By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 10/10/2012
In the 2013 Juke compact SUV, Nissan has created something really quite extraordinary. It's a small SUV – smaller than a CR-V or RAV4 – that is part people-carrier, part off-road dune buggy and part sports car. The Juke can accommodate four people, or its rear seats can be folded to form a fairly large and level cargo floor. Powered by a small 4-cylinder turbocharged engine and offering a choice of a manual gearbox (front-wheel drive only) or continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), the Juke struts its sporty credentials. This sporting nature is bolstered by the variable throttle settings and an enthusiast-oriented sport suspension, two features that further distance it from more pedestrian compact SUVs.You'll Like This Car If...
If you're looking for a small 5-door SUV that is easy on gas, can tackle snow and mud with ease but that has more personality than a Subaru Impreza or Suzuki SX4, the 2013 Nissan Juke is worth a look. Cutting-edge audio, navigation and communication options are a welcome bonus.
Beyond its unconventional styling, the 2013 Nissan Juke may not hold much appeal to those who require a big back seat and copious cargo space. If you want something stylish, fuel-efficient and roomy, the Kia Sportage makes an excellent alternative, as does the Mini Cooper Countryman.
A rearview monitor (SV trims) and revised Rockford Fosgate Ecopunch audio system (SV and SL) are added to the 2013 Nissan Juke's Navigation Package.Driving It Driving Impressions
The 2013 Nissan Juke SUV's taut suspension is adept in minimizing body roll and lean, with only a minimal trade-off in the areas of ride comfort. The electric-assist power steering feels pretty spot-on, although we'd still prefer a hydraulic setup in a car like this. The Juke's big standard wheels and tires combined with its wide front and rear track also aid in stability, but those same tires do create a fair bit of road noise. When equipped with Nissan's "intelligent" all-wheel-drive (AWD) package, the Juke gains a torque-vectoring setup and a CVT transmission usually found only in much more expensive vehicles. AWD Jukes also ditch the base car's torsion-beam rear axle in favor of more desirable independent rear suspension. The Nissan Juke's raised driving position, oversized side mirrors and good driver sightlines make it 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.
If you're into cutting-edge interior styling, the 2013 Nissan Juke SUV is the poster child for the compact SUV segment. From its molded plastic center console that mimics a motorcycle's fuel tank to the multifunction ventilation controls that, with a push of a button, change to become the Sport/Normal/Eco mode throttle controls, the Juke's interior is a visual smorgasbord. Don't look for much in the way of cargo space because with only 10.5 cubic feet, there isn't much. However, folding the rear seats flat creates 35 cubic feet of space, more than enough to fit all of your toys.
The 2013 Nissan Juke is a vehicle you either instantly fall in love with or run screaming from as fast as you can. From its big-eyed bumper-mounted headlights to the elongate clear plastic turn-signal/parking lights that run the length of the fender tops, the Juke appears otherworldly. Move to the side, and a roofline that squats low as it moves rearward is accented by color-keyed integrated rear door handles giving the 5-door Juke a coupe-like appearance. A single-piece hatch with electronic release opens to reveal the Juke's rather tiny cargo hold.Notable Standard Equipment
Beyond first-rate powertrain/suspension/vehicle dynamics elements shared with its SV/SL kin, even the base Juke nets Nissan's Xtronic CVT automatic transmission plus power windows/locks/mirrors, air conditioning, 6-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 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, the I-CON multifunction controller, satellite radio, a USB port and privacy glass, while SL trim includes the Navigation Package, leather upholstery, heated front seats, fog lights, and auto on/off headlights.Notable Optional Equipment
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 2013 Juke S buyers consists of front- (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). At the SV level, that list expands to include swapping its standard 6-speed manual transmission for the CVT and adding the Navigation Package that brings an SD-card-based navi system with 5.0-inch color LCD screen, rearview monitor, the Rockford Fosgate Ecopunch system and USB connectivity. The fully loaded SL limits its configuration alternatives to front/AWD and/or 6MT/CVT transmissions.Under the Hood
All 2013 Nissan Jukes are fitted with a 1.6-liter "DIG" (Direct Injection Gasoline) inline 4-cylinder that boasts the trifecta 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 lb-ft of torque from 2,000-5,200 revs, it matches well with the CVT automatic (which includes S-mode that serves up six "virtual" gears) and the 6-speed manual gearbox, and can comfortably handle the added weight of the AWD system. A manual-equipped FWD Juke can sprint to 60 mph in around seven seconds, while the CVT and AWD each add about a half tick to that baseline figure.
1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4
188 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
177 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-5,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/31 mpg (FWD, manual), 27/32 mpg (FWD, automatic), 25/30 mpg (AWD, automatic)
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) on the 2013 Nissan Juke compact SUV starts just under $21,000 for an entry-level S model, with the SV beginning closer to $22,000 and the top-line Juke SL opening right below $25,000. To make your best deal, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price at KBB.com that shows the typical transaction price paid for the Juke in your area. While more conventional, but less-powerful and in many cases less well-equipped rivals like the Subaru XV Crosstrek, Suzuki SX4 Sportback and Toyota Matrix XRS Sport can be had for about the same or less, none can match the performance of any Juke variant. The Juke's distinctive exterior styling remains a bit of a long-term wild card here, but historically Nissan vehicles have done a reasonable job of holding their comparative value over time. We suspect the SV will fare best in that particular arena.