By on June 10, 2011

Back in 1989 I spent some time blasting along the unpaved roads of the Southwest in a 1988 Toyota Celica All-Trac Turbo. A frequent thought: “What this thing really needs is more ground clearance.” That same year Pontiac displayed a sports car / SUV crossover as a concept. The Stinger was never produced, but it lingered within memories at GM and eventually provided some inspiration for both the Vibe and Aztek. Neither came close to the Stinger. Both lacked the chassis dynamics to fulfill the mission I had in mind.
And so it fell to Nissan to field the first compact crossover with the spirit of a sports car. Is the JUKE worth the two-decade wait?

If the Pontiac Aztek’s designers hadn’t been forced to make extensive use of a minivan substructure, it would have looked a lot like the JUKE: weird and in-your-face, even ugly, but (for the target market at least) cool ugly. Much more compact and more tightly proportioned than the Aztek—it’s only 162.4 inches long on a 99.6-inch wheelbase—and with aggressively flared fenders, the JUKE has the athletic stance Pontiac’s designers could only sketch. Turn signal bubbles perched high atop the fenders make for a distinctive view from the driver’s seat. They also make the front corners of the car easy to locate when parking.

Inside the JUKE, the distinctive styling continues, with a center console shaped and finished to resemble the fuel tank of a motorcycle. Matching trim can be found on the door-mounted armrests. These bits are available in red; in the silver of the tested car they don’t stand out nearly as much. Another sporty touch: the floating hood over the instruments. Other design elements don’t work as well. Nissan’s odd long-term affection for orange LCDs continues with much of the instrument panel lighting (though thankfully not the main instruments), and the graphics on the center stack’s multi-function display recall the excesses of the mid-1980s. Some of them might prove useful, or at least entertaining—screens include a boost gauge, a far too easily pegged two-dimensional G-meter, and fuel economy logging—but the screen is mounted just barely above the shifter, so far too low to be safely viewed while driving. The patterned light gray low-knap velour upholstery looks out of place inside such a painfully hip vehicle. It also starts looking dirty within seconds of cleaning it. Black and red/black upholstery are also offered—get one of those.


If you have to ask whether you’ll fit inside the JUKE, you can’t. Well, maybe you can. There’s enough legroom and headroom for drivers up to 6-2, maybe 6-3. But room for shoulders and hips is in short supply. The interior is compact to begin with, and the highly styled center console takes up the space some drivers like to place their right knee (I drive with my legs fairly straight, so this didn’t affect me). In back, though I’m only 5-9 my head brushes the headliner and my legs graze the front seatback (when the former is also positioned where I like it). With a tall driver in the front seat, the rear is best reserved for those 5-6 and under. No one in my five-person family is large, though, so we all fit without a hitch.

The JUKE’s front seats feel comfortable in casual driving; I found nothing to complain about in this area. Get jiggy with the JUKE, though, and their lack of lateral support quickly becomes evident. The seat’s bolsters, small to begin with, are spaced too widely for a slender driver. You sit crossover high not far from a relatively upright windshield. Add in the tight interior and the aforementioned high-mounted turn signals, and the view forward is like that in nothing else, and very much in keeping with the extroverted styling. The rear side windows are small, so while the view from the rear seat is open to the front it’s limo-like to the side. The cargo area is also compact—even a MINI Countryman can haul significantly more stuff. Still, I was able to squeeze in a mountain bike after removing its front wheel and folding the second row (the front seats had to be moved forward a bit to let the rear headrests by).


The JUKE’s consistency of character continues with the driving experience. A turbocharged and direct-injected 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine doesn’t put out much power below 3,500 rpm, but with the manual transmission responds quickly and rockets the 2,828-pound JUKE forward once past that mark, feeling like it’s kicking out well over the stated 188 horsepower. This engine is smooth and loves to rev, letting loose a loud sport bike-like “wreeeeeeee” as it does so. Turbo lag isn’t evident, just a lack of power at low rpm. This engine deserves a second home in a Miata-like sports car.

In addition to the six-speed manual, a CVT which can mimic a manually-shiftable six-speed automatic is also offered. The CVT blunts the engine’s pep considerably. The manual is much more fun, even if the lever’s action isn’t the slickest.

