’m old-fashioned, and would rather rely on the advice of trusted cab-drivers and hookers when seeking for “urban experiences”.

  • avatar
    rcdickey

    Like the PT Cruiser this is one you would either love or hate the looks of.(I like the PT but know many that do not) The front of the Juke could be better but doesn’t drive me away like the Aztek did from every angle. I like bulging fenders. The old 427 Cobra is one of my favorite bulging fender cars. This 51 year old thinks the Juke would be a good daily driver back and forth to work. At only 5 feet tall I don’t care for the stuff that rides high off the ground or is large inside. Headroom isn’t a problem for me! LOL I really don’t see any comparison with the Aztek as mentioned by some. I don’t know anybody personally that liked the look of the Aztek. The Aztek was plenty useful but if you can’t find anybody that can stomach having it sit in their driveway let alone be seeen in it what good is it? I believe there will be a market for this car based on both it’s looks, it’s performance, and it’s price.

  • avatar
    Ion

    That interior’s not so bad for Nissan’s standards.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    This car is schizophrenic. It can’t decide what its face is. Most cars are antropomorphic, their fronts resemble faces. Some more than others. But usually, the headlamps consists of the antropomorphic eyes, which make the car have a face. This car has two faces, or rather, two sets of eyes. There’s a foreground/background problem, because the cars doesn’t make clear enough distinctions. It’s like an optical illusion, you can try to concentrate of one of the faces, and the other fades to background. Or you can concentrate on the other, but never both at the same time. It’s very confusing…

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    First, it is really strange to read how everybody remarks how UGLY the MKT is, then gives faint praise to this and other questionable designs…like so many Italian jobs.
    The B&B crowd seems fickle.
    But I kind of like this stray from the norm.

    OK., so this little but fun to drive car is different/ ugly.
    But I say go for it!
    Design away and take these kinds of chances.
    The roads are chock full of look alike, boring designs.
    Don’t we really pine for the wild designs of the sixties?
    Bring it all back and include some good ol’ sixties rock n roll music.
    The music today all sounds copied and electronically fixed!!!!

    HOWEVER…that Price!
    18 grand!?
    No way I am going to spend 18K or more for this.
    No more than I would 25 plus for a Mini.

    Somebody explain again why this car would be a better buy than the Mazda3 hatch.

  • avatar
    mpresley

    Just when you think the Japanese peaked in the weirdness department, they move the bar even higher. Are mind altering drugs legal in Japan? Put a few tentacles on it and you’d have the SUV equivalent of a Japanese sex toy. Good grief!

    • 0 avatar
      SomeDude

      As far as I know, all the design work on the Juke was done in Europe (probably Amsterdam). The Tribeca was I believe designed in Spain, while the beaked Acuras were proudly designed in California. Japanese designs tend to be bland, not weird.

  • avatar
    romanjetfighter

    What a cheap interior!! Not even a center armrest or a console of some sort. That’s a deal breaker for anyone who plans on doing road trips over 4 hours.

    Nissan must think urban people really love “look-at-me” styling, because that’s all this jacked-up econo-car’s got. I don’t think this car will age well at all. It’ll look dated once people get over the shock. Think Izusu Axiom. I’m glad car companies are being bold by launching new products (I like the wheel arches), but the Juke seems a bit shallow.

    Btw, I’m a 20 y.o. urban, car-driving male living in Long Beach, so my opinion counts!!

  • avatar
    daviel

    That car is so uutt bugly I don’t see how it got out of the design meeting.

  • avatar
    Sam P

    I’d stick with a Subaru Impreza hatch, with AWD, a stick shift, and the proven 2.5 liter 175 hp boxer Four, long before I’d ever consider a Juke.

    • 0 avatar

      This is an interesting comparison, because my lovely life partner happens to drive a manual Impreza 2.5 hatch. The Impreza is the GT of the two, with softer suspension, more lean, a lazier engine and a far more useable back seat and cargo space. The Juke is much more fun to drive though… the engine is a fizzy firecracker compared to the loping Impreza lump, the handling is better, and it generally feels more manic and ready for a laugh. If AWD is really important to you though, the Impreza’s is better, hands-down (the Impreza’s important bits also seem better-protected than the Juke’s).

  • avatar
    wmba

    Based on the last two pix of the review, where it looks so small and lonely:

    “Wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie,
    O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
    Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
    Wi’ bickering brattle!
    I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee,
    Wi’ murd’ring pattle!

