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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Review: 2011 Nissan Juke SL AWD

I have to start out by saying that I love everything about the Nissan Juke. The 2011 Nissan Juke is  very fun and exciting to drive and offers a lot of value. The Juke competes against the Mini Cooper Countryman and in my opinion the new Hyundai Veloster, and the Volkswagen Beetle. I’ve been behind a lot of Nissans and the Juke is my favorite Nissan so far. The Juke is powered by a new 1.6L direct injection turbo engine that produces 188 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. I drove a fully loaded Juke SL AWD model that came in at over $26,000.

The Nissan Juke is based on Nissan’s global-B platform. This platform underpins the Cube, Versa and the Renault Clio. There are 3 Juke trim levels to choose from. The trim levels range from the Juke S CVT FWD to the Juke SL CVT AWD. I think that there is a Juke for everyone who really likes this small crossover. The fuel economy is rated at 24 city and 31 for the FWD manual, 27 city and 32 highway for the FWD CVT, and 25 city and 30 highway for the AWD CVT. The Juke can be had with Nissan’s CVT or a 6-speed manual transmission. The AWD torque vectoring system is only available with Nissan’s CVT transmission. The AWD system reduces understeer and improves the Juke’s cornering ability. Nissan’s intelligent AWD system can also create up to a 50/50 power split between the front and rear wheels.

Every review that I have watched or read always made fun of the Juke’s distinctive styling. But I’m not here to do that because I think that the Juke is a great looking vehicle. I am not at all offended by the Juke’s quirky styling. The Juke will definitely stand out in a crowd of other boring and bland looking vehicles. The front end of the car is quite different compared to other vehicles and not everyone will like it.  The Juke I drove was Sapphire Black and I actually liked it even though I am not a huge fan of black cars.

The interior of the Juke really stood out for me. I thought the materials used were of high quality especially for a vehicle in this class or segment. The seats were wrapped in black and red leather with red trim. The front seats were very comfortable and offered a lot of leg and back support. The back seats however are not as spacious as the front but I think that anyone who is really tall could deal with sitting back there for a short ride. While the Juke might look small on the outside I found it to be quite spacious on the inside. I really liked the high-rise center console that is shaped like a motorcycle gas tank. It was really easy to reach the shifter which was a plus. The Juke model I had was equipped with navigation and a back-up camera. I found the back-up camera to be quite useful in a few tight spots. All of the controls in the Juke were very easy to use, especially the navigation system. For $800 that navigation system was so simple to use, that made me think for that you get a great system for a very low cost. There is 10.5 cubic feet of room in the back with the rear seats up but when the 60/40 rear seats a folded there is 35.9 cubic feet of space. My favorite thing about the interior was Nissan’s I-CON system which is such a great feature. When pressing the D-mode button the climate controls changes appearance and function. Three driving modes will appear which are normal, sport or eco. Everything about this interior really made me love the Juke even more.

I had a lot of fun behind the wheel of the Nissan Juke. This car is such a blast to drive and it handles so well. It really blew away my original expectations.  I had the car in sport mode which stiffened the steering feel and transmission shifts. Going into corners were easy and smooth thanks to Nissan’s AWD system. This car accelerated and braked very well. I really loved the 1.6L direct injection engine and would like to see it used in other Nissan models. There may people that disagree with me but I really couldn’t find a bad thing to say about how the Nissan Juke drives.

My time spent with the Nissan Juke was really amazing. I could see myself driving this vehicle every day. I’m 21 and still in college so the Juke is more than enough to satisfy all of my car needs. The Juke has been selling quite well since it was offered this past October. I’m really not surprised that this vehicle is doing well because it offers great styling, a good value, and is very fun to drive. For everyone that keeps saying this car is ugly please check it out in person because your thoughts may change. If you are in the market for something small and fun to drive please take a look at the Nissan Juke.

I wish I could have been in the Juke a little longer! (Nissan send me a Juke to drive longer!)

What are your thoughts and opinions of the Nissan Juke?

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