Fuel economy is quite good—as long as you don’t make heavy use of the turbo. The trip computer reported high 20s in both casual driving around town and on the highway (with a cruising speed of in the 70s). So the EPA ratings of 27/32 seem about right. Hypermiling the JUKE in the suburbs I managed 33.3. Doing the opposite I observed high teens.

Front-wheel-drive rocketships have well-known limitations, and the JUKE could serve as a poster child for the lot. Accelerate hard in a straight line, and the car pulls one way then the other—yes, it’s torque steer. Get on the gas in the mid-turn, and the inside front wheel far too easily loses traction. Traverse even the smallest bump or uneven expansion joint within said turn and all those horses are churning air. The obvious solution (aside from a better-designed suspension): all-wheel-drive. The available system even includes torque vectoring, to enable a little throttle-induced oversteer. But there’s a problem: all-wheel-drive is only offered with the CVT. Nissan should also offer it with the manual, perhaps even make it standard with the turbocharged engine. For those not into performance driving, and so not in need of more traction, a lesser engine would serve well enough. For those who want to replicate the responses of a weaker engine, “Eco” mode is a button tap away.

The JUKE also handles like it looks, with quick steering via a small diameter wheel and a willingness to turn. Dipping into the throttle tightens the car’s line. The small crossover is endearingly frisky when you’re in the mood to play, effectively melding the character of a compact crossover with that of a sports car. Put in the simplest terms, it’s a lot of fun, the sort of fun all small cars should be but fewer and fewer actually are.


This said, steering feel could be better. Hitting the “Sport” button in the center console (which must be done anew each time the car is started) firms up the steering, most noticeably at highway speeds, but it never communicates much of what’s going on at the contact patches. Between this and a suspension that feels a little jumpy, confidence wasn’t inspired. I never quite felt one with the car. The MINI Countryman, though less overtly sporty, does better here.

To replicate my time in the Celica, I visited my favorite local unpaved road in the JUKE. This also served to reveal how the chassis behaves as the tires’ limits are reached at much lower speeds than on pavement. With the JUKE this road revealed a tendency for the rear end to go light and drift wide in turns even while lightly accelerating. Though not too difficult to catch with a touch of opposite lock, this tendency to oversteer even without lifting off the throttle is uncommon among current cars and a bit of a shock the first time it occurred. While not too many people will be JUKING dirt roads, wet and snowy roads are another matter. The standard stability control has its work cut out for it with enthusiastic but inexperienced drivers.

The JUKE rides like the tallish, short wheelbase, firmly sprung car it is. And because Nissan’s suspension engineers haven’t yet figured out how to combine a smooth ride with sporty handling. To their credit, unlike the sportiest Nissans the JUKE doesn’t ride harshly. It just reacts a little sharply to road imperfections and feels jiggly on all but the smoothest surfaces. But it does feel solid, and body motions are well-controlled. On the highway, there’s a moderate amount of noise from the exhaust, air, and road surface. While still much quieter than the subcompacts of decades past (and my Mazda Protege5), by current standards the JUKE borders on noisy. If you’re sensitive to a jiggly, noisy ride, the JUKE will likely start to annoy once you’re done with hooning and ready to cruise.

If you want a performance-oriented compact crossover, you typically have two choices in North America: the JUKE or the MINI Countryman. With its storied European pedigree, a similarly-equipped MINI will set you back $5,310 more than the JUKE SV’s $21,640 base price. (The difference was close to six large earlier, but Nissan has raised prices a couple of times—for a total bump of $620.) Adjust for the MINI’s additional features using TrueDelta’s car price comparison tool and the Nissan’s advantage remains nearly $4,000. Just beware the gunmetal wheels on the tested car: they’ll set you back nearly an extra grand.

Ultimately, the JUKE is at least as much sports car as crossover. It’s highly styled and—a rarity these days—drives even sportier than it looks. It reeks personality. The flipside: the JUKE’s not terribly practical or even easy to live with. But we have no shortage of practical, dull-to-drive crossovers, if that’s what you’re looking for. Nissan itself will gladly sell you a cube or a Rogue. If, instead, you’ve been seeking a sports car with a little extra ground clearance, the JUKE is one of two choices, and the least expensive by a substantial margin. Just beware of torque steer (until Nissan sees the light and offers AWD with the manual) and of the rear end’s tricks on slippery surfaces.