    I’m truly sorry man’s dominion,
    Has broken nature’s social union,
    An’ justifies that ill opinion..”

    Robbie Burns, Scottish poet, in 1859 upon wakening from a nightmare in which the 2011 Juke was revealed to him in all its glory as “Mousie”. He went on:

    “But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
    In proving foresight may be vain;
    The best-laid schemes o’ mice an ‘men
    Gang aft agley,
    An’lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
    For promis’d joy!”

    Let’s not beat around the bush. What an pile of visual ugliness this benighted vehicle is! I don’t know whether in the flesh it is better or worse to gaze upon than the Cube, but the Cube itself amazes me with its utter dowdiness and maladroit lines. To gaze upon these two vehicles and see beauty is, I believe, certain proof that one needs to visit a shrink. They are that bad. I drive by a parked yellow Aztec every day, and even that awkward vehicle is by comparison a proud, preening peacock.

  • avatar
    Libertyman03

    I think we should be congratulating Nissan for having the, ahem, BALLS, to bring something like the Juke to market. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but neither is the Mini or the ridiculous first-gen Scion xB (sorry, Paul). There are so many good cars available to American consumers today that are so utterly vanilla that no one really wants them anyway. Cars like the Camry and Corolla. I’m not saying that people don’t BUY them, because we all know how many of those things are driving around. But no one notices a Camry because of its styling. Nissan took a risk, but I think it will pay off. I am officially adding the Juke to my list of possible vehicles to buy after I finally graduate college.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Just couldn’t put it on the FM platform, Nissan?

  • avatar
    tuckerdawg

    juke rhymes with puke and honestly for the money I would rather have a kizashi sport sedan fwd 6 speed manual. I’m right in the middle of this demographic too and it looks like it was designed more for girls.

  • avatar

    Just ordered the Juke 2 days ago. After a month and half of test driving Toyota, Kia, Chevy and on and on I was finally ready to settle on a boring Corolla. It was in our price range and really didn’t have to many options except to settle with some bland boring car. My husband suggested I check out Nissan’s website which I did begrudgingly. And there was the Juke. I instantly fell in love with this car and it’s unique design inside and out.I poured over all the videos, pictures, test drives and specs I could find on the internet and decided it was perfect in every way. We have a Chevy Silverado so I was looking fo a smaller more compact car and this fit the bill. I read the cooments on the styling of the car and while everyone is definately entitled to their own opinion, I beg to ask aren’t you people sick of looking at the same boring blah, blah, blah everyday??? As unappealing as I find the Cube for myself, I can appreciate that someone had enough balls to design something different.You instantly notice them when you are driving because they stand out. The one place Nissan did miss their mark on this car was the demographics. I am a 40 year old woman with 3 kids 13 -19 and all the women I have shown this car to thought it was ‘HOT”! Of course I went with the manual transmission because Mom needs to have some fun while she’s driving and this car will bring it.If you see me out driving in my Juke, just honk and I’ll bat my big froggy eyes at you. I hope you are all driving a car you truly enjoy!!!

    • 0 avatar
      rcdickey

      Maybe they targeted a demographic and missed. Seems from the comments it’s mostly over 40 people that are interested in it (among those that are interested that is).

  • avatar
    mrhappypants

    Seriously, dudes? “It’s ugly”? It’s fun to drive, quick, practical, and very well-equipped, for about 20 grand. Try peeing standing up and get rid of the sun dress.

  • avatar
    Toyondai92

    I’m at the very bottom of that demographic, and the looks would almost scare me away. But torque-vectoring AWD in a ~$20,000 car with a perky turbo-4? Now we’re talking.

    • 0 avatar
      rcdickey

      That’s along the lines of the way I was thinking. It could be a marketing ploy to get noticed and then in a couple of years tone down the front end while keeping the fun factor. It’s the fun-to-drive factor that interests me the most.

  • avatar
    klasdude

    Sorry to disagree guys but I really like the design. It’s not a “cookie cut” design that so many other cars are. The 18~30 generation wants to “stand out” from the crowd and having a unique vehicle will do that. Besides that, if you’re relying on a car to get you chicks, you’re in trouble anyway. lol

  • avatar

    Put me down as another person squarely in the target demographic who wouldn’t touch this thing with a ten-foot pole. It screams “chick car.” An 18-34 year-old female might think it’s so ugly it’s cute, but an 18-34 year-old male will just think it’s ugly. +1 for doing something out of the ordinary, but -1,000 for taking it to a ridiculous extreme.

