2015 Nissan Juke

Starting MSRP: $20,250 - $30,020

Estimated MPG: 28 city / 32 hwy

2015 Nissan Juke Review

By combining a peppy turbocharged engine, better than average driving dynamics and a design that appears to have been stolen from the pages of a Japanese anime novel, the 2015 Nissan Juke is a subcompact crossover that represents head-turning and fuel-efficient fun on a budget.

By Chris Brewer
Last Updated 05/03/2016

Receiving a refreshed look for the 2015 model year, the five-passenger Juke adopts Nissan’s new V-Motion grille and a restyled rear fascia. Mechanically the Juke is relatively unchanged; S, SV and SL trims are available with either front- or all-wheel drive and are powered by a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard. The 2015 Juke is also available in enthusiast-oriented front- or all-wheel drive Nismo and Nismo RS trims, which feature a more powerful engine, sportier suspension components and the choice of a six-speed manual transmission or the aforementioned CVT.



Nissan refers the Juke as a “sport cross”, equal parts sports car and crossover, which I suppose makes sense when you look at the Juke. However, I’m not sure the marketing is enough for the automotive industry to create a new segment. I think “crossover” on its own is probably enough since it already implies a mash-up.

To call the Juke unique falls short of capturing the bold design that sets this subcompact crossover apart. In a segment that prides itself on individuality, the Juke is arguably the most individual. 

The rounded, wedge-shaped silhouette and incredibly high beltline join with the crossover’s bulging fenders and disproportional lights to create what is essentially a work of rolling contemporary art that is just as polarizing as the vehicle’s name.

Fortunately, Nissan’s design does not take away too much from the tiny crossover’s function. The front and rear doors are easy to open and provide excellent access to the vehicle. The rear door handles are camouflaged into the Juke’s C-pillar trim, a visually-pleasing style choice that makes a lot of sense. The rear hatch is easy to open, but the high load height may be an issue with heavier cargo. If there is an area where the Juke’s curb-appeal detracts from usability, it is in the rear cargo area. Ironically, many of the new subcompact SUVs actually lose utility to the compact hatchbacks that they draw inspiration from.



The Juke’s quirky personality is equally showcased in the crossover’s cabin. That aggressive styling that winks at you in your driveway also invites you to play when you open the crossover’s doors. For instance, Nissan reports that the center console was inspired by a motorcycle fuel tank.

While not necessarily big, the Juke’s cabin offers more passenger space than you would expect based on the small footprint of the exterior. The front seating area is open, providing plenty of room for the driver and front seat passenger to spread out and get comfortable.

The nicely bolstered front seats found in the S, SL and SV trims aren’t quite ready for the racetrack, but do a good job holding you in place when you work to wring out the tiny turbocharged engine’s power. The genuine Recaro front seats in the Nismo RS are actually race ready and look fantastic.

Most importantly, the Juke’s ergonomics are good. It is easy to find a comfortable driving position and the controls are well within arm’s reach for most folks. The shifter is in just the right place. Door handles are easy to grab. Plenty of plastic surfaces abound, even in the top trim levels. The Juke is simple, yet focused in its presentation.

Much like the exterior, the Juke’s cabin isn’t for everyone, but I understand the concept and I feel that Nissan should be praised for thinking outside the box and actually making it work for the most the part. The materials may not be luxurious, but they are of quality and assembled nicely.

The rear seating area is a step up from a coupe but the Juke falls short of being a true five-passenger vehicle. Two adults can squeeze in the back, but may feel limited by the Juke’s legroom. Once the front seats are adjusted for adults, the room left over for the knees of your back-seat dwellers is greatly diminished. Children and smaller adults will find the rear seating adequate, although the lack of cup holders only adds to the economy seating atmosphere.

Rear cargo volume is limited to 10.5 cubic feet, which expands to 35.9 cubic feet when you fold down the 60-40 split rear seat. That’s just not a lot of cargo space with the rear seats in place. While this new sporty crossover segment is famous for tiny cargo areas – the Mazda CX-3 and Fiat 500X both have a measly 12 cubic feet – the Juke is still notably small. If you really need a subcompact crossover and cargo space is a major concern, the new Honda HR-V is the place to look, offering 23 cubic feet with all the seats in place.



One look at the base Juke’s 0-to-60 times in comparison with other subcompact crossovers and Nissan’s little turbocharged five-door will win you over. That isn’t to say that the Juke is a rocket ship, but it will leave the vast majority of the direct competition in the rearview mirror until they are so far back you can’t see them anymore. The Nismo RS takes the formula to the next level, and for all intents and purposes the Nismo RS Juke is fast.

Powered by a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, the Juke creates 188 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque.

Fuel economy is rated at up to 28/34 mpg city/highway. All-wheel drive variants are rated at 26/31 mpg.

