The Nissan Juke is a four-door subcompact SUV that was first offered for the 2011 model year. Thanks to a bold exterior that is unarguably polarizing (with fans positioned strongly on one side and critics on the other), the Juke makes a visual statement wherever it goes.
Purposefully designed to favor fun over sheer utility, the Nissan Juke is powered by a peppy 188-horsepower, turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. It’s mated with a standard six-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive. The sport-tuned suspension keeps things under control, while a wide power band means that peak torque is almost always available. The result is a subcompact crossover that’s uncharacteristically satisfying on a winding road.
For those who don’t want to shift, a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is available. Owners in colder climates will appreciate that the Juke’s optional all-wheel-drive.
The Nissan Juke contains a high level of standard features for a subcompact crossover. Bluetooth is standard, while higher trim levels include a power moonroof, navigation, leather upholstery, a rearview camera and more.
In mid-2013, Nissan launched an enthusiast-pleasing Juke Nismo. The Nismo model includes a retuned engine with 197 horsepower, a tighter suspension, and performance-themed styling touches inside and out. The Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel, alloy pedals and suede sport seats enhance the Juke Nismo’s interior.
The Juke’s exterior styling was revised for 2015, and Nissan kicked up the performance factor even more with a Nismo RS model that manages to squeeze up to 215 horsepower and 210 pound-feet of torque from the tiny 1.6-liter engine. The Juke Nismo RS also includes a pair of form-fitting and attractive Recaro sport seats up front.
Once a lone ranger in the sporty subcompact crossover marketplace, the Juke now finds itself surrounded by equally quirky competitors from many of today’s top automotive manufacturers. If you enjoy the Juke’s lively aesthetics, but require more utility, you’ll want to take a peek at the Kia Soul and Fiat 500X. If you love the Juke’s athletic driving dynamics, but aren’t as concerned about standing out in the crowd, you will want to investigate the Mazda CX-3 and Jeep Renegade.
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