    And while we’re at it, here’s something else: for hipsters (exuse me, “Urban Experience Seekers”) cars aren’t a lifestyle statement, they’re just transportation. The Juke might be a nice car, but the looks will drive away plenty of buyers. Nissan, you’re better than this. Cut the marketing mumbo-jumbo and build a car that doesn’t look like the second coming of the Aztek.

  • avatar
    Ronman

    What Joke, were the designers blind or something? The only Truth about the Juke is that it’s Butt Ugly…how blind or cross-eyed was the stupid accountant that agreed on this… yuck this may well beat the Ass-tech and Ssang Young Rexton for ugliest car ever

  • avatar
    grzydj

    I like it the same way I liked the first generation xB. It’s freakish, practical and certainly has unique design aspects to it.

    This makes me wonder, now that the Toyota RAV4, which basically made this market has bloated to mid-size status, will Toyota have something to compete in this market again?

  • avatar
    PartsUnknown

    EN – nice review. One point of order – since you hammered the Juke for its lack of practicality – I read Edmunds’ review and they were able to fold the rear seats as flat as a pancake. There’s even a picture of it and everything. Perhaps you were doing it incorrectly?

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      If this is anything like the Cube, it’s done with an optional riser in the trunk that raises the floor to the level of the rear seats’ fold point.

      This works, but it eats up what little seats-up trunk space there is.

    • 0 avatar
      PartsUnknown

      That could be. It wasn’t mentioned by the Edmunds reviewer and it’s not apparent looking at their picture of the folded seats.

  • avatar

    When it was first released I thought it was hideous, but now I’m starting to like it more. It’s certainly not beautiful, but it is different, and seems fun.

    While I fit the demographics they are going for I am not an “Urban Experience Seeker”. Where do they come up with this stuff?

  • avatar

    Well, at least Nissan should be commended for trying something different, even though the result is questionable. I like the funky cube, but this design would make some kind of sense only if the vehicle were amphibious. Maybe it started like that and all the bulges were created to deflect incoming crocodiles. Most sane people buy hatchback-styled cars for their practicality, and not having the rear seatbacks folding flat is stupid. No excuse. How is the front seat comfort and leg space? Such an important stuff is not mentioned in this review.

  • avatar
    dwford

    “18-34 year-old males making $45k+, or as Nissan calls them, “Urban Experience Seekers.””

    #1. Who ARE these guys?? At the young end, these kids are either in college or just out, starting a first job and paying off loans, or in a blue collar job where they would get laughed off the job for driving this – even if they could afford it! At the older end, these guys probably have young families for which this would be useless, or they are sadly still single. What divorcee the single 34 year old is hitting on will think this pig is hot? So sad.

    #2. These same fictional people are the same ones that were supposed to buy the PT Cruiser, Element, and xD, all of which really got bought only by retired old ladies.

    Marketing fail. Don’t these marketing departments have any 18-34 year old males that they could simply ask: “would you buy this car?”

    • 0 avatar
      rcdickey

      Those that worry about getting laughed at over what they drive are the ones that buy bland or super popular cars. Those of us that are secure about ourselves buy what suits us without regard for the opinions of others.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      Ok. Would YOU buy this thing? How about a Cube? Soul?

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      I think that I’d buy one. I’ll have to see one live before I can say definitely.
      I like both the Soul and the Cube, but neither one handles well enough for me to buy. I’d buy either one for my wife though.

      Here’s the catch – I’m outside the demographic – I’m closer to 50 than 34. I’m just going to be another old guy driving in a “Urban Experience Seeker” car.

    • 0 avatar
      rcdickey

      The Cube and Soul does not have enough fun to drive factor for me. But yes I would consider buying this car. I would have to have a test drive first though. I’m one of those over 50 that would consider a PT Turbo as well. Like many others right now I’m sitting on my cash and not spending unless I have to. I work with many people of different ages and most of us over 45 have pretty boring vehicles. A lot of trucks and SUVs. I assume that is why Nissan says they are targeting a certain demographics. However, they should have taken a lesson from the PT Cruiser as someone already pointed out. It’s mostly bought by middle aged and older people.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      You guys just made my point!! Both of you would consider the Juke, and both of you are much older than the target market!

