By on August 14, 2013

jackinjuke

“I want a car,” I told Derek, “with a manual transmission. To take to Sebring. For the TrackGuys thing.”

“I’ll see what I can do,” the man said. And he did.

Manual transmission.

Turbocharged.

Cute-ute.

Subcompact cute-ute.

Be careful what you wish for, right?

juke2

It was a fairly ambitious plan: fly to Orlando, drive to Sebring, coach there with the TrackGuys, drive to Vero Beach, play some music, drive back, coach a second day, drive to Tampa, jump in the water, fly to Malaysia to run a time trial on the Sepang Formula One circuit. Normally I’d rent a Camry for track use as is my preference, but this being Florida and all I decided a little more style might be in order. Enter the Juke, in a shade of goldish yellow somewhat reminiscent of the unloved “bladder infection” Phoenix Yellow found on the E46 M3. The wheels, trim, and interior were all black. Under the Orlando sun, they all quickly became hot enough to melt Wolverine’s claws.

That led to Juke Surprise #1: the A/C was really strong for a car this size. It helps that the little Nissan has virtually no interior space. I only had one fellow-traveler for this segment of the trip: noted attorney/troublemaker/wedding singer Kat King. She had her airplane roll-on and a big Kate Spade purse. I had two beat-up carry-on Tumi totes, my jumbo Waterfield Mambo laptop cargo thing , and a 1991 Ovation Collectors’ Edition acoustic guitar in a hard case. With the rear seats folded and some innovative stacking, everything fit. Barely. As in don’t-recline-your-seat-to-nap-between-track-sessions barely. The Juke just manages to squeak past my Porsche 993 for cargo-area honors.

It’s a small car. You understand that, because you’ve seen them on the road. And it looks odd, we don’t need to belabor that, this ain’t no Vellum Venom and I won’t change your mind on the car either way. Now hear this: on the road, the Juke works. It works very well, in all the ways you want a car to work well. Stereo: Excellent. Controls: Legible! And fun, thanks to the odd center-stack configuration that allows you to control the HVAC or the “sport mode”. Visibility: Outstanding to the front, with visible corners, and not abysmal to the back — although if your Juke has the reversing camera, you’ll use it. The six-speed is long and light of throw and the clutch is a bit grabby for my tastes. It’s good enough and in this day and age it’s worth some gratitude to Nissan for offering it.

The CUV driving position is a help in mild traffic and while negotiating various toll plazas/ATMs/drive-throughs. The seats are outstanding for long drives, and I tested that with four two-plus-hour sessions behind the wheel. As a way for two people to get around the city and down the freeway, the Juke is almost faultless. The engine has enough power for passing situations. Around town, it feels positively burly. I’d sure have liked to have seen this drivetrain in the the previous Versa. Call it the Versa SE-R GT-R Spec V or something just to make the basement-dwelling otaku break their fingers complaining to the Internet.

Back to the Juke. It feels premium when you’re bopping around town in it, which is just as well because it costs premium money. You can spend $27,000 on a FWD Juke pretty easily. For that kind of money, you can get a V-6 Mustang that will rip the Juke’s lungs out and back over them while playing “Radar Love” on the Shaker 500 sound system. But this is ridiculous, because nobody compares a Juke to Mustangs.

Where were we? Oh yes, I was taking the Juke to Sebring for a Mustang-centric trackday. The TrackGuys, led by head instructor Jeff Lacina, operate open-lapping events in Texas and Florida for a crowd that mostly consists of Ford fanatics with superchargers and rollcages and Hoosier tires and sometimes all of the above. I had my doubts when I arrived there and saw the crowd because a lot of Mustang owners tend to be fairly Stone Age in their approach to everything from hygiene to on-track courtesy but this group was virtually beyond reproach in all regards. The event was run with considerable attention to safety and driver development. I was proud and pleased to join their group of captive instructors for the weekend.

