2012 Nissan JUKE

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2011 Nissan Juke — Flash Drive

This 2011 review is representative of model years 2011 to 2014.
By Staff of MSN Autos

I really like the idea of the Nissan Juke, or at least what I thought was the idea behind the Juke: a fun, frugal, compact in-city car that can also double as your all-wheel-drive safety blanket in the midst of winter. The Juke is fun and funky in appearance but extremely sensible in substance. Unfortunately, this tiny SUV doesn't deliver on the promise. Even switched to 2-wheel drive mode — and with the engine and transmission switched to eco mode, severely limiting acceleration — the Juke only returned about 22 mpg. There are larger, full-time all-wheel-drive wagons with fuel economy just as good. If the Juke offered just a little better fuel economy it would be a standout vehicle; instead, it's a bit offbeat and a bit of fun. What a missed opportunity for Nissan. – Paul Hagger

Nissan's new Juke doesn't look like anything else on the market, but this sporty, funky compact really surprised me — it drives more like a sports car than a utility vehicle. The heart of it all is a great new engine, a turbocharged 1.6-liter 188-horsepower inline-4 that delivers great power across a broad power band. Combined with a continuously variable transmission and all-wheel drive, the Juke is quick, responsive and really fun to drive. The AWD system can split torque front to rear but also distributes it from side to side at the rear, which really adds to a dynamic driving feel. The steering has a good feel and the suspension is sophisticated for a compact car. The unique styling and sporty theme carry over to the interior, with a painted center console, bold gauges and a brow over the gauge cluster. The Juke is a practical compact with distinctive styling that is really fun to drive. – Mike Meredith

If you want a vehicle that stands out from the crowd — that's what the Juke is all about. I'm not a fan of the style, but its uniqueness will appeal to some buyers. Because of its large wheels, the Juke looks small, but inside it is surprisingly roomy. Cargo space is especially large — with the rear seats folded it offers space on a par with vehicles much larger. With a powerful engine teamed with Nissan's excellent CVT, the Juke offers great performance; however, I would have expected better fuel economy. It's rated at 25 mpg city/30 mpg highway, but I was never able to get over 20 mpg. Handling is good, but I found the ride to be exceptionally stiff, to the point that I was uncomfortable after even a short ride. The Juke is definitely something different in a very crowded crossover market, but it isn't for everyone. – Perry Stern

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BB02 - 9/2/2014 5:18:35 AM