  • avatar
    brettc

    I’m in the age and income range, but there’s no way in hell I would ever buy one of these things even if it only cost a dollar. I guess I’m special though since I prefer turbodiesel wagons instead of a cross-under or whatever the fsck this thing is supposed to be. As the 18-34 year old crowd says – EPIC FAIL.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Score card:

    Price +2
    Turbo +10
    AWD +5
    6 sp manual +10
    Size/shape +5

    Lack of flat folding seats -5
    Front end made from misc parts stuck together at random – 2,000,000

    Seriously WTF is going on with this thing? Turn signals that are higher and longer then the hood itself? A grill that is wider then headlights? It looks like a catfish, almost like a Volvo C30 (which I love BTW) mated with an Aztec… its a mess.

    Also it too high off the ground. And where is the spare tire? If its under that rear storage compartment then there is actually alot of room in the back… I think. So much potential, but SO, so ugly.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    The Aztek has now been topped as this is surely the dog ugliest thing I have ever seen!

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I’m at the bottom-end of the targeted demographic and make nowhere near $45k a year. That being said if somebody else buys it first I’d pay attention to the used market where you’ll probably get one for $6k in 5 years due to poor sales. It is a rather unfortunate looking vehicle, but I like that. Then again I get bored rather easily and the longest I’ve had a car is 3 years. I would probably also go with the stick (I’ve been teaching myself through the use of a friend’s car) over the CVT.

  • avatar
    gsnfan

    I’m trying to find something, anything, that I like about the car. It comes with a manual transmission, and the designers had the guts to introduce a car that doesn’t look like everything else on the road. But at least make the car tasteful. The Flex has polarizing styling, but it is clean and good-looking. This has so many awkward lines that it seems to be an X6 or ZDX for those who don’t have $60K.

  • avatar
    wellwheely

    Like it or loathe it, Nissan has pre-orders for 22,500 of these already across Europe. A different market perhaps, but the design is like nothing else out there and people dig it. I recently attended a dealer event here in the UK and placed my order for a 1.6 Tekna DiG-T (top trim, 2WD manual) the next day. That same dealer told me they’d already pre-sold 17 of them on internet reviews alone, without them even having been test-driven!

    Photos don’t do this car justice: it looks completely different in reality. The bulky front end and its ‘crocodile grin’ certainly give it presence and it’s bigger than pictures would have you believe. There is, contrary to this review, plenty of room in the back. I’m 5′ 10″ and there was comfortable leg and headroom to spare. Also, the rear seats do fold completely flat in a 60-40 split. Picture here: http://www.nissanpress.co.uk/juke/photos/int/3390_1_5-.jpg

    Come late September, my journey to work becomes more interesting!

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    First off Ed, very nice and honest review of this car and if I’m not mistaken, it fits your “demographic” (I’m using the term loosely here) at least in age and yet, you have managed to be both critical of the vehicle where it counts and yet like other elements where they count and that to me is a hallmark of a good car review and it DOES sound like Nissan went for form over function in a big way with this.

    I have a question of why did they design this with a low hanging radiator and then “protect” it with a plastic shield that does little but conceal it? That and the idea of “hiding” the rear door handles to me does not make sense when it’s a four door in the first place, I mean why?

    Secondly, I’m not of its demographic either (mid 40’s) and I find the biggest issue is with the front end, it reminds me too much of the that Chinese cartoon caricature that is a blatant stereotype of a Chinese person with the evil, big teeth look from back in the day with the headlights reminding me of eyes, the turn signals being the eyebrows and then have them be separated by the grill that continues beyond just makes the whole thing rather disjointed to say the least.

    I will have to give Nissan BALLS for going down this road wit the design, but I find it fails as it isn’t cohesive, at least in the photos however I like how they took the console and made it STYLISH for a change instead of just a flat black or gray. The sides and rear aren’t too bad as far as the design goes and where to they think that people in the 18-34 age bracket will be making $45K a year? Are they on crack or something? Most don’t make that much until they are out in the world working some, but certainly NOT starting out.

    And just because it’s a good, tossible car, but lacking other practical attributes does not make it a car in my book.

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    And I should say, I hope to be in the market next year for new car and the cars I’m after are the Honda Fit (not looking so far to be at the top of the list, but a definite contender), the Ford Fiesta (test drove it and like it, a lot), the Kia Soul (not test driven one yet), the Mazda2, although with it’s stripped options and dated 4spd auto etc, it’s not likely but I’ll check it out anyway and finally, the 500 from Fiat once it’s in dealers early next year (still have to test drive it and all that)

    So while I’m not after the boring sedan (been there, done that, no more) I have had a taste with the ’83 Civic I drove from ’92-98 and then a 4 door 88 Honda Accord, both 5spd manuals and while I didn’t choose the Accord, it’s a nice driver’s car, but give me a nice looking hatch any day.