Nissan provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review.

Michael Karesh operates TrueDelta, an online source of automotive pricing and reliability data.


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91 Comments on “Review: 2011 Nissan Juke Take Two...”


  • avatar
    CJinSD

    This is probably the worst looking car to ever reach mass production outside of France. At least they won’t be on the road for long.

    • 0 avatar
      stroker49

      Fiat Multipla and Pontiac Aztek is beautiful in comparison!

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie

        Exactly. I wonder if the Nissan Joke is available in green – it’s the most recent froggy car since the EXP.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        At least the Multipla looked silly partially due to brilliant packaging. It was a very efficient way to move 6 people and their stuff, even if it did look bizarre. The Jukes funtion is actually compromised in order to look stupider than would otherwise have been possible.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “This is probably the worst looking car to ever reach mass production outside of France.”

      See, this is what you get when a French and Japanese company merge – the worst of both worlds. At least French cars tend to be artsy-ugly, versus the worst Japanese cars, which just look like someone tried to put them in a car crusher, only to have the machine fail early on in the process.

      Nissan, in particular, has a rich and distinguished tradition of galactically ugly cars, their all-star being the Datsun F-10. If that one won’t sear your retinas, nothing will.

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie

        Nissan makes wierd stuff. Remember the Pulsar?

        But right now, it’s like they’ve got a guy swinging the ugly stick at everything in the factory: Cube, Juke, Leaf. Horrible, ugly stuff.

        Lesson learned: boring beige beats crappy brown.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        Nissan can make some great looking cars. The Z is sexy, the Maxima is IMO one of the best looking sedans on the road, and if quirky is your thing the Cube does boxy in a polished way, and 10x classier than the original Scion xB.

        I like some oddball looking cars. I think the Gremlin was a great looking vehicle, I’m not afraid of the Aztec, and I sincerely hope to own an Isuzu Vehicross one day. I just can’t get behind the Juke’s looks. It reminds me of some bizarre alien insect with elephantiasis.

        I’m also not sure about the logic of making a sporty compact with a crossover’s higher center of gravity but leaving the passenger room and cargo utility out of the equation.

    • 0 avatar
      Bryce

      OMG a CVT Anything is preferrable to that.When Nissan got in bed with Alfa they took eachothers features and produced the Arna they chose the worst of each others POS Nissan Pulsar body Alfa motor an unreliable ill handling rust bucket NISSAN strikes again the ugliest body and worst powertrain bar none another fugly POS

      • 0 avatar
        sco

        The rear 3/4 view of this car is not so bad but the front end, Jesus Gawd what a mess. My eyes cant figure out what they’re supposed to look at, two level lighting, various grill patterns, no central focus. Maybe this is a new design language for the multi-tasking generation but for me it’s just off the mark.

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      Agreed. Hideous. I happen to like some of there more out there designs like the Cube, Soul, Flex, etc… but this is just wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      EncoreStatus

      Hello,
      Really had to comment. In my opinion, if you dont look at this car in person you can’t really appreciate the look. I’ve had the car for about 6 months now. Drivers stop me in the street at the light and are amazed by it. Store keepers come out and say “OMG I saw you pull up and I just had to come out and see this… .” The juke in this picture is blue and isn’t the best color that accents its features. If you see this car in Gun Metal, Black, or the silverish color…you’ll definitely think differently.

  • avatar
    Alex French

    Each time I see a Juke, I warm up to them a little bit more. They are definitely ‘cool ugly,’ which I think is a first for this era of stylized blob-cars.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    As the owner of an ugly xB1, I can say that the Juke is truly ugly. At 6’6″, at least my xB has headroom to spare. I won’t be getting near a Juke.

    Good review, though.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      Nothing wrong with the Scion-badged BB.

      The BB was a great sub-scale copy of a Chevy Astro, which itself was sub-scale Chevy Van.

      The new one is an abomination, tho.

    • 0 avatar
      Crabspirits

      I’m a B1 owner as well and I wanted to like this car….until I sat in it. A geo metro is a station wagon in comparison.