TrackGuys is recommended almost without reservation. I say “almost” for a couple of reasons. The first is that the the instructors’ meeting was concluded with a prayer that was in no way non-denominational. The second is that there’s a fairly serious flag ceremony complete with a recognition of veterans at the event and featuring Lacina belting out “America The Beautiful” in a robust baritone. I like that sort of stuff; although I was born in Brooklyn to educated, reasonably progressive parents I’m a bit of a redneck in many ways and my only regret concerning the religious and patriotic content was that Lacina wouldn’t let me sing the National Anthem myself and do the Whitney warble. Bearded, Teva-shod, Subaru-driving Trotsky-ites, however, and I know you’re out there, should consider themselves warned; this ain’t the place to start talking about progressive politics, checking privilege, or disrespecting: the risen Christ, the United States Army Special Forces, the modular 4.6-liter Ford V-8, or any potential combination thereof. Lacina and his co-owner, Dell Hughes, are both approximately as large and strong as lowland gorillas and are not to be trifled with.

Naturally, one of the first things I did when I got there was trifle with them, by sneaking an extra passenger into the Juke and running it around Sebring like a Ring taxi. I was flagged on the second lap. I came in very contritely. Lacina agreed to not beat me to death. I agreed not to do it again unless I thought he wasn’t looking.

How was the Juke on-track? Well, compared to the 600-wheel-horsepower Terminator Cobras and American-Iron-prep S197s it was a rolling chicane. Against intermediate-level drivers in stock Mustang GTs, it made a pretty good account of itself. Turn One is a blind romp across broken concrete and here you can pitch the Juke up on three wheels with a strong dose of trail-braking. It will wag the tail but it won’t threaten you with any seriousness. The high-mount driving position doesn’t feel too bad on-track. It pleases me greatly to note that it’s more pleasant and competent in pretty much every non-measurable way than, say, a Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, even if it doesn’t demolish the quarter-mile or have twenty hydraulic pistons to squeeze massive Brembo rotors. The brakes, as a matter of fact, require some looking after or there will be consequences…

Steering’s good even if it’s a bit remote. You can place the car pretty accurately and you can feel the curbs fight back against the tires. The Juke has oversized rolling stock which imparts an odd sense of inertia to it. The above-mentioned Camry SE definitely feels more flingable in that sense. Sharp left-right transitions are accompanied by a tiny frisson of is it gonna roll and guess what, it’s not going to roll, I tried pretty hard to get it up on two wheels and honestly there isn’t enough grip from the Goodyears to make it happen, even with the short wheelbase. In fact, you can really lean on the front tires more than you really should. It’s exceptionally quick through “Sunset Bend”, turn 17, because you can trust your ability to rotate the car with strong on-off motions of the throttle. Just fly by the corner worker at full throttle, stomp the brake, let it slide a bit, then lean on that outside wheel. When you see the front straight, lift quickly to rotate again then floor the gas and let the primitive comp-u-traction pull you to the exit. The turbo engine is remarkably heat-resistant, too. It’s just a really sound design in that respect.

Unfortuantely, the Juke has one major flaw as a track rat. Well, one flaw besides being a CUV, you know. It’s possible to turn off the ESC, but the traction control and various systems still try to intervene at times. Over the course of ten or fifteen laps spent chasing a normally aspirated New Edge Cobra and screaming “GET OVER HERE!” in your helmet like Scorpion the Mortal Kombat ninja, the brakes will overheat from this. When that happens, the ABS light will come on and the DSC light will come on and other various lights will come on. And then you will not have ABS. But you won’t know that until you smoke all four tires at 100+ miles per hour and put the Juke way sideways on a floating magic carpet of expensive rubber dust. This will have your full attention and the full attention of the two passengers you managed to sneak past the flaggers. And that means playtime is over.

On the way from Sebring to Vero Beach, we got somewhat lost and found ourselves with the needle past “E” and no gas stations on Google Maps within thirty-plus miles as the crow flew. That’s Central Florida for you. The only option was to keep looking until we found something. Nearly fifty miles later we found someone who stumbled out of their house trailer, took a padlock off an old mechanical pump, and dispensed two gallons of mystery fuel in exchange for a round ten dollars. That took the Juke all the way to the ocean, where I unpacked the Ovation, faced the waves, and played The Lumineers:

Be in my eye
Be in my heart
Be in my eye… ay-ay-ay
Be in my heart

Late in the evening, as the Juke rolled silent and strong back across the swamplands, with Kat nearly asleep and the moon visible in the glass panel, with the center stack glowing white in non-sporty mode and Kenny Garrett playing “Equinox” through the iPod, I realized that I was about as content as I’d be in, say, a 3-Series BMW coupe. The Juke feels special pretty much all the time. It’s a contrived kind of special, it’s an in-your-face kind of special, but it’s still special. Recommended, with two caveats: watch the dash lights on-track and don’t expect anyone else to understand, okay?