  • avatar
    Nick

    It took almost 40 years, but someone has finally surpassed the ’62 Dart in terms of how hideous it is, from any angle.

  • avatar
    7th Frog

    I want one with fwd and the 6 speed. I guess i am in the minority but I love the styling. Of course I also love the styling of my 2010 Mazda 3.

  • avatar
    joeaverage

    GarbageMotors – we have a 204K mile CR-V with a manual 5 speed and AWD. The lack of a manual tranny could be what keeps us from buying another CR-V someday.

  • avatar
    johnf514

    I am precisely in Nissan’s demographic for the Juke (25, $50K/yr, living in urban Central FL) and would not be caught DEAD driving this abortion of a car. I’ll keep my 2007 Mazda3, thanks.

  • avatar
    Bimmer

    I think there is a French connection (read Renault) in design of Junk. I’ve no problem with looking at X6, ZDX or ‘the flying vagina’, but Junk and Crossturd make me wanna puke. And I fit age demographic.

  • avatar
    reclusive_in_nature

    Yawn. Would have been my next vehicle if Nissan had the balls to put their 3.7 liter in it. Hell, I’d have even settled for a turboed version of their 2.5. Global Laming strikes again.

  • avatar
    Nick

    I guess I owe the 62 Dodge Dart an apology.

  • avatar

    I completely agree with you all on the fact that they screwed up the target market. I am a 24 year old female who can’t wait to test drive this. My exact words when i first saw this car months ago was “It’s so ugly, it’s cute,  I NEED IT”  while my guy friends just laugh and say its so ugly, but i know they will all secretly want to drive it if i buy one.

  • avatar
    soccerballzz3

    All the negative comments about the less than ideal style and ‘low’ quality interior crack me up. Being that I fit the exact market that Nissan is aiming at, they hit the nail on the head with this one. There is nothing that a young mid-western male road warrior like myself could want more than a sporty cross-over with lots of fun options on the inside. Installed sub, upgraded sound system, tons of fun meters on the dash along with iPod adaptability and XM radio/traffic and a CVT 1.6L TURBO charged engine?!?! And all at an incredibly reasonable price.

    The comment about style are what shock me most. Why does everyone want to look like every other car on the road? Clearly you are not part of the demographic they are aiming for where individuals seek to stand out from the crowd with a different vehicle instead of blend in with the world. Their color choices even support said goals with the unique maroon red, bright blue, and the metallic line up for the occasional business professional like myself who wish to look somewhat corporate.

    Having test driven one of these it is truly an amazing car and to all the fools who have not driven one, I am merely laughing at how ridiculous your comments are. Get out and see one after reading this complete garbage review of a phenomenally produced car for their target audience.

  • avatar
    joeaverage

    Saw one in person and it looked alot better than I expected it to. Pictures do funny things to cars sometimes. I have seen cars that look better in the pictures than in person too.

  • avatar

    Saw it, sat in it, drove it, love it.  I have a 2008 Mazda3 and it has served me well, however the thought of a Mini-SUV that handles like a coupe (if not better) is practical and is faster than my Mazda3 (2.3) just twists my twinky in the right way.  Not to mention it stands out…everyone seems to be jumping on this bandwagon of hate!  I already have mine ordered.

    Juke SL CVT AWD Fully Loaded
    Sapphire Black
    Red/Black w/ Red Stitching

    Picking it up in a week and a half CAN’T WAIT!!!