      The Suzuki SX4 Crossover with the 6MT and selectable AWD takes this segment by a huge margin IMO, yet never gets any press.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        OK, it wasn’t just me. I sat in one of these at the local car show back in January, I didn’t fit in it. I’m not particularly tall (6’1″) but I am big (265 lbs.). Once I closed the door I felt claustrophobic. I remember looking at the hatch area in the back and thinking why bother?, since there was so little room between the seat back and the hatch.

        Not my cup of meat, but cheers to who ever signs on the dotted line for one.

      • 0 avatar

        I’ve asked for an SX4, Suzuki doesn’t seem interested in having the car reviewed.

        The SX4’s handling and acceleration don’t begin to compare to the JUKE’s.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @Michael: What keeps you from going to a dealer and requesting one to drive, much like what you did with the Hyundai Accent a couple of days ago? Or do you need some sort of OK from the factory?

      • 0 avatar

        As mentioned in the review, unless you’re slender the cabin will be a very tight fit. They don’t come much narrower.

      • 0 avatar

        No Suzuki dealers near me. They’ve all shut down for lack of sales. I’m not even sure where the closest one is at this point.

      • 0 avatar
        GiddyHitch

        The Suzuki Swift that I rented for the Nurburgring was a revelation, so I’m surprised that Suzuki is reticent to hand out press cars. I realize that the Swift and SX4 are different cars, but I believe that they share a common platform.

  • avatar
    SVX pearlie

    “And so it fell to Nissan to field the first compact crossover with the spirit of a sports car. Is the JUKE worth the two-decade wait?”

    What about the Isuzu Vehicross?

    Or, going back in time, the legendary AMC Eagle coupe?

  • avatar
    Charles T

    Saab people, your quirkily styled, FWD turbo hatchback is here.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      Sorry, needs fakey reacharound front glass…

      • 0 avatar
        Charles T

        “Reacharound”? You’re thinking of Miata owners. I think you mean “wraparound”.

      • 0 avatar
        Mullholland

        Hey @CharlesT:
        Nice try on promoting the worn out cliche of Miata=gay car. People who drive Miatas don’t pay enough for their cars to make them reacharounds. Everybody knows the ultimate reacharound car is a Bugatti Veyron.
        Happy driving.

    • 0 avatar
      Charles T

      Just poking fun at the stereotype; I’ve got an MR2 Spyder, so I accept the connotations that come with owning a slightly cute roadster. As for happy driving, very much so.

    • 0 avatar
      snabster

      Close, but no cigar.

      No leather, the inside ergonomics do look bad, and needs a bit more room.

      But very close to what VM wanted for a 9-2x.

      Very puzzling about lack of a stick. I’d buy it right now if it came with one.

    • 0 avatar
      Acubra

      Thanks, but no thanks. There are better and easier ways to relieve onself of one’s lunch.

      SAABs have always been quirky for a good reason. All quirks were very well justified by either practicality, safety or performance.
      This abomination of a car though, is a pure toy in its uselessness.

    • 0 avatar
      vvk

      Yes, as a SAAB person, I really liked the Juke. Until I set in it.

      It feels incredibly cramped. And I like small cars. The Juke is not just small. It is small to the point of being unusable. Mini Countryman is a much different vehicle.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’m slightly ashamed at how close I am to buying one of these.

  • avatar

    Reliability seems to be very good so far. With 21 owners responding to TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey, none have reported a repair yet.

    We’ll have an updated based on a larger sample size in June.

    http://www.truedelta.com/car-reliability.php?stage=pt&bd=Nissan&mc=978

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    It´s cool if you like the rugged Paris-Dakar look.
    I would put 4 of these http://www.hella.se/Produkter/Extraljus/ExtraljusRallye-3003/ in the front.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      Nice, though I prefer the PIAAs, they have a metal housing, which have proved pretty sturdy on my bike:

      http://www.piaa.com/Lamps/Lamp-pages/540.html

  • avatar
    pdq

    Every time I see the Joke I am reminded of the Suzuki X90 which was equally bizarre.

  • avatar
    stickshift

    Good review!

