If you want don’t want to drive a gas-guzzling mammoth and still crave a vehicle with a sporty look/feel despite having to trade in your beloved sport compact for a crossover SUV, the 2011 Nissan Juke may be the perfect choice. Recently released, Nissan has found themselves with quite the hot item as dealers scramble to keep the Juke on the lot.
Part of the Juke’s appeal is the sporty look, both inside and out. Wanting to evoke as many motorsports images as possible, the Juke’s interior and exterior channels lines similar to that of a motorcycle/motorcycle helmet and a 1970s rally car’s headlights. Built on a subcompact platform shared by the Versa, Cube, and Leaf, the Juke proves to be nimble and as efficient as a subcompact but also utilitarian when needed with the AWD.
Host Ross Rappoport accurately describes the Juke’s 1.6L turbocharged engine as “the little engine that could”. The Juke is powered by a direct injected inline four-cylinder engine that produces 188 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque. While the Juke is offered with a six-speed manual transmission or CVT, the AWD is only available with CVT. However, even with the AWD, you still get good fuel economy, averaging 25 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. For your driving preferences you can also choose between three modes: eco, normal, and sport, with the throttle and transmission responses varying based on your selection. With the new torque-vectoring AWD system, the Juke’s handling and breaking is impressive in sticky situations as the Juke transfers power to the outside as needed.
Even with its styling and performance appeal, the Juke continues to surprise with luxury items you expect to pay a premium on. However, as our Juke test vehicle with AWD, backup camera, and traffic nav proves, you can have your cake and eat it too for a low price of $24,550.