2012 Nissan Juke new car reviews

The Juke's face is, uh, well... it could be worse.
The rear isn't that bad. Just have a few beers and squint before you sign the title.
Under the hood lies a potent, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine.
The headlights are on the bottom. Or the top. We're not quite sure.

We recently tested this 2012 Nissan Juke, an SV model with automatic temperature controls, push-button start, and a huge sunroof. This trim level sits squarely between the upper and lower Juke trim levels, the S and the SL. It includes the aforementioned niceties, as well as some trivial improvements, like a passenger seat-back pocket. Every Juke has the same 1.6 liter turbocharged engine, which makes the minuscule car surprisingly quick. Jukes are available with all-wheel-drive or a manual transmission, but unfortunately not with both. Ours was front wheel drive with a CVT.

Other staff views

Tom Suddard Tom Suddard
Digital Experience Director

I liked this little car, and if I didn't have to eat I'd probably buy a used one for college. It's fast, comfortable, practical, and cheap. Sure, it looks like it's been backed into at considerable speed, then undergone budget facial reconstruction surgery. But does that really matter? You can't see (much) of the outside when you're in the driver's seat.

Joe Gearin Joe Gearin
Associate Publisher

Ok, so we all know the Juke is ugly... really really ugly. Yes, this new Nissan makes the Pontiac Aztec look like a beauty queen, but fortunately there is true goodness hiding beneath the Quasimodo exterior.

The Juke reminds me of the geeky and unattractive girl that befriended you in high school study hall. She'd be the first to offer a pen when you didn't have one, paper when you were without, and she'd even give you pointers on academics that you couldn't quite comprehend. She was a great girl, a keeper who would have made you happy over the long run. Because of her looks, and the fear of being seen with her, you never dated her. Instead you dated the good looking girl who belittled you, nagged when you drove too fast, and eventually cheated on you with the jerk captain of the football team. You should've given the ugly girl a chance. The Juke is like that.

This wart of an automobile is actually a lot of fun to drive. Yes, ours was saddled with a CVT transmission which didn't help it's cause, but it was able to overcome that hurdle to offer true driving enjoyment. There is nothing that jumps out at you with the Juke, but as a whole it is much better than the sum of it's parts. This little thing LIKES to be flung around. It is constantly goading you to have more fun, to take that dirt road, to go just a little faster on that on-ramp. It is an eager partner, and like one of those hideous hairless dogs, it eventually wins you over even though all of your friends will make fun of you. The Juke adheres to the old moped saying: It's a lot of fun until your friends see you driving one.

With a manual transmission the Juke would be a great all-around daily driver. Screw what your friends think. That ugly girl would have made you happy for the long term. Isn't that more important than looks?

Alan Cesar FartSmeller69
SuperDork

I'll skip the obvious criticisms of its looks and skip straight to driving and being inside this polarizing vehicle. Like Joe said, it's a fun car to toss around. Nissan has failed to impress me inside their new cars, though; It feels cheaper than anything else in the price range. The plastic shifter is sloppy, clunky; all the interior materials feel low-rent.

It has a great driving position, visibility, dynamics and feedback—but the arrangement is hamstrung by a truly awful CVT. If you're an offbeat individual, this car is a fun, funky package if you stick with the stickshift. The Juke would've been a good buy a few months ago—perhaps even a great one—but there's a new dog in the hunt. The new Mazda CX-5 is nicer inside, drives at least as well, and is far, far more attractive. Of course, the Mazda also doesn't have the same powerplant as the DeltaWing, so there's bragging rights to consider.

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Comments

View comments on the GRM forums
neon4891
neon4891 UltimaDork
8/1/12 11:24 p.m.

I like funky, but the sloping roof kills rear head room. Fortunately, you will never have passengers for it to be an issue.

Dav
Dav Reader
8/2/12 8:21 p.m.

Damn you Joe Gearin for making me relive high school! :(

MichaelYount
MichaelYount Reader
8/28/12 8:27 a.m.

Looks to me like one of the 'bugs' from the movie "District 9" mated with a Pontiac Aztec and this was the child of that unfortunate coupling. It's rumored that if you happen to accidentally put one into a lake or pond there's a subsequent fish kill because all the fish jump out of the water due to it's ugliness. If you saw Janet Reno driving one of these - it would kill you.

By the way - did I tell you - it's ugly too?

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Associate Editor
12/10/13 12:00 a.m.

We recently tested this 2012 Nissan Juke, an SV model with automatic temperature controls, push-button start, and a huge sunroof. This trim level sits squarely between the upper and lower Juke trim levels, the S and the SL. It includes the aforementioned niceties, as well as some trivial improvements, like a passenger seat-back pocket. Every Juke has the same 1.6 liter turbocharged engine, which makes the minuscule car surprisingly quick. Jukes are available with all-wheel-drive or a manual transmission, but unfortunately not with both. Ours was front wheel drive with a CVT.

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