  • avatar

    I couldn’t help but leve a comment.  The review is overall positive are things that are not accurate.
    First of all the Juke is a car designed in europe with the european market in mind, I am even surprised that it is being sold in North America.  The Nissan Qashqai which is another Nissan European designed product has not made it over the Atlantic even though it has been a huge hit here and I would think would be a product more suited for the NA market.
    I live in Switzerland and just came back form a 9-month stay in Australia wanting to finally cahnge my 1997 Audi A3. I am single 39 year old urban proffesional, who likes to go to the muntain on weekends for skiing and from time to time take a long road trip. I walked into the Nissan dealer to have a look at the Qashqai a car that I always liked since it was launched. Then I saw the Juke which since I had been living in Oz had no idea was coming. I laughed at first then jumped in and kinda liked the interior but still it seemed a bit cheap. Then I talked to the dealer about the Qashqai and he was steering me towards the 150HP gasoline engine version. Coming from a 1.8T 150Hp Audi I though that engime would be a bit boring and not fast enough. So I asked what engines come with teh Juke and when heard 1.6T with 190Hp it started to sound a lot more interesting. Then he said that was teh version with AWD and that peeked my interest even more but then he said that was only available in Automatic, and I was like, what ?? Ok back to the Qashqai. I then made a appointment to test drive the Qashqai and the Juke. The Juke was a lot of fun to drive and this was just the normal 1.6 engine with manual transmission. So I told him I wanted to try the Qashqai automatic CVT (same as Juke) and I found it quite nice and responsive and even fun in the manual mode. So to make a long story short I ended up getting the Juke in 1.6T AWD, leather seats.
    Where the review is incorrect is in the rear seats and boot. There is plenty of leg rooom and head room, granted I am only 1,73m but it was plenty confortable.  The other thing is that teh rear seats fold flat to form a fully flat laoding surface.  Yes there is not a big boot if you don’t fold the seats but it is enough for groceries etc.

  • avatar
    JukieMcJukerson

    Laugh now while you can, and stop complaining about the front end! You’re only going to be seeing it from the back anyway!
    When you rate, review, or otherwise critique the Juke with any preconceived notions of what a car should be, you miss the point. It is what it is. Something new. Put simply, the Juke is a very large mini hatch (or a very small station wagon) that is built to nightmarish, post apocalyptic, Mad Max standards! Who gives a crap what it looks like or how practical it is? Girl’s car? Hardly. If Max had a daily commuter, it’d be a Juke!
    It has a better power to weight ratio than anything like it (Matrix, Outback Sport, Outlander Sport, SX4). It also has the highest clearance so the AWD isn’t just for show. Speaking of, the AWD in the Juke isn’t just a slip activated, part-time system like in most others (though it does have a mode like that). It will also deliver power based on where it’s needed for steering and grip on pavement. It’s like having torque steer doing your bidding, helping push you through turns!  And it has miles of grip! AWD is a must with Juke and the CVT pairing makes sense here people. CVTs operate at higher and constant revs during acceleration, right in the power band with the turbo spooled up! No annoying downshift and engine roar when passing, just a bit of gas and torque is there on demand and overtaking is smooth as glass.
    Sure some space is lost due to styling, but the bulging lights on the fender do seem to serve a small purpose. When you look up at the front of the Juke from a low position it seems that those lights are meant to cut the air to reduce the drag from those enormous side mirrors, which work great by the way! What blind spot?! Not only that, but it comes with great features like keyless ignition. Because of features like that, not only are it’s specs best in class, so is it’s value for the money.
    Also, most of you people don’t love SUVs, you love the concept of SUVs. You’re seldom seen hauling obscene amounts of cargo as you had once imagined when you made the oh-so practical choice to buy that gas guzzler to basically move yourself from place to place. Trade in some of that weight and space for a little bit of fun without making any of the sacrifices of moving from an SUV to a car. You’ll still be able to get around in the winter just as well, no scraping your front under-body on parking blocks, etc.
    If any of you can drive one of these and then climb back into your Outback sport, Matrix, Outlander Sport, (or whatever hatch or CUV you drive) and not feel the tiniest bit inadequate, well I think that’s just great! Good for you! As for me, no mere Xb, Caliber, Soul, or Golf will do. I have different standards now. Mad Max turbocharged-mini-war-machine standards!
    Also, I am from America and I can tell you that this is the most American car I’ve driven in a long time! It has true grit!

  • avatar
    JukieMcJukerson

    Sorry to double post, but I just have to say that the radiator critique is a bit pea-brained. The radiator in this sits up much higher than on other cars like this so I don’t see any danger of bashing it into a curb or having a rock large enough to rupture it fly up and hit it. Also, do any of you actually believe that the front end of your car is reinforced to protect the radiator in the event of a front impact? Yes? LOL! Well, I have news for you, the front of your car is designed to fold up like cheap lawn furniture to dissipate the force of a collision. Ever hear of crumple zones? It’s why none of your cars have big shiny chrome bumpers anymore.
    And what was that about cheap interior plastics? Thanks a million for that news flash, Einstein! Of course it’s not going to be overly posh when you offer this much car for such a low cost. Personally, I wouldn’t care if the seats were burlap stuffed with straw and the dash was cardboard with felt glued to it. Even in that configuration it’d be 100 times better than the current competition.

