The diminutive Nissan Juke is all-new for 2011. The crossover rides on the chassis employed by both the Versa and the Cube, and power comes from Nissan’s new direct-injection turbocharged 1.6L 4-cylinder, which puts out a strong 188 hp. The Juke is offered in both front- and all-wheel drive, and front-wheel drive models equipped with the continuously variable transmission return 27 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway.
The growing crossover segment is creating a competition among auto manufacturers of who could best balance the conflicting components of small yet roomy, powerful yet fuel efficient and sporty yet rugged. Nissan, long famous for both athletic and tough vehicles, seems to have hit all the buttons with the new Juke. The car’s small-car origins mean it is ideal as an around-town cruiser and easy to park, yet its all-wheel drive capabilities will allow you to leave the city behind. Rivals like the Suzuki SX4 can’t match the Juke for performance, and its distinctive looks mean that it will surely turn heads.
The new Nissan Juke is about as small a car as you are likely to find in the crossover class. Its car-based origins can be traced to the chassis shared by both the Versa and the Cube, and yet its potent little engine is all-new. The Juke has a 99.6-inch wheelbase and 162-inch overall length, which actually makes it smaller than the Versa 5-door. The Juke is propelled by Nissan’s new direct-injected 1.6L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. The little unit is good for a sprightly 188 hp and 177 lb-feet of torque. Jukes come standard with front-wheel drive, and torque-vectoring all-wheel drive optional. Nissan mated the vehicle to either an Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with a Sport mode, or, in front-wheel drive models–a 6-speed manual. Jukes handle great, thanks to MacPherson struts up front and either a rear torsion beam setup on front-wheel drive models or a multi-link setup on all-wheel drive models.
Three trim levels are offered: S, SV and SL. Standard equipment on the S includes 17-inch alloy wheels, power mirrors, windows and locks, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, air conditioning, tilt steering column, steering wheel-mounted cruise and audio controls, 12v outlets, manual front seat adjustability and a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo with MP3 capability and iPod interface. SV models with the CVT add Nissan’s Integrated Control system (I-CON), which allows drivers to set the transmission’s response, steering input and throttle response to one of three modes-Sport, Normal or Eco. SVs also get rear privacy glass, automatic temperature control, push-button ignition, XM satellite radio, premium suede-tricot cloth seating and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The SL gets fog lights, auto on/off headlights, a touch-screen navigation system, XM NavTraffic, a rear back-up camera, heated leather front seats and a premium stereo with Rockford Fosgate subwoofer. Navigation is available as a package, as are special exterior and interior treatments through the Sport Accessory and Chrome Accessory packages. Safety features standard to all Juke models include dual-stage front airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags and front and rear side curtain airbags. Stability and traction control are also standard, as are 4-wheel anti-lock brakes with brake assist and electronic brake force distribution.