By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.7
Intent on expanding its presence in the increasingly popular compact crossover market with a vehicle that stands out from an admittedly formidable pack, Nissan created the new 2011 Juke. While over-the-top exterior styling is the most blatant tipoff to its unconventional approach, this versatile five-door hauler also packs a potent turbocharged engine and enthusiast-oriented suspension that are impressively complemented by a megaload of primo features. As its final ace in the hole, Nissan's bold attempt to win the hearts – and wallets – of young and primarily male active lifestylers, opens at a sub-$20,000 price point. In the case of the entry-level front-drive Juke S, that figure includes a standard Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). Even the range-topping leather-lined and fully loaded all-wheel-drive Juke SL barely cracks the $25K mark.
Love being the center of attention and hate misplacing your ride in a crowded parking lot? The 2011 Nissan Juke could well be your personal dream machine. It's also destined to score big with anyone seeking a high-content transport module that delivers a world-class combination of fun and affordability.
Those who lean towards more traditional styling or would prefer to sacrifice a bit of performance for an added measure of economy could well find a more compatible runningmate in Juke alternatives like the Kia Soul, Mazda3, Scion xB, Suzuki SX4 and Toyota Matrix. The upcoming MINI Cooper Countryman also figures to be a prime potential rival.
The 2011 Nissan Juke's in-your-face combination of avant-garde styling, high-intensity powertrain and a sport-tuned suspension coupled with its very attractive price-to-packaging ratio add unexpected dimension – and desirability – to what, at its core, remains an extremely practical compact crossover.
Driving Impressions Based on a modified version of Nissan's highly-respected B-platform that also underpins the Cube and LEAF models, the 2011 Nissan Juke is an exercise in confident control. Although some may...rightfully ding the ride for being a tad harsh over rough pavement, body roll is impressively curtailed and its decently-sorted electric power steering, wider front/rear track dimensions and healthy wheel/tire fitment help ensure the Juke feel equally at home whether zipping through the twisties or cruising down a freeway. Opting for the sophisticated "intelligent" all-wheel drive package that includes class-exclusive rear torque-vectoring capability also trades the base torsion-beam rear axle for a multi-link design that further enhances the Juke's already impressive cornering prowess. However, stability/traction control and antilock disc brakes are standard across the lineup. Finally, its slightly elevated driving position, generously proportioned side mirrors and good driver sightlines make the Juke easy to maneuver in all but the tightest confines.
I-CON (Advanced-Integrated Control) system interface
Standard on the Juke SV and SL, Nissan's slick I-CON interface/display toggles between "Climate" and "D-mode," each with its own specific graphics. In the former, I-CON commands all heat/air functions while the latter features Normal/Sport/Eco settings that appropriately revise the electronic mapping for throttle response, transmission shifts and steering feel.
Intelligent AWD with Torque Vectoring
Available on all three Juke trim levels, Nissan's Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system can create up to a 50/50 front/rear power split and also distribute torque from side to side on the rear axle to improve handling and reduce understeer when cornering.
Despite a dearth of soft-touch secondary surfaces, the 2011 Nissan Juke's relatively spacious and well-finished cabin is loaded with visual flair and welcome functionality. A thick-rimmed three-spoke multifunction steering wheel and well-bolstered front buckets team well with its driver-friendly dash layout and legible main gauge cluster. The high-rise center console design ideally positions the Juke's shift lever and is contoured like a motorcycle gas tank to serve as an effective leg support. Scaled to accommodate average-sized adults, the 60/40 rear seat folds flat to bump cargo space from 10.5 to 35.9 cubic feet. Front-drive models also offer a hidden stow space under the cargo floor.Exterior
A blatant love-it-or-hate-it proposition, the Juke's sheetmetal defiantly blazes a visual trail where other competitors arguably – and perhaps prudently – fear to tread. Up front, prominent low-mount headlamps and bulgy running/marker units that sit atop boldly arched fenders give it a decidedly not-of-this-world face. In profile, the Juke's muscular side contouring, fall-away roofline and wedge-shaped greenhouse create a genuinely interesting look that resolves into a Murano-meets-Volvo C30 tail treatment capped with a decently sized single-piece hatch. Rounding out the mix on all three Juke trim levels (S/SL/SV) are 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 215/55 V-rated all-season tires.
Every 2011 Nissan Juke variant comes packed with desirable features. Beyond first-rate powertrain/suspension/vehicle dynamics elements shared with its SV/SL kin, even the base "S-spec" nets Nissan's Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) plus power windows/lock/mirrors, air conditioning, six-speaker audio, iPod connectivity, Bluetooth, cruise control, keyless remote entry, a multifunction steering wheel, trip computer, vehicle security/immobilizer systems and front/front-side/side-curtain airbags. The SV adds premium upholstery cloth, a power moonroof, automatic climate control, I-CON multifunction controller, subscription-based XM Satellite Radio, a USB port and privacy glass, while SL trim includes the Navigation Package, leather upholstery, heated front seats, the RearView Monitor system, fog lamps, and auto on/off headlights.
Nissan's decision to develop three definitive variations on the Juke theme keeps the formal extras list on each to a minimum. The sole choice for Juke S buyers consists of front-drive or all-wheel drive. At SV level, that list expands to include swapping its standard six-speed manual transmission for the CVT and adding the Navigation Package that brings an SD card-based navigation system with 5.0-inch color LCD screen, a speaker upgrade with Rockford Fosgate subwoofers and USB connectivity. The fully-loaded SL limits its configuration alternatives to front/AWD and/or 6M/CVT transmissions.