  • avatar

    Japans answer to the Aztec!

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    The important question is which turkey loses its spot on the list of the 10 worst cars of all time to make room for the Juke?

  • avatar
    yorzif

    Someone asked where do people between 18 and 34 make $45K? Answer: in most major cities. I’m 29 and I make that much working for a non-profit. My friends with corporate jobs are making way more than me and they’re buying much fancier cars than Nissans.  Also someone else made a comment that if you’re at the top of this age range you should be married. I admit I’m slowly attending more and more friend’s weddings, but there’s loads of urban single people with disposable income at age 34 who are far from depressed. I think the flaw in the demographic is the gender. I’m a girl and I LOVE this care. Love it! 

    I test drove the mini and the VW Rabbit and the Juke. The Juke is BY FAR my favorite! And it’s the cheapest of the three; AND it get’s the best gas milage (28 city/33 highway). (I also used to have a subaru outback sport and I agree with the previous critique on the AWD, if AWD is your priority stick with subaru). I plan on getting the FWD manual transmission – the configuration this article speaks most highly of. 

    However, to all you male-naysayers, my boyfriend said if he ever had to drive my car for a day he’d rather I get the Juke than the mini, which to him is the epitome of girly-ness. We both agreed it looks best in black – the least flamboyant. The one concern I hadn’t thought of and I think it’s a very fair point, is the question of how soon will this style look dated.  I’m hoping its weirdness defies being dated. But a new car with full warrantee, great gas milage,  w/bluetooth standard, and darn-fun-to-drive, all for $20K… at that price I can also afford to be wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      It’ll probably age like the Element, Beetle and Mini – which is to say better than I ever thought possible. I still like all of the retro cars including the PT although the PT was due some “tweak” to it’s looks. I like the updated Beetle coming out now and the Mini continues to please with an endless line of color, trim, and wheel combos. The latest Element I like better than the original Element. Hate to hear that Honda is canceling it.
      I really like the retro cars because they offer something different than the typical jellybean sedans that are everywhere. Even the domestic muscle cars which I enjoy looking at and have very, very little urge to own.

  • avatar
    Jukefan

    I’ll say this about the Juke (by the way, I’m a 47 y/o male making 3-4 times the demographic income)I’m not loving the body styling as a whole. Certain elements “float my boat” other design cues make me cringe. I’m currently driving an Infiniti (G35 Coupe)and this “thing” (Juke) is fun to drive. Seriously, it’s a BLAST.

    So much fun in fact that I sometimes think I prefer it to the G

    Nuff said. This little freak is a winner

  • avatar
    Tinker

    You can’t change the way it looks, now. But the question I have after reading this review is, how does AWD change the picture? The suspension is completely different at the rear with AWD, and I’d like to know which one the test drive was actually taken in.

    I’m considering buying a Juke in SV trim, with CVT and AWD, not because I need/want AWD, but because it has more sophisticated suspension, and AWD may minimize FWD Torque Steer effects on rough pavement, in standing starts, that sort of thing.

    Note: Bicycle carrying is nice, but I carried a bicycle in a 1965 Corvair.
    You put it in front of the rear seat, upright, handlebars positioned full left, left pedal at the top and it fit like it was made for it. Yes, it was a bit difficult to do without 4 doors, but you want 4 doors if you are going to carry passengers anyway, right?

    • 0 avatar

      I drove the AWD/CVT, FWD/CVT and FWD/MT prior to writing this review. If it’s fun you want, go basic and get an FWD model… the AWD’s weight is noticeable, and it’s already a bit on the chunky side for an excitement-oriented drive (MT is most fun, CVT is surprisingly spirited though). I didn’t notice any performance benefits to the AWD that weren’t outweighed (literally) by the added weight, but then I didn’t go off- or soft-roading so that’s purely an on-road perspective. For contrast, I’d say an Impreza offers a more noticeable AWD influence in on-road handling… but as I noted in an earlier comment, an FWD/MT Juke offers more outright fun.

      In short, you can’t build a fun car with a spec sheet alone. Drive both and come to your own conclusions, but don’t choose the AWD simply because it seems like the more performance-oriented option.


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