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63 Comments on “Track Tested: 2013 Nissan Juke SL FWD Manual Transmission...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    It doesn’t look that odd sitting next to a Crosscabriolet

  • avatar
    Austin Greene

    Is this the automotive equivalent of fat chicks have really good personality and know how to keep their man happy?

    • 0 avatar
      TonyJZX

      its like a moped

      strangely fun to ride but you wouldn’t want your mates to see you on it

      are we still talking mopeds and jukes or fat chicks?

      hmm…

    • 0 avatar
      kuponoodles

      I think the Juke is more like that quirky looking girl from high school, the one that isn’t hot but isn’t fugly, yet most guys won’t ask her out…. but once you get inside…… “giggity giggity goo, all right”

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    I might start going to back to Catholic mass if the Holy Trinity becomes Jesus, US Special Forces, and the Ford 4.6L Modular V8. Brings back memories of Fort Benning though.

    In the name of the US Special Forces, the son, and the holy Ford 4.6L Modular V8, amen. May the Panther platform be with you.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    aargh can’t believe I missed you guys in my hometown and at my “home track”! We shoulda done a go kart day haha

  • avatar
    Jellodyne

    Hey Jack, don’t you have a jacket that color?

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I wonder how the new Mazda3 2.5 would stack up. I feel like it would be a better car for less money.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Forget the Versa, Jack. If they put this engine trans combo in the new Sentra, we’d really have something.

  • avatar
    Cubista

    “…1991 Ovation Collectors’ Edition acoustic…”

    Oh, the irony of a manual transmission-loving driving enthusiast playing a plastic guitar.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Okay, now you gave me an excuse to talk about my wooden acoustics. I have:

      * Martin D-41
      * Martin 000-15M
      * 1974 Gibson J-40
      * Ren Ferguson era Gibson Doves In Flight, which is my total baller-status-show-off-to-girls guitar.

      But I travel with the Ovation. It stays in tune, you can’t break it, and nobody wants to steal it. Also, Glen Campbell played “Rhinestone Cowboy” on one.

      • 0 avatar
        Cubista

        Glen Campbell was an absolute stud of a player, no question. I don’t mind Ovations, myself…I think I’ve owned at least one…no, two. Make that three, if you count the Applause classical I had in college.
        But it is fair to say that the merits of the Ovation are debated among guitarists about as frequently as those of the dual-clutch gearbox among car lovers.

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          Agreed. I don’t necessarily like the sound of the thing unplugged and plugged-in it’s a quacker. On the positive side, the action is low and it stays where you put it.

          At the price I paid for it (well under a grand, used) it’s a great way to keep my dreadnoughts out of the sun and aircraft cargo compartments. When I go to record something, I use my D-41 unless I know I’m going to get all angry and use it as a percussion instrument in which case it’s that J40 with the volute and the three-piece neck and the Brookyln-bridge bracing :)

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    Super interesting perspective review, thanks. I am surprised at the brakes overheating, but I guess that would be very unlikely with everyday use. Something to watch for on a mountain pass decent though?

  • avatar
    J.Emerson

    In just a rough estimate, what kind of gas mileage did you get out of it for the not-on-track parts?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Easily 30mpg.

      • 0 avatar
        Cubista

        That’s liveable enough for a car of this class, I reckon. Not as good as what I get, but then I’m NA and somewhat less sporty by design.

        I am evolving to liking this car. I told myself when I bought my Cube in early 2012 there was no way I’d consider the Juke if the Cube wasn’t sold here. Now it seems inevitable that the Cube isn’t long for the USDM and the idea of trading it back to the dealer for a Juke (especially in NISMO trim) actually sounds pretty good.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    I too am sorry I missed that event, I was looking forward to your assistance in improving my somewhat poor track skills! Hopefully you will be back to Sebring, the TrackGuys have events fairly often.

    I still don’t get all the hate for the Juke. Its unique and interesting, the proportions and stance gives it a sporty and muscular appearance. I am glad Nissan had the guts to offer something other than the copycat designs of every other CUV. Even if you don’t like the over-styled looks, there are tons of choices with more traditional styling, and I just don’t see whats so UGLY about it.