    I don’t know what your threshold is for defining “compact” or “sports car” but my BMW X3 with manual transmission sure has a lot of the characteristics you’re looking for. Good clearance, AWD, great handling, and performance, great interior space and front seat comfort. (Rear seat comfort is just OK). I call the ride “firm”, some others call it rough.

    It’s only 18″ longer than the Juke, but 1,000 lbs heavier, with significantly lower gas mileage (I get 16 MPG city, 19 in mixed driving, maybe 24-25 on the highway). And a lot more expensive.

    Too bad BMW stopped offering manual transmission with the 2011 model revision.

    • 0 avatar
      Acc azda atch

      Should have bought a credible car..

      Like the 3 series wagon.

      • 0 avatar
        Sam P

        The 3 Series wagon is utterly useless off-road or in snow even with xDrive – it’ll get high centered easily.

        That’s why the X3 makes sense and that’s the reason a RWD 3-series sedan and a Subaru Outback reside in my garage.

      • 0 avatar
        Sam P

        I don’t mind ugly cars (I used to drive an Outback) but a base ’11 WRX manual has 265 horsepower, AWD, and has an MSRP of $25.4k.

      • 0 avatar
        Acc azda atch

        SAM P

        xDrive was BULLSHIT when it came out.

        Hate to tell ya.. X3 NEVER made sense. Its only there to push the shit-U-V segment. No one actually takes those off road. Its even made on the same frame.. different factory though.

        YET ya still got the sedan… for what?!

        Stick a set of BLIZZAKS on the 3 WAGON and ya do just fine.

  • avatar
    probert

    I test drove one of these (fwd manual) and it was a blast. The engine is so powerful and responsive that spinning the front wheels is a problem/pleasure. The front was comfortable and roomy (6′, 200) but if you’re fat that – as Margaret Thatcher said – “is a personal choice”.

    The rear has plenty of room for around town despite the bad reviews.

    As you can guess I like it. But what makes me like it more is that, unlike the mini and the 500, there is no retro here to inform the quirky design; it rises and falls on its own merits. That takes balls. In 20 years they can release a retro version – mini gone to that well maybe one time too many.

    As for the plethora of “ugly/aztec/joke/puke” comments – OK it’s subjective, but in every review they’re exactly the same – you guys bussed in or what.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      “As for the plethora of ‘ugly/aztec/joke/puke’ comments – OK it’s subjective, but in every review they’re exactly the same – you guys bussed in or what.”

      They’re exactly the same because the truth is consistent, and obvious in this case.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      “there is no retro here to inform the quirky design”…yes and no. Nissan was pretty much the king of Japanese quirk in the 70s(google Datsun F10), so one could say it’s mimicking the spirit of previous designs–not that there’s anything wrong with that. I have to admit it’s growing on me more and more, if these were around when we bought our Mini I might own one. Like many quirky cars, looks better in metallic colors than non. I saw a white one the other day, shouldn’t be legal.

    • 0 avatar
      MisterNoisy

      ‘As you can guess I like it. But what makes me like it more is that, unlike the mini and the 500, there is no retro here to inform the quirky design; it rises and falls on its own merits. That takes balls. In 20 years they can release a retro version – mini gone to that well maybe one time too many.

      As for the plethora of “ugly/aztec/joke/puke” comments – OK it’s subjective, but in every review they’re exactly the same – you guys bussed in or what.’

      I’m with you on this one – it’s definitely one of the strangest cars on the road today, both in terms of styling and it’s mission/niche, and for that I love ‘em.

      While there’s a bunch of people that dislike the looks, I love seeing these things zipping around – they’re so weird, I can’t help but be entertained by these quirky little cars. If you want the opposite of ‘beige’, this is definitely it.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    This deformed thing is beyond hideous. I wouldn’t care if it cost $10,000 and drove like a Porsche, I would not park a Nissan Puke in my driveway for fear of lowering my property value. Don’t know how the failure prone CVT is going to fare behind a turbo, either.

  • avatar
    cackalacka

    Yeah, I have to say, like a lot of Nissan products, it doesn’t check off a lot of my needs as a motorist.

