By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.0
Every now and again, an automobile company will create something never before seen, taking the risk that their invention will go down in history as either a modern classic or an utter disaster. It takes guts to build a car like the 2012 Nissan Juke, a radical little crossover that is part CUV, part sports car and part ultramodern rolling art. Actually, creating a radical-looking car isn't all that hard. But, making one that is also highly functional, fast and affordable, well that's a really neat trick. The 5-door Nissan Juke has all the attributes of small wagon, with a big rear hatch, folding rear seats and level cargo floor. But, the 2012 Nissan Juke also has a turbocharged engine with variable throttle settings and an enthusiast-oriented sport suspension that allows it to behave far more radically than a Honda CR-V or Hyundai Tucson. Filled with cool visual design elements, the Juke definitely has a youthful audience as its target market, but as Nissan has learned from the Juke's unexpectedly brisk sales, people of all ages who appreciate clever design are drawn to this car. With prices ranging from around $20,000 to $27,000 fully loaded, the 2012 Nissan Juke fits easily into most budgets, which makes it even easier to fit one into most driveways.
If you're looking for a vehicle that performs like a racy little coupe, can tackle snow and dirt trails when asked and starts around $20K, the 2012 Nissan Juke CUV has you covered. The Juke's off-beat good looks and long list of electronic audio and communications options should help seal the deal.
Beyond its unconventional styling, the 2012 Nissan Juke crossover 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.
Fresh from its debut last year, Nissan has made no changes to the 2012 Juke crossover.
Driving Impressions Drawing its highly regarded B-platform that spawned the Cube Wagon and LEAF electric vehicle, Nissan once again makes the most of its engineering ingenuity by delivering a compact crossover that...performs like a low-slung pocket rocket. The 2012 Nissan Juke crossover'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, which is too easily transmitted into the Juke's cabin area. When equipped with Nissan's "intelligent" all-wheel-drive package, the Juke gains a torque-vectoring setup and a CVT transmission usually found only in much more expensive vehicles. The system is able to route power front to rear as well as side to side at the rear axle. 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, while the impressive list of standard safety and stability-control programs add an extra piece of mind.
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 2012 Nissan Juke crossover is the poster child for the compact CUV 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. Soft-touch materials are present where needed, although the lack of a center armrest is a serious oversight. The thick-rimmed 3-spoke steering wheel not only feels great in your hands, it is packed with redundant controls for the audio, cruise and Bluetooth system. The Juke's firm front bucket seats offer good lower back and thigh support, and look particularly inviting when covered in leather. And, while rear-seat accommodations are a bit snug, two adults can fit back there if the front seats are not fully retracted. Don't look for much in the way of cargo space because with only 10.5 cubic feet, there isn't much. Of course, if the ride includes just you and one other person, the 60/40 split-folding rear seats can be laid flat to create 35 cubic feet of space, more than enough to fit all of your toys. Our one gripe with the Juke's layout pertains to the USB port at the front of the center console. When connected, an iPod or similar device sits on a shallow-edge shelf where it can easily slide off during a sharp turn and is clearly visible to prying eyes. The glove box would be a more suitable spot.
The 2012 Nissan Juke crossover 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. If there is one unoriginal portion to the 2012 Juke, it's the rear tail lenses that bear more than a passing resemblance to the taillights of the Volvo XC60 and Ford Focus. A single-piece hatch with electronic release opens to reveal the Juke's rather tiny cargo hold. In a nod to fans of large wheels, Nissan equips all three trims (S, SL, and SV) with 17-inch alloy wheels and V-rated all-season tires.
Every 2012 Nissan Juke crossover 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 CVT automatic transmission plus power windows/lock/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, 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, foglights, 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 2012 Juke S crossover buyers consists of front- or all-wheel drive. At 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, a speaker upgrade with Rockford Fosgate subwoofers and USB connectivity. The fully-loaded SL limits its configuration alternatives to front/AWD and/or 6MT/CVT transmissions.
All versions of the 2012 Nissan Juke CUV are fitted with the automaker's new 1.6-liter "DIG" (Direct Injection Gasoline) inline 4-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 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 all-wheel-drive (AWD) 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 to that baseline figure.