    • 0 avatar
      SoCalledMillennial

      Styling doesn’t bother me either, in fact I think it’s pretty interesting looking. I sat in one at the SF auto show last year. You know how some purpose built cars, when you sit in them, just impart this desire to drive them? Sort of like a Porsche, or a Miata? Well the Juke really gave me that feeling… more so than almost any other vehicle at the show. Great seats, good seating position, controls very close, tight dimensions. I’d LOVE to drive one. Kind of a shame you can’t get AWD with the manual.

      • 0 avatar
        Russycle

        I can’t see how Jack got a manual SL. According to Nissan’s configurator, only the Nismo trim level gets a 6-speed. Checked a bunch of local dealer inventories, and none has a manual in any trim level.

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    A miracle. You mentioned God and the Flag and don’t have squirrels from both sides hitting you with knee jerk reactions. Oh well. There is a lot of time left.

    I like this car but my taste buds are notably aberrant.

    • 0 avatar
      afflo

      Hah!

      They yammer like a bad Toby Keith song and then offer you a deal on track days. That’s OK. They’re not hurting anything, and not interfering with anyone.

      It’s when they yammer and think of reasons that I can’t buy beer on Sunday morning that I have a problem with them.

      | would love to take one of these for a test drive, but I’ve sworn off test drives. Car and bike are paid off, as well as my wife’s car. I’d rather spend money on world travel than new cars, ya know? One $20,000 car could eaasily be 2-3 trips to Europe!

    • 0 avatar
      toxicroach

      It’s a cute idea. It’s just kind of a car that makes almost no sense.

      It’s not a practical car because its so small, in daily driving I wasn’t impressed by its sportiness, it’s shockingly expensive for what amounts of a juiced up Honda Fit. It’s a car where there’s something better for whatever you want, and it probably costs less too.

      • 0 avatar
        kvndoom

        If you believe in low-mileaged used, there are good deals to be had on pre-owned Jukes. Ours is a 2011 SL 6-speed, and we got it in February of this year with only 13k on the odo, for 17 grand + TTL. I check cars.com periodically, and it looks like ours was the outlier on the low side, but I’m sure there are deals to be made.

  • avatar
    probert

    Test drove one and absolutely loved it; agile,taught, and quick. (everything the Mazda 3 I drove wasn’t) A lot of power through the front wheels makes it tough to get rolling without chirping the tires.

    • 0 avatar
      vvk

      Wow, finally, another person who thinks Mazda3 is terribly overrated!

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        He’s not the only one. I’ve driven a number of them, and have been underwhelmed by them all.

        The Juke is just too weird for me, and I like French cars…

      • 0 avatar
        afflo

        I’ve only driven a rental-spec ’13 Mazda3. I had it for a month, and put about 2000 miles on it during that time. There were some strong points:

        - Steering feel was good, and it felt great going around a clover leaf.
        - It was quiet inside.
        - Fuel economy was pretty good.

        On the downside, it was sluggish and paired to a horrid automatic (again, base engine with a slushbox).
        I hated the driving position – the windows and windshield felt huge, almost like a small SUV, rather than sitting down into the car. I prefer a low seat and high beltline in a car, so this is personal preference to large extent, but it seems that automakers are making their small cars sit taller and taller for a more ‘commanding’ view of the road.

        The seats were awful. The footwell was cramped, and my knee was constantly hitting the console.

        The surprising part for me is how much LESS I liked it than it’s 1st cousin, the Ford Focus.

        I’m enjoying this blog entry and the resulting conversation immensely. I find it amusing how often commenters learn of an owner’s enjoyment of a vehicle, and try to talk them down, or talk them out of it. If I gave credence to every whiny talk-back comment, I’d never have even test-driven my current car (’11 Scion tC), and wouldn’t have found that it fit what I wanted in a car. I’ve put 47,000 miles on it, paid it off in two years, and plan to drive it for ~10 years or so. Hopefully I’ll still be able to find a compact, economical, fun-to-drive stick-shift with real back seat at that time, but I’m not holding my breath. Cars like the Juke give me hope.

  • avatar
    SW_RTR

    I’m so happy to see a positive review of the Juke.

    We bought a 2012 SL model for my wife last year (yeah… $27,000 on a Juke. It can be done! Ask me how!) , and she absolutely loves it. I think she’d give it a kiss and tuck it into bed every night if I let her.

