You either love or hate the looks of the Nissan Juke. I have heard the Juke described as a “Horny Toad on four wheels,” which is pretty accurate. The subcompact hatchback segment was pretty boring before it came along. Introduced just last year, the Juke is what Nissan calls an “Urban Sport Cross,” or cross between a hatchback and a CUV. The Juke has polarizing looks, but is actually fun to drive.
Like Me, the Juke’s most endearing qualities are not its looks, but its quick handling and brisk performance. Steering is quick and precise, the suspension is firm, and the 188hp turbocharged four cylinder engine makes it a kick to drive. The Juke is at home being driven hard on some twisty roads. Fuel economy is impressive at 25 mpg city and 31mpg hwy.
My test Juke was the SV trim level. It had some goodies such as keyless ignition-entry, leather-wrapped steering wheel, SAT radio, automatic climate control, and Nissan’s I-Con system. There is an optional low cost NAV system that I recommend getting.
As much as I like the Juke, there are some things that it could do better. First of all, if you aren’t driving aggressively, the firm ride can become annoying. The interior has a little bit too much hard plastic inside. And, behind the second row of seats, the storage space sometimes falls short of your needs.
Safety wise, the Juke’s comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, and air bags all around. NHTSA gives it a 4 out of 5 star rating for overall crash protection.
Engine: 188 hp 1.6 liter 4 cylinder
Transmission: 6 Spd MT or CVT
Highest MPG City/MPG Highway: 25/31 for the MT
Trim Designations: S, SV and SL
Base Price: $19,990 $22,015 as tested
What I Liked: Performance and MPG
What I Would Change: More power plugs!!! Only has 1 (shame!)
Star Rating: 3.75 out of 5