1.6-liter turbocharged/intercooled in-line 4
188 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
177 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-5,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/31 mpg (FWD, manual), 27/32 mpg (FWD, CVT), 25/30 mpg (AWD, CVT)
By jukehero on Saturday, April 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,258overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fast, worth the money, seats, visibility, lights"
Cons: "good gas mileage but runs on 89 premium"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have a Juke SV that is fully loaded on lots sport features. These crossovers first came out in 2011 I purchased mines late in 2013 and it is a excellent SUV. I-con system available for climate control and eco indicator on helping on a great drive the Juke still gives me. Fuel economy seems pretty good right after fill ups but runs on (89 premium grade). Juke seats are sporty more bolstered includes heated seats, navigation, great sound system and high performance on a thriller engine is overall excellent on this little SUV. Manual transmission was standard for SV its best under smooth acceleration giving a more adequate fun ride getting onto freeway and driving through intersections a great crossover ever for money purchased. Visibility and Bluetooth all good with great controls being absolutely perfect on this nice Nissan crossover. I tried a Wrangler, FJ Cruiser and Grand Cherokee but fell in loved with my new Juke before making a purchase knew was the right crossover for me have enjoyed every bit of fabric and material on it."
2 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By JayPep on Saturday, March 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,226overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun, sporty, not a bad price, great handling"
Cons: "no parts on hand for minor traffic accidents"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"The car is great, don't get me wrong. The drive is fabulous in a '13 6 speed MT Nismo. She Jukes left, she Jukes right, the handling is phenomenal. The Nismo trim really adds to the car. The rear spoiler, 18" rims, LED DRLs and skirting make the Juke look more aggressive and sporty. The interior looks awesome with the Nav and lights packages, but don't be fooled at the faux suede - it's only on the front seats. The rear passenger seats are cloth. Just don't get into a fender bender with a brand new Nissan, because parts are backordered for 5-6 months. Nissan consumer affairs doesn't assist their customers once the sale has been made."
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By me on Monday, March 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great Gas mileage"
Cons: "Not spacious, no air vents in the back seats"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"If space is what you are looking for, don't bother. This car provides great gas mileage and great aesthetics. It's a hybrid between an SUV and a car, but really it has more feature of a car. It has satellite radio (but don't be fooled, it comes with an optional monthly subscription) and nice sound overall. I recommend this car to anyone interested in a mid-priced, sport-looking car :)"
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Rog on Thursday, February 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 850overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Best small, AWD car for the money, by far"
Cons: "Rear interior lighting, lack sunroof, all seasons"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"The NISMO is underrated by most reviewers because their focus, in the end, is almost entirely performance oriented, meaning given that it doesn't do 0-60 in 6 seconds or under, or doesn't do as well as some sports cars in the g-ratings, other handling tests. (In fact the most ubiquitous review on Youtube, by two guys out in the desert running 0-60 times clock in at about 9 seconds, which is pure nonsense. Their clock has to be wrong because other reviewers correctly give time at about 7-7.3 seconds). Most reviews also subtract points because of the size of the back seat. In fact, NISMO is excellent car, good deal better than regular Juke, which I owned and traded in for the NISMO. As to Jukes generally, first, and foremost, it is meant to be small, for narrower streets in Europe, to keep weight down for gas mileage purposes, and to get the most out of a small in size engine. And the CVT is fine, especially for stop and go city traffic. Apparently, they sell very well in Europe. It is also meant, I believe, to be a fun commuter car, and practical - its limited length makes it much easier to find parking spaces on streets, and to get in and out of spaces in suburban mall shopping centers and underground garages with posts everywhere. I park in all those places and it works well for those situations, whereas people trying to park or "unpark" in larger cars often can't maneuver well and hold everyone up. As to the NISMO in particular, I have the AWD with CVT transmission. AWD system, as in regular all wheel drive Juke, is excellent. In a snow storm, in my prior Juke, I had no problem pushing a 3 series BMW up a commuter route slope to get it out of the way of a stream of rush hour traffic it was blocking. The suspension is more firm than regular Juke, and lowered a bit, but comfortable, and causes car to handle much better than regular Juke. I switched out the summer tires for performance all season tires which helped - it feels solid as a rock due to