1.6 L DIG Turbo I4 - Xtronic CVT
188 hp @ 5,600 rpm
177 lb-ft @ 1,600 – 5,200 rpm
The word “Juke” is originally an African-American word commonly used in Florida and in the south east United States. It is from way back in the olden days referring to a roadside rural establishment offering booze, dancing, gambling, and prostitution. Although it sounds like a lot of fun (for all you single guys), I’m pretty sure that wasn’t Nissan’s intention while they were naming their sub-compact crossover. They were probably referring to the alternate meaning of the word; to zigzag or outmaneuver an opponent.
This Nissan creation is all about the crossover segment mixing the sporty soul of a sedan with the look of an SUV and all built on the company’s long standing B-platform. From its inception, back in 2011, the designers of the Juke successfully combined the chemistry needed to put a fun driving experience in it and combine it with funky styling that would definitely attract some attention. The 2015 Juke SL comes with the original 1.6L direct injection gasoline turbo 16-Valve aluminum block motor that still outputs 188HP and 177 lb-ft torque. However, this year’s revised motor claims to improve responsiveness and fuel efficiency. Its comes in a front wheel drive and an all-wheel drive version along with a stack of featured goodies.
Nissan really hit a few key notes on this car with its unique sports car like appearance by using the coupe style descending roof line, a sleek body and an aggressive stance. The key concept here is that this initial attempt to style the Juke between a crossover and a sedan produced a big bang resulting in this cool and funky looking rally inspired crossover SUV. The Juke incorporates the VMotion styled front grille and integrated boomerang LED accent lamps with big round lights just beneath them, just as you would find them in a rally car. By blending in the rear door handles, I would say it almost looks like a coupe as at first glance you can’t tell if there are rear doors or not. The centre console was inspired by a motorcycle using the design of the chassis and gas tank running between the driver and passenger seats. That could only remind me of the times I would be riding my bike but slide off hitting my groin area on the centre handle bar…needless to say I wasn’t a huge fan of the design. Fit was good but finish could use improvement as some bits didn’t match up perfectly. Overall, it felt very solid with no noticeable squeaks or rattles while driving.
The driving position was proper and sporty while at the same time I discovered the seats were really comfortable and reminded me of the zero G seats used in the Jukes cousin, the Nissan Murano. The seats featured red stitching all around giving me the impression I wasn’t in anything cheap but that didn’t match the fabric door panels. On the go, you soon realize that the seats needed a bit more support on the sides to match the sporty handling of the Juke. I felt like I was getting thrown around from left to right on quick turns and my back is not tiny. For the size of the car it actually wasn’t crammed in the driver and front passenger seats, but the back seat was another story. A full blown 3-stage baby seat would fit in quite easily and my 18 month old complained that there was no leg room by constantly kicking the back of the seat. Being over 6 feet tall, my seat was all the way back and left barely enough space for my older daughter, so if a six-year-old is not comfortable, lets not even talk about an adult. Getting in and out of the Juke was amazingly easy due to the ride height of the Juke and the size of the driver and passenger side doors were made for big clunky guys like me, which also helps prevent bumping your head while getting in and out of the car.
In terms of features, the Juke did not fall short on the list available and I would even say that falls on par with what I would expect in a car at this price range. The SL AWD Juke included the following goodies:
- Remote keyless entry
- Push button start
- Tiptronic CVT transmission
- Around view camera with Moving Object Detection (M.O.B)
- Bluetooth Phone connectivity
- Bluetooth Audio
- Nissan Connected Apps
- 5.8 Inch display
- Steering wheel controls with Bluetooth voice recognition
- Rockford Fosgate Audio System
- USB iPod connectivity
- Fog Lights
- Projector headlights
The Juke’s Rockford Fosgate stereo system was actually pretty impressive compared to others I have experienced from a factory fitted stereo. There was no shortage of power and you could crank up the Brittany Spears or Katy Perry tunes and pound the bass without blowing up any speakers. Parking the Juke was a breeze and thanks to the Around View Monitor camera system there is one less rash you and your girlfriend should be worried of; curb rash.
Visibility was very clear and there was no issue looking in your blind spots. The cool thing was, that after only a few rides in the Juke, you get a real understanding of the car’s dimensions, which in turn, quickly gives you confidence to maneuver it through tight spaces. Everything in the cabin that matters is easily accessible to the driver without really taking your eyes off the road. Even when it comes to tuning in to your favourite freestyle station, including the awkwardly positioned heated seat buttons at the back of the centre console. You also get a bit of trunk space to throw in your sports gear or grocery shopping. The juke has 297L of cargo space behind the rear seats but you get 1017L if you fold over the back seats and use the entire rear to store your cargo. In reality, you would’t buy this car to start a moving company but it will do a decent job putting in a TV to take back to the condo.
The Juke powers in at 188HP and 177lb-ft of torque from its 1.6L turbo motor and did 0 – 100km/h in 8.9 seconds, while at the same time returned an average fuel consumption of 8.5L/100km. I got to admin that the CVT is a near deal breaker; i just can’t stand the scooter like constant noise. Thank goodness for the Tiptronic mode. The car does feel kinda quick off the line with decent acceleration but the gearbox sort of kills the experience. I can’t say the same for handling as I found it to corner effortlessly around the bends, it had minimal lean and kept the body composed at every turn. The steering was pretty effortless as the fully electronic steering is light and direct but left me feeling disconnected from the road. This is not a terribly bad thing, as some people like this type of steering which makes the drive seem more comfortable. The front and rear stabilizer bars along with Nissan’s front strut and multilink rear suspension are well tuned and the result is great balanced handling on the mediocre all season Goodyear tires. Overall I found it a bit firm when going over rough downtown roads and a bit uncomfortable on unpaved gravel but on the highway, the drive was smooth and quiet. Braking felt confident and with a tested braking distance of 44m from 100km/h I think that the tires are to blame for not scoring even better.
With funky looks and plenty of character, the Juke is a unique vehicle that offers an exciting drive with unconventional looks, inside and out. With clever buttons that change labels and colour accent rings that can be changed alongside your mood, the Juke is a car to look at if you are a fan of the word “alternative”.
Aftermarket stuff available