The tiny turbocharged engine is powerful enough to elicit a little wheel spin at full throttle, which adds a little excitement with some judicious torque steer (a condition where the vehicle may pull to one side under hard acceleration). Once you’ve driven the Juke for a little while and begin to understand the sweet spots in its driving dynamics playbook, the crossover is a lot of fun to drive. Handling is great and the steering is precise and offers plenty of feedback, which is something missing from almost every vehicle on the road today.

The standard suspension found on the S, SV and SL trim levels is firm, but not punishing. In full disclosure, you don’t think about the suspension much when you are casually driving because it doesn’t call too much attention to itself.

The Nismo and Nismo RS trims are also powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The base Nismo sports the same engine as the regular Juke, but the more aggressive Nismo RS model turns the dial up to eleven. The Nismo RS model’s power plant produces anywhere from 211 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque with all-wheel drive, to 215 horsepower and 210 pound-feet of torque with front-wheel drive. Fuel economy in the base Nismo stays the same as the regular Juke, but the more powerful Nismo RS requires more fuel with an EPA-estimated 25/31 mpg city/highway with front-wheel drive and 25/29 mpg with all-wheel drive.

The Nismo RS’ upgraded steering, suspension and brakes take the already fun to drive Juke to another level. Enthusiasts will especially enjoy the front-wheel drive model with the standard six-speed manual transmission.



The 2015 Nissan Juke offers a nice set of standard technology features. The six-speaker audio system with five-inch color monitor offers smartphone compatible Bluetooth and USB connectivity, speed-sensitive volume and illuminated steering wheel-mounted audio controls. One-touch power front windows and a rearview camera round out the standard equipment highlights.

My SV review vehicle adds automatic climate control, upgraded audio speakers, a power moonroof and satellite radio.

The top SL trim includes an Around View monitor and NissanConnect with navigation and mobile apps. A larger 5.8-inch touch-screen display controls a Rockford Fosgate audio system with six upgraded speakers and a subwoofer. Enhanced voice recognition is also a part of the trim package. Many of the SL tech features are available as options on SV models.

While the higher trims are not as comprehensive as some of the competitor’s offerings, the standard equipment that Nissan provides is excellent for the segment. The base audio system is lacking, making the SV trim with its power moonroof and upgraded audio a nice middle of the road option. The SV trim also allows the Juke to be equipped with the around view monitor and Rockford Fosgate audio system if you want to fill in some technological gaps, but not commit to the full SL trim.



The 2015 Nissan Juke earned four out of five stars overall from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The 2015 Juke earned five stars in the side crash test, three stars in the front crash test and four stars in NHTSA’s rollover test.

The 2015 Juke received a Poor rating in the small overlap front crash test administered by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The Juke earned top scores of Good in all other IIHS crash tests.

The 2015 Juke employs an advanced air bag system that includes dual stage supplemental front air bags with seat belt and occupant classification sensors. The Juke also includes driver and front passenger side-impact air bags and roof-mounted side curtain air bags for front- and rear-seat head protection.

The Juke’s construction absorbs impact during a collision, while the standard vehicle dynamic control, tire pressure monitoring and traction control systems work to help you avoid one. All Nissan Juke models are equipped with a rearview camera. The SL trim adds an around-view monitoring system that can be purchased as an option in the SV trim.



The 2015 Nissan Juke S with front-wheel drive and the CVT starts at $20,250. The all-wheel drive Juke S starts at $22,100. Base pricing for the front-wheel drive Juke Nismo with a six-speed manual is $24,830. While there may not too many direct competitors, the Juke is priced in line with the few options that do exist. Of course, opening up your shopping choices to include more traditional compact SUVs and hatchbacks will broaden your options.

My front-wheel drive Juke SV has an MSRP of $23,405, including $210 carpeted floor and cargo mats and an $825 destination charge. 

Among the many al a carte options, the SV can also include $1,490 technology package with a 5.8-inch touch screen, upgraded audio and navigation and a $250 cold weather package that includes heated front seats.



The 2015 Nissan Juke is a turbocharged and aggressively styled alternative to the sameness found in the growing subcompact crossover segment. Offering a fairly dynamic driving experience at a competitive price, the Juke’s shortcomings, namely the limited cargo space and rear-seat room, are issues that you will need to consider based on your personal vehicle requirements.

Individuals who want to express themselves boldly will appreciate the incredible amount of attention that the Juke fosters for a relatively low price tag. 

Frankly, to get a car that makes this much of a visual statement for less than $50,000 is pretty rare. If you don’t need the rear-seat passenger space, folding down the back seat makes for a decent amount of utility while completely avoiding any inference that you are settling down and becoming a boring SUV owner.