beefed up suspension and tires, it turns corners on a dime, and is also quieter than the 2011 Juke I traded in. Gas mileage appears to be about the same as prior Juke, despite slightly more powerful engine. Despite what other reviews say, the extra torque and horsepower make a noticeable difference, no doubt in part because they also reprogrammed other engine settings to get the most out of the engine. The LED daytime running lights are a plus - not just for the looks but because tests indicate it is safer to have some sort of fulltime lighting, because it makes cars more noticeable. Interior is also improved a good deal. The seats are quite good, though I thought the seats in my 2011 Juke were very good, and most plastics and cloth of higher quality and better looking. Car could use better interior lighting, though 3 lights on ceiling above driver are a good deal brighter than those in 2011 Juke. Would be very helpful to have light over backseat, but one can take care of that with LED batter powered motion-sensor light one can buy at any hardware store. I think car retails a little high, given it does not have, or even offer, a sunroof or heated seats for cloth seats. ,And it would make far more sense to allow buyers to get all season tires. The summer Continentals it comes with are at retail, very expensive, about $250 each, and car is not fast enough to warrant them. I put on Kumhos, $130 tire, and their great - handle as well as the summer Continentals, and more comfortable. If Nissan used a performance all season, would thus make lower price for the car feasible. With slightly lower suspension, exterior modifications, my wife does not call NISMO a clown car. She called the 2011 Juke a clown car. Re insurance, my collision went up about $60 a year. That's it, barely a dent in total premium. If you want performance, either get a NISMO RS soon to be released, or a 2015 WRX, also about to hit the market. But as a more than ample daily car, plenty of power, very good handling, good gas mileage(I get about 25-26 mph mostly city driving,) AWD and a relatively inexpensive price, NISMO is hard to beat. (2011 Juke was pretty reliable so I expect the same on this new car)"
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Jman on Monday, February 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Super fun to drive & very well equipped."
Cons: "No center arm rest & inadequate interior lighting"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've had my 2011 Juke SL for exactly 3 years and just hit 60,000 miles. It's been a great car and probably the most fun to drive out of the dozen or so vehicles I've owned in my driving lifetime. I'm very satisfied with it. I do have some suggestions for improvements: I wish it had a center console armrest and a dead pedal and I wish it was just a little bit bigger and the interior lighting is horribly inadequate. You can't see anything in the back seat at night (my wife loses her purse back there every time) and the rear cargo area also needs overhead lighting badly. I rated the quality a bit low because at 60,000 miles and barely 3 years old we found the exhaust system needs to be replaced already. The long exhaust pipe connected to the muffler and the muffler itself are all rotted and they broke apart from eachother so it sounds like I'm driving an old clunker. It's not covered under warranty and my dealer says I'm the first Juke owner they've seen with this issue and they had to order parts and can't tell me how long it'll take to get them. The new parts cost about $480 plus labor and will be covered for life once installed by my dealer which is good. I'm disappointed they used such a poor quality exhaust system on the Juke and I'm very embarrassed to be driving it right now because it's so loud. Anyway, I'll be getting it fixed and plan to keep the Juke for a few more years providing nothing major goes wrong."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By JukeFan on Tuesday, February 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,800overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun, fast, compact, unique,"
Cons: "gas milage for size, interior design"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"When I saw the ad for the Juke, I knew it was for me. I've never been a "car person" and never thought I would want a new car (all previous cars were used). However, I loved the Juke and now that I own one... I still love it but there are some compromises that one should be aware of: 1.) Interior lighting is almost non existent. I had to install sticky lights for the back seat and trunk. 2.) The glove box is comically cavernous. It is narrow and DEEP which makes storing stuff in there a mess. If you store things in the front they fall out the sides when the compartment is open. Super annoying. 3.) No arm rest and the compartment to store things in the center console is not convenient/easy to use. 4.) Gas milage is not what it was advertised as and I've read other reviews that say the same thing. I use a additive/fuel injector cleaner which helped but I'm running about 24-26mpg. However, despite all that I still love the car. The exterior design is so unique and gets some attention. The engine is great. I love having the turbo power and the handling is pretty good too. I love having the AWD especially with this winter we're having. The car is small enough to park in those city spaces that other cars have to pass up, but I was still able to bring home my 10 ft long carpet."
8 people out of 9 found this review helpful