    It seems like at least once a week, we get a random person walking up to us in a parking lot or a gas station asking questions about her Juke. To a person, they call it the “cutest thing they’ve ever seen!!!” I guess the folks, like my own brother, who see the Juke as “that hideous thing that looks like an ill frog” never say anything. Oddly enough, most of the admirers seem to be older (65+) folks looking for something smaller and more fuel-efficient than whatever land-barge they have now. This leads invariably to my wife talking about all the things she love about her Juke, and me explaining that the mileage, while better than an F150, isn’t nearly as good as what you’d expect from a car so small.

    All that being said, after a year of Juke ownership, I’m not at all surprised how well it does on the track. She traded an RX350 (her words: “The MOST BORING CAR I’VE EVER DRIVEN) for that Juke, and before that, she drove a Miata every day for 5 years. While the Juke is no Miata (Cue remorseful sigh from me. How I loved that car!), it does handle surprisingly, extremely well. It feels more powerful than you’d expect, given the specifications, but it could use another 20-30 HP, in my opinion. In the wife’s, it’s perfect. It’s the closest she could find with a high seating position and room for our 7-year-old since the Miata. That’s saying a lot, I think.

    • 0 avatar
      cpthaddock

      Great perspective! I came around to the + side on the Juke after seeing how well the whole package fits together, inside and out, provided you don’t linger too long at the front end :)

  • avatar

    My wife fell in love with the Juke at the 2010 LA auto show. I fell in love with it shortly after driving it. Nothing as animated as the above, but it certainly makes in-town commutes and road trips fun.

    We’ve had our FWD CVT Juke two years and 30,000 miles, now.

    Put four adults in it (restrict their luggage to a laptop bag each), set the cruise control to 85mph, and effortlessly pass everything in your path on a 3-hour jaunt up into the mountains.

    Top off the tank at the top and observe less than 20mpg driving like that, but then strike out across the flatlands at the same speed, with the same load, select “Eco Mode” from the center stack, and watch the DTE display climb for an hour. Easily 35mpg.

    Change the oil. Rotate the tires. Annual air filter replacement. Not a single problem with it. I enjoyed reading something thoughtful, original, and intelligent about the Juke for once.

    Thanks, Jack.

  • avatar
    Joss

    I actually saw one in the metal the other day and I live in a major metropolis. These things are not selling stuck in purgatory. Focus ST different beast – more handsome choice.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Another great review.

    I’m sympathetic to the Juke’s looks now that I drive a Leaf – and earlier, an xB1. Some day I’ll drive a handsome car again.

    “…this ain’t the place to start talking about progressive politics, checking privilege, or disrespecting: the risen Christ, the United States Army Special Forces, the modular 4.6-liter Ford V-8, or any potential combination thereof.” LOVE IT.

  • avatar
    ajla

    But you didn’t have time to go to the pretzel store in the mall.

  • avatar
    juicy sushi

    I love these reviews because they remind me that the driver, not the car is still the most important feature. And they also remind me that there is a surprising amount of fun baked into an awful lot of the non-enthusiast “mundane” cars which the majority of car journalists like to trash.

    I hate CUV/Cross-overs/SUV’s, but for some reason really like the Juke. I just wonder how much better one would be when stuck at sedan height. Still, I may have to look into one, as there don’t seem to be enough of them on the road, and it’s a shame, as it’s at least got some fun to it.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    I had been waiting ages for Jack to finally get his hands on this car! If it was ugly AND drove like a dog, I’d hate it, but the function more than makes up for the form.

    Such a well-mannered car for everyday use too. Fun to drive, and loaded with premium features you can’t usually get with a stick shift at this price point. So of course 2013 is the final year of the 6MT SL. Sucks, but a few engine mods can make these real ugly-duckling sleepers. If we keep it for the long run I might make it my weekend toy and project. Verdict’s still out due to the limited cargo space though. At the very least we’ll have it 2.5 more years regardless.

    How did you like the stereo, Jack? I was surprised at its quality for a factory system. The A-pillar tweeters are a bit too bright for me, but beyond that I haven’t felt the need to replace anything. It even gets right loud if you want it.

    Cons, based on my 6 months and counting:

    Storage space. 2-person vacation, fold down the back seat and it’s perfect. 4-person vacation, we will be renting a bigger car. :(

    Heated mirrors not available in the US. You can, however order them through a Nissan dealer parts person. Some industrious folks on jukeforums.com found the part # from Canadian models. Works plug and play.

    Armrest not standard factory equipment. Even weirder omission than the heated mirrors, regardless of whether you drive stick or slush. Now sold as a nearly $300 option. Umph.

    HVAC system in winter time. I know this car was designed and marketed for the ladies, and the ladies like it toasty in their cars in winter, but this is nuts. The HVAC doesn’t exactly blow air based on the temperature you set. It bases it on the set temperature vs outside temperature. So if it’s 35 degrees outside, and you set the car to a mild 68, it will blow air that’s much too warm to my liking. In fact, all the way down to 61 degrees I find it uncomfortably warm, if the outside temperature is lower. When we first got the car (mid-February) I thought something was broken! We’d take trips and I’d constantly cycle the AC between 60 and 61 degrees! 60 is the only setting true to the cause- it blows COLD air. Put it at 61 and the air from the vents is probably 10 to 15 degrees warmer than at 60. No happy medium!

    Typical winter road trip in the Juke:

    Girlfriend and daughters: “you’ve got the AC set on 61! We’re going to freeze to death in this car!”
    Me: “um, are you cold right now?”
    Females: “…no…”
    Me: “okay then”

    • 0 avatar
      darex

      I noticed that the auto-climate was weird in the way you mentioned too, not to mention very loud.

      In my previous car, a MINI Cooper, it was accurate and pretty unobtrusive. It just handled the function without drama.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    It’s sad to see the manual is now exclusive to the Nismo line. But I suppose the market has spoken – manual are a premium(ish) feature.

    I wonder if this type of optioning will spread.

  • avatar
    Scribe39

    So, does the term “Juke Joint” refer to the mechanicals on this car?

  • avatar
    Pinzgauer

    Count me in as another Juke owner who loves their car. 2011 Juke S CVT FWD. Cheapest Juke on the lot at $17,900, but it came with so much standard I didn’t see a need for any upper models or options. Handles great, accelerates well, and have been very reliable. 57k miles and no issues to report. I don’t think I could have done better at that price point.

  • avatar
    darex

    What? No mention of the horrible (disturbing) turbo-lag? That and the uncomfortable seats, and the terrible fuel-economy (coupled with a tiny tank), caused me to unload my Juke SL w/MT, after only 11 months.

  • avatar
    thekevinmonster

    As an owner of a 2012 Juke SV FWD manual, it’s a pretty cool car. It’s fun to drive and it’s unique, and anyone who screams about how they hate it and call it the Nissan Joke and Puke and whatever is probably just feeling bad about themselves.

    But, it has some big shortcomings. The big shortcomings are:

    - Not as practical as it probably could be. There just isn’t a lot of cargo, or human space, especially in the back seat.
    - Obnoxious boost threshold. Before the turbo spools up at 2700-ish RPM, you have no power. Sometimes, this is extremely apparent, like put-your-foot-through-the-firewall-and-nothing-happens-forever apparent. If you keep the engine revved above 2700 RPM, you have buckets of power and there’s no ‘lag’ in terms of the turbo spinning up more. As a result, one generally has to gun the crap out of the engine to take off, especially when turning out into traffic, and first is short so that means a real tough 1-2 shift. The boost threshold also makes driving moderately somewhat difficult, since the boost ‘hits’ just when you want to upshift, and it tends to make you buck back and forth. You either have to stay revved higher, or really really stay out of the boost.
    - The ride is terrible, but not cheap tin can terrible. There’s road noise but it’s mostly a rumble, and there’s wind noise, but it’s not that bad. Certainly nothing like a first-gen Scion, no clanks and bangs. But the suspension is stiff in a painfully weird way – I can drive over a gravel road and it’s quite pleasant, but pavement cracks really jam through, and uneven pavement really throws one’s upper body around. The seats aren’t well bolstered, you sit upright, and the wheelbase is short with high-ish ground clearance. As a result, your head is thrown around and cornering makes you feel like you’ll fall out of the seat.

    In Michigan, with our bad roads, I’m a hair away from trading my Juke in due to the ride. I thought I could live with it, but I fear I cannot.

    If Nissan got the suspension damping sorted out and put in seats with better bolstering support, it’d be a much, much, much better car.

  • avatar
    SFbags

    Great post, Jack. Thanks very much for the WaterField Designs Cargo bag mention. Cheers!


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