2011 Nissan Juke SV new car reviews

It's hard to not love the Juke's turbo engine. The face, on the other hand, can be a bit polarizing.
The Juke also gets a sporty, modern interior.
More goodness: turbocharged power.

Better than: Nissan Cube
But not as good as: A used Evo
GRM Bang For The Buck Index: 80.13

We're not sure how to properly classify the Nissan Juke. Is it a mini SUV? A jacked-up sport compact? Some kind of angry, Transformers-looking thing?

Whatever the class, it's hard to not have some opinions on the looks. We'd say they're somewhere between hideous and righteous.

No matter what your opinions, the beauty is found under the hood: The standard powerplant is a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine featuring direct injection. It makes a max of 188 horsepower and 177 lb.-ft. of torque.

Other staff views

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

I'm still not sure where to class this vehicle, but it was fun to drive. For one, it's way quicker than expected--Nissan seriously needs to fit this driveline in a car that's a bit closer to the ground. The interior is neatly designed, too, although the floor mats seemed like they were made from mouse fur. I know, why is GRM mentioning the floor mats, but they didn't look like something that would last for years and years. The rest of the car seemed nicely screwed together.

To be honest, I didn't want to like this one, but it quickly grew on my. It's a blast around town, and I don't even mind the looks. I'd go with a black one, I think.

Scott Lear Scott Lear

What a face! So help me, I like this bizarre little contraption, from the way the high-mounted corner lights are visible from the driver's seat to the dramatic wheel arches and completely haphazard grille. The multifunction display that shows things like Toruqe and turbo boost is reminiscent of the GT-R's awesome display, but it's way too low in the cabin in this application to be useful to anyone. Still, it's got a manual transmission and a turbocharger, so it can't be bad. You won't have any trouble picking it out among the "normal" cars in a parking lot, that's for sure.

Tom Heath Tom Heath
UberDork

Alright, now this little car is a rolling contradiction, and I can't help but be amused by it. The Juke is as awkward looking as anything I've ever driven, but it was awfully entertaining to drive. The ride height wasn't nearly as noticeable as I'd thought it would be, and the surprisingly potent turbocharged 1.6-liter engine allowed the Juke to dart through traffic like a spry little elf.

It seats 5 (well, 3 adults and 2 kids) comfortably enough to avoid complaints, but it's not the next family truckster for our house. The interior was nicely finished, and I wouldn't mind using the Juke for a good road trip. The Juke would also make a pretty fair commuter, but there are other options that make more sense for both economy and enjoyment.

The Juke is built on the same architecture as the more conventional looking Versa, so I've got my fingers crossed that somewhere down the line a Nissan engineer will give us the nifty little turbo engine backed by a proper manual transmission in a lower, more autocross-able package. With all of the itty-bitty cars hitting the market, it's only a matter of time before somebody really puts a product in our segment. The question is which brand will it be?

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Comments

View comments on the GRM forums
chaparral
chaparral HalfDork
2/14/11 2:03 p.m.

I am betting on the Mazdaspeed2 being king soon.

2400 lbs, 150-190 hp, 40 MPG, five seats, great handling, $20000 sound like greatness to me.

Nitroracer
Nitroracer SuperDork
2/14/11 4:29 p.m.

I thought the six speed was only available with front wheel drive - and the fun reducing CVT was the only option with all wheel drive?

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
2/14/11 11:45 p.m.

Does the Juke have a manual available with AWD?

bravenrace
bravenrace MegaDork
2/15/11 9:22 a.m.

It may well be fun to drive, and if you like the looks, well great for you, but there are alternatives out there that are both fun to drive and much better looking, IMO. Fail.

DoctorBlade
DoctorBlade UltraDork
2/15/11 1:02 p.m.

How'd you get the 6 speed with the AWD?

HiTempguy
HiTempguy UberDork
2/15/11 3:11 p.m.

Thank you for posting this GRM! This is exactly what my sister has been looking for, sounds like a test drive is imminent.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
2/15/11 8:29 p.m.

Checked it out at the AutoShow, and the price was posted at $27,000. Pretty steep considering what a Mazdaspeed 3, WRX or GTI go for.

sethmeister4
sethmeister4 Dork
9/28/11 7:17 a.m.

Can't get the stick with AWD. There is actually a lot of stuff on here that is similar/taken from the GTR. The AWD is very similar to the GTR's, as are some other things. Unfortunately, you only get the cool stuff like AWD, the screen that lets you select sport/eco/normal modes, and a few other things, when you get the CVT trans. I was a Nissan tech when they came out and my coworker that went to the training school for them filled me in on all the details. He's an old fart but he was thoroughly impressed by the car. Too bad they are friggin' ugly. :-)

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/10/13 12:00 a.m.

We're not sure how to properly classify the Nissan Juke. Is it a mini SUV? A jacked-up sport compact? Some kind of angry, Transformers-looking thing?

Whatever the class, it's hard to not have some opinions on the looks. We'd say they're somewhere between hideous and righteous.

No matter what your opinions, the beauty is found under the hood: The standard powerplant is a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine featuring direct injection. It makes a max of 188 horsepower and 177 lb.-ft. of torque.

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