    But that said, having passed the first one IRL the other day, it doesn’t look that bad in person. It is interesting; while it’s not my cup of tea I can respect Nissan for their experimentation. Who knows if it will age well, but I think the comparisons to the Aztek, a machine that you can’t be sure which end of Pontiac’s digestive system spawned it, are completely unfounded.

    And compared to the styling choices of the other major Japanese models (Crosstour, Venza, CR-Z, Mk8/9 Civics) this (despite all of its risk taking) the Juke is a handsome car.

  • avatar
    gessvt

    Excellent review.

    That said, if you simply MUST have a new, sporty, turbocharged smallish car with reasonable utility and have $21K, then fine. But a year-old WRX hatchback would be so much more car.

  • avatar
    cackalacka

    One more thing- a humble request for our hosts.

    For future reviews, since we live in the age of the highbelt-lines and 2-meter C-pillar; I know it would involve some degree of neck-craning, but will you consider taking a picture of the view out of the back window from the driver’s seat?

    This would be particularly useful for unconventional body-types like the Juke.

  • avatar
    ringomon

    Michael-

    May I suggest next time you are trying to squeeze your mountain bike into the back of a compact CUV, it’s much easier to remove the entire front wheel than just the tire alone. ;^)

    (Payback for all the pedantic car guy takedowns I’ve been the victim of for something slightly wrong I stated about the mechanicals of a car).

  • avatar
    Philosophil

    I like it. I wish the acceleration was more linear (I’m not fond of the slingshot effect), but I think it’s a fun little CUV/Hatch/Wagon thing. You people need to get over your queasiness about amphibians.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    The Juke does nothing for me. I’ll take the Cube any day, which I remarked on another thread this morning. I’m sure it has its fans, but it just appears too “blind” to me, to see out of safely, that is. To me, it has caught the Mazda disease – too many humps, lumps and bumps which also translate into an equally cramped interior, which denies the utility you’d expect from the outside dimensions of the cabin.

    • 0 avatar
      Philosophil

      I agree that it’s not the perfect marriage of form and function (too much form and not enough function) and visibility is not great, but there’s still something about it that I like. It’s definitely a second vehicle if one has a family and such, but it’s a good alternative for someone looking for something sporty and quirky (and who tends to be attracted to things despite, or perhaps because of the fact that no one else likes them).

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      The Cube has better space utilization, better fuel mileage and looks better to some.

      But I’d take the Juke for the sportier driving characteristics, and let people outside the car worry about whether it looks good or not.

      This is the beauty of Nissan selling the Versa, Cube and Juke all on the same platform. You don’t have to like all three, just choose one.

      I think that for a $20-25k vehicle, the Juke offers a lot.

  • avatar
    don1967

    Good review Michael. Anyone who can weave a connection between a Toyota Celica All-Trac Turbo and a Pontiac Aztek deserves an award for sheer creativity. It actually succeeds in capturing the twisted essence of the Juke… the ugliest car I ever thought about owning.

  • avatar
    TAP

    Both Juke and Cube put smiles on my face.
    At least somebody is still taking chances, and I give ‘em a lot of credit for the effort.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    reeks personality? i think it just reeks. i really want to like this car. i like small tight cars, i like styling, i like all it stands for, but i can’t stand this car. its ugly in the extreme. I am always for cars that look good from the inside first – when u buy the thing, u are inside it after all – not outside any more – but i would need to look at it in the driveway. Much like the Acura’s beak front, it’s frightening. I can’t even look at it. It would scare me at night.
    I suppose i could say “nice try” to Nissan/Renault, but other than exotic visual distraction on the streets of Paris, or a charmingly odd rental, this car is hideous to me. Please make it go away, or at least pay for drinks and dinner in the premier arronndesment. Merci.

  • avatar
    slow kills

    I am very concerned about cars being bought and driven by the blind.

  • avatar
    Acc azda atch

    Whats wrong with torque steer?

    I can think of a dozen problems this damn thing has…

  • avatar
    FromaBuick6

    There are prettier vehicles, more practical vehicles, and sportier vehicles. But the Juke is an interesting package: It’s unique, it offers a bit of hatchback practicality, it’s apparently kinda fun to drive, its relatively cheap and offers good mileage. I wouldn’t buy one, but I can see the appeal.

  • avatar
    newfdawg

    In regard to the Juke(or Puke), the styling department at Nissan must have all set around a table one night, held hands and conducted a seance to successfully contact the spirit of Salvadore Dali and ask guidance for styling. This thing is beyond ugly, I beg Mr. Dali to return from the grave and take this abomination with him.

  • avatar
    Pinzgauer

    I bought one of these a month ago and love it. I’m 5’11/250 and I fit in it just fine. Initally I thought it was ugly, but when I saw it in person and then drove it I fell in love. For me its the perfect commuter car because it has power, gets decent mileage, and handles great. I have the FWD CVT S model and I paid 17,800. I dont think there is any other new car that comes close in value for what it is. I looked at SX4 but it is just too boring for me.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    Another great review, Michael. But I’d really prefer to read a Farago-style bash on this one.

  • avatar
    shaker

    The Nissan Juke: Official Car of The Island of Misfit Toys.

    I’m sure that it has its good points, but thank heaven it’s too small for me to even consider, because after 4-5 beers, it starts to look OK.

  • avatar
    jdmcomp

    I some times get the feeling that all of the auto writers online are under the age of 21. Seems they have no memory of cars produced in the past or care to look them up. I have one word for you

    I-zzu-zu

    Look it up. Sports SUV. They already failed with that concept.

  • avatar
    Philosophil

    @jdmcomp
    Just because an idea flopped in the past doesn’t mean it will always flop. Different times, different attitudes, different technologies, different manufacturer, and so on can sometimes make all the difference.

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    I wouldn´t say that it´s pretty, but i rather have this than a geriatric cookie cutter small sedan.

    • 0 avatar
      Acc azda atch

      Buckshot:

      I can think of a few hatches in the C segment Id rather have, than that damn dirtbox.

      Mazda3hatch
      VERSA is still absolutely so damn gutless
      Focus hatch

  • avatar
    flatout05

    Michael, you seem to describe power oversteer when driving offroad in the Juke. Kudos to you for being surprised by this – because simple physics tells us power oversteer is impossible in a front-drive car.

    Or am I misreading? If it’s more of a steady-state-throttle oversteer, that would be rare in a modern production car, where understeer is the rule, but would at least be feasible.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      Maybe the rear doesn’t have enough camber? Or the toe settings are too low?

    • 0 avatar

      I suspect a combination of rear suspension geometry (can’t guess at the specifics), a slightly high center of gravity, and a lightly loaded rear end. Not hard enough on the throttle to count as power oversteer, just enough to accelerate mildly through the turn. (You can’t accelerate aggressively while turning in a FWD JUKE–the inside front wheel will simply spin.) So essentially steady state oversteer under certain conditions (taking a turn fairly quickly on a dirt road, would expect the same with snow and possibly also rain).

      I’ve also experienced steady state oversteer in some Toyota SUVs. This is the behavior that Consumer Reports slammed the Lexus LX for. But those vehicles aren’t marketed as performance vehicles. Just a high center of gravity, soft suspension, and mass that overloads the outside rear tire in hard turns. I think the factors are different with the JUKE.

  • avatar
    Thinx

    Though the styling is not to my personal taste for understatement, Nissan deserves credit for building this. A lot of the styling is actually functional (e.g. fender top mounted turn signals). There are plenty of boring drone-mobiles out there, good to see something distinctive.

  • avatar
    william442

    Torque steer? Is that what made the rear end of my big block 442 jump sideways when I was in a hurry? We thought it was fun.
    We drove one Saturday, pretty cool.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Its just so butt ugly. Right engine, wrong vehicle. I’ve got a sporty turbo hatchback… done right – a Volvo C30. Does anyone really need the extra ground clearance of this thing? If so wouldn’t they be better served with an offering from Subbie? Personally I’d wait for a Veloster.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    The true Chihuahua of cute utes with Arnold Schwarzenegger biceps thrown in. It’s quite comical to look at.

  • avatar
    jayjan

    I just test drove the Nissan Juke and loved it. I love the styling and fits me perfectly. Now I am looking for a deal on one- they did not have the color I wanted so i did not buy one today, but after looking for months at hundreds of different cars and suvs, the Juke has got my approval- just a sharp looking sporty SUV.


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