All versions of the 2011 Nissan Juke are fitted with the automaker's new 1.6-liter "DIG" (Direct Injection Gasoline) in-line four-cylinder that boasts the holy trinity of modern engine tech – direct fuel injection, turbocharging/intercooling and variable camshaft timing (here on both the intake and exhaust side) to deliver an impressive mix of performance and economy. Generating a stout 188 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque from 2,000-5,200 revs, it matches well with the CVT (which includes S-mode that serves up six "virtual" gears) and the six-speed manual gearbox, and can comfortably handle the added weight of the all-wheel-drive system. A manual-equipped front-drive Juke can sprint to 60 mph in around seven seconds, while the CVT and AWD each add about a half tick each to that baseline figure.
1.6-liter turbocharged/intercooled in-line four
188 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
177 lb-ft of torque @ 2000-5200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/31 mpg (FWD manual), 27/32 mpg (FWD CVT), 25/30 mpg (AWD CVT)
By highway honey (TN) on Wednesday, November 20, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive, great acceleration, awesome stereo"
Cons: "2nd cupholder in console under armrest."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Went from a Camry to this car because I needed something sportier and able to fit in my small garage of my new house. Love the looks. All the comments I've read says it doesn't have an arm rest, but it DOES! It's just narrow. The only con I have is that the second cup holder in console is hidden by the armrest. Love the push button ignition and the keyless entry. The back-up monitor is so cool because it shows incriments of 5 feet away from an object. This car is awesome!"
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By nugget (FL) on Wednesday, October 02, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,856overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "stylish with lots of upgrade options"
Cons: "see my complete review for details"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"I bought my 2013 Juke SL loaded in Oct 2012, so I have had it for a year, and I am not all that happy with it. It has style, I will give Nissan that, but interior design has some issues. No arm rest in the middle, which I know you can buy after but you'd give up what little center console space you have. The arm rests on the door are fabric with tiny holes so every time you or your passenger opens the door, it sloughs off any dry skin you may have. It looks dull and faded compared to the rest of the black leather interior. I feel like I am getting DNA samples. I am very neat and clean, no kids, and this bugs me for the $27K I spent. You can't put down the backseat on the passenger side without taking the headrest off so it clears the front seat even with the front being moved forward a little. If your short and have to move the seat up a little (which is a pump not electric even though I have every option available), good luck trying to wedge your hand between the door arm rest and your seat. Gas mileage - avg 26 mpg, not great considering I drove a V6 Ford Escape that got that and was more functional."
12 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By Docmac (WA) on Sunday, September 29, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "On-Off AWD. Game changing decision over Subaru"
Cons: "No ash tray, poor stock tires/driving lights"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I read all the reviews prior to purchase, and agree with most: Fuel capacity: Too small of a fuel cell, needs at least a 15 gallon tank. MPG (SL,AWD) about 23-28. No big road test yet, and this with premium fuel. I expected a bit better. No ash tray. We are non-smokers, but the change holder is missing. Buy: The plastic 3M bra for it, Weather tech floor liners, swap out driving lights. The stock driving lights are useless. The steering is very light. Almost too good. You do not have a "feel" for the road. Not complaining, it's just different. Goodyear stock tires are okay at best. This car on stock tires WILL hydroplane. Tried it, and this car will float. I figured with AWD it would be heavy enough at 55 MPH, nope. Get better tires for it ASAP. Lastly I would recommend those plastic sheet covers (like for cell phones) that prevent scratching of the touch screen. Nissan should have done this I feel. We got the all-bells and whistles model, every option, and it has a manual drivers seat. This car is electric everything, but a seat. Nissan needs to correct that. Driving is fun, it is what it is, turbo 1.6. It is not a 370Z, it is a 4WD Sentra that looks like a frog. The wife likes it, and that's what counts."
5 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By trishlovesjukie (PA) on Saturday, September 14, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "awd gas mileage fun to drive"
Cons: "poor quality carpet"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Ive had my car about 5 months now...am a visiting nurse and spend a lot of time in the car. I love this car!! Its zippy..fun to drive and I feel safe. I haven't had to tackle the pa winter roads yet but im expecting it to be fine. I have the awd option and don't plan on calling off! I was looking for a small suv that's sporty and I found one!"
4 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By JC16 (VA) on Friday, August 30, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 271overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great Price, Awesome functions, Gas mileage, Fun t"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I had two RAV4s, one pilot, one highlander, one focus and one benz. This time around, I wanted something smaller, fuel efficient, AND AWD. I wasn't even considering Juke at first, but someone mentioned it and I looked it up. It looked funky, but I liked MPG... So I went to the car dealership. I test drove it and FELL IN LOVE WITH IT. It's small, but has turbo engine. It got an awesome kick to it. I bought SL AWD full op. It has everything I ever need. It's such a fun car to drive. Usually I put it on ECO mode and drive around. So far I've been having 30 MPG local which is GREAT. Everyone compliments my car and wants to drive it whenever they can lol. Handling is awesome, GPA is so easy to use, THEIR SPEAK SYSTEM IS SO UNREAL. Cargo is small, but I knew it when I bought it and didn't care much for it. Backseat was more roomy than I thought. It's very comfortable to drive :)"
19 people out of 19 found this review helpful
By topdunn (AL) on Tuesday, August 27, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,750overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfort features, stereo, crazy fun, distictinve"
Cons: "poor lighting inside, no a2dp, terrible voice comm"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This car is more fun than I deserve. So cool. Everything about it suits a commuter like me lookig for a fun comfortable distinctive ride. It has 2 minor issues 1)Bluetooth Voice dial is awful and it wont bluetooth stream from my ipod/phone 2)Its interior lighting is pretty bad. All things considered, if thats all Nissan missed, its pretty much a home run. Great car."
5 people